Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Heart Cakes

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, it's time to pack up a box of treats to send to Mini Me. She loves homemade granola, so she always get a big container of that, and this time we threw in some cute Valentine's socks, a box of Tagalogs (her favorite Girl Scout cookie) and some heart cakes.

I've tried several vanilla cake recipes in search of the "perfect one". I wanted a recipe that didn't use cake flour and didn't leave me with too many orphaned egg yolks. After many trials, we finally came up with this recipe; it has a velvety crumb and a delicate vanilla flavor. Be sure and use very good vanilla extract since that is what makes these cakes so tasty.

Vanilla Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 egg whites.

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add vanilla to milk and set both aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until fluffy again. Add egg and then egg whites, mixing until just combined.
4. Add 1/2 the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until just combined. Slowly add the milk mixture and beat until combined. Add the remaining flour and beat until blended. Scrape the sides of the bowl between each addition and at the end, making sure all the ingredients are mixed in.
5. Divide the mixture evenly among 12 muffin tins and bake in a 350 oven for 22-25 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a wire rack. Frost when completely cool.
 printable recipe
To make the heart cakes, I used a silicone heart shaped muffin pan and even though it says non stick, I greased and floured the muffin wells to ensure easy release from the pan. When they were completely cool I dipped them in Wilton candy melts, making sure to completely cover all sides because when the cake is completely covered it helps to keep them fresh. For these cakes, I decorated them with sugar hearts I had on hand but sometimes I drizzle a contrasting color of candy melts over the top or use food writers and decorate them like conversation hearts.