Sitting down to a lovely slice of multi-layer cake with your sweetie or dinner guests can be the perfect end to a lovely meal. When sharing a slice of cake is impractical - because that would mean plates, forks, napkins, cake server - cupcakes will be there to save the day, and they make a marvelous valentine treat that delivers that same convivial feeling in a convenient little package. They have become an iconic of singular indulgence in recent years allowing so many flavor flirtations, but always with Red Velvet as the 'Ruby Slipper' of all that selection. Red velvet cakes provide a dramatic and romantic show with their deep red color contrasted by rich Cream Cheese Frosting.
We followed this classic recipe for Red Velvet from King Arthur Flour for our first batch of Love Cakes which uses LorAnn Professional Red Velvet Flavor Baking Emulsion. According to the LorAnn website, this emulsion is more than just a food coloring or simple flavoring, it's "Better than an Extract! Water-based instead of alcohol-based so the flavor won't bake-out."
We did, however, choose a more traditional Cream Cheese Frosting recipe and ironically, topped them off with sprinkles that are colored naturally, lending their subtle hue to finish off our grown-up mini dessert.
Using Seige Cup Cake Papers, which are strong enough to be filled and baked without a cupcake pan, also means they will keep their color, don't get soggy and peel off easily so you get to eat every morsel without shamelessly chewing the wrapper.
And if you thought red velvet was romantic, our second preparation gives your Love Cakes hearts of pure... well, FROSTING!
You'll want to fill your cupcake papers just a little more than you normally would for these, and using a cupcake scoop makes that easier than ever, so that you have a nice loft top.
You'll cut this off, just above the paper line. Then, using a small heart cookie cutter, cut the middle from each top. If you like lots of frosting/ or if you want to add a second flavor of say chocolate mousse, fruit filling or whipped cream, you can also use the cupcake corer to remove even more cake from the center, making room for that extra surprise. Cover the entire top of the cupcake with frosting - colored to your liking - and replace the top, creating a precious Cut Out cupcake.
If you happen to have left over cake (who are you? but honestly, those hearts and cores from above can be frozen and used here too) and frosting then Cake Pops are even more pass-along-able, especially for little loved ones! Just crumble those extra cakes and pieces into a large bowl, add the excess frosting and mash until you have a moist, mold-able mixture that can be rolled into balls and covered in chocolate. If you're anything like me and you already know you won't be having any leftovers, you can also use a cake pop pan that bakes your cake batter into perfectly round and fluffy balls so you don't have to get your hands dirty.
One of the trickiest bits to cake pops is the cooling process. We borrowed this clever tip to use a metal colander, turned on its top, to allow the pops to cool, drip and firm up without having a flat side - which can be useful in it's own way.
And if you have, or want, practice using a frosting bag and tip, decorating your Love Cakes with a rose the size of the cake itself means you can gift flowers, chocolate and dessert all in the same sweet little cake!
Special thanks to Ashley Adams, Kitchen Store Specialist and our very own Cupcake Creator Extraordinaire!