I know, I'm a little early, but I really, realllllly wanted to make these! My family has always celebrated any and every mainstream holiday, which is now how I am. Some people don't really consider Valentine's Day a "holiday," but I'll take any excuse to celebrate and let all my loved ones know how much they mean to me. ...especially when it means I can make sweets and treats for the occasion! I remember the excitement in picking out the perfect Valentine's cards and deciding on who was going to get which one. And as an indecisive little girl, it took me forever to pick out the perfect cards (thank you Mom for putting up with me all those times!). I loved when we would make our own little heart envelopes for the Valentines to go in back in Elementary school. Not to mention the excitement of getting a "secret admirer"...now that was a big deal back then.
I saw the idea for these cupcakes while I was doing what I always do (browsing recipes online) and knew I had to make them (and obviously couldn't wait until Valentine's Day to do so). I have had so many ideas fluttering in my head to bake up for the holiday, I didn't know how I would ever choose..so instead I just decided to get a head start and try to do as many of them as I can. Honestly, what could be better than chocolate and strawberries? Well, if you really want to know it's chocolate cake, topped with (pink) chocolate frosting, topped with chocolate covered strawberries...now THAT sounds good to me! I think if you surprised your significant other with these, they would want to give you a big kiss, but would probably stuff their face with one of these first. Which is fine, because that means you can finally dig into one too. It takes some serious will power to finish making these and not devour them before giving them to your special recipient. Or, if you're not really into the Valentine's thing, you could still use it as an excuse to bake some treats and be the favorite child/co-worker/friend ever. The power of an adorable little cupcake really is amazing and unexplainable..it's only natural to love them! (and if you don't...well, then you obviously haven't had one of these). They're also ridiculously photogenic and I had a really hard time narrowing down which shots I wanted to use! I even convinced myself to buy some conversation hearts even though I don't really like them taste wise, but I have to admit, they add a nice decorative touch.
I just used Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" chocolate cake recipe for the cupcakes and they did come out perfectly chocolaty.
For the frosting I followed a basic buttercream frosting recipe and just added 2 drops of red food coloring. I would add a drop and mix step by step to get the color you prefer..a little goes a long way!
- 2 cups sugar
- 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
- Heat oven to 350°F. Line cups with cupcake liners.
- Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).
- Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.
Easy Vanilla Buttercream
- 20 tbsp. (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp. heavy cream
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds. Scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds. Then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.
Source: Annie's Eats
...I told you I couldn't pick which pictures to use!
Source for idea: Erica'sSweetTooth
For a vegan version, this recipe comes from a great book "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World." For the frosting, just replace the cream with soy milk and the butter with a replacement like Earth Balance.
Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes