WDAY.com |

North Dakota's #1 news website 10,650,498 page views — March 2014

Published February 12, 2014, 06:35 PM

The Great Indoors: Cupcakes contain unexpected treat

I find any excuse I can to bake a cake: birthdays, new babies, going away parties, boredom, you name it and I bake it. I even baked a cake after watching Season 3 of “Downton Abbey.” I think I figured buttercream frosting would help me forget the depressing turn of events in the Crawley family.

By: Tracy Briggs, INFORUM

I find any excuse I can to bake a cake: birthdays, new babies, going away parties, boredom, you name it and I bake it. I even baked a cake after watching Season 3 of “Downton Abbey.” I think I figured buttercream frosting would help me forget the depressing turn of events in the Crawley family.

So it’s not surprising I’d be looking for a fun cake – or cupcakes rather – to bake for Valentine’s Day. And I found one at http://bakeitinacake.com.

I’ve taken the recipe and simplified it quite a bit. The author chooses to make her batter from scratch whereas I’m letting my friend Betty Crocker help me with that.

These “Heart in a Hug” cupcakes are topped with frosting made from strawberry Laffy Taffy. It was sweet and interesting.

It’s called “Heart in a Hug” because when you cut open the cupcake you’ll see a red cake heart surrounded by (or hugged by) white cake. Topped with the taffy frosting and Sweetheart Candies, these cupcakes scream Valentine’s Day, and my kids loved them!

Heart in a Hug Cupcakes with Strawberry Taffy Frosting

Makes 15-20 cupcakes

Ingredients

2 boxes white cake mix (or 1 box white and 1 box red velvet)

Red food coloring (optional for red velvet cake)

10 bite-sized pieces strawberry taffy

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar

12 pieces Sweetheart candy

Directions

1. Start by making one of the cakes as per instructions on the box. If you chose a red velvet cake mix, make that one here. If you choose to make the white cake, add red food coloring as batter is prepared. It can be pink or red, whichever you prefer.

2. Once batter is complete, pour half of the mixture into a 9-by-13-inch pan and bake for 20 minutes, checking until it’s done. The remaining batter can be discarded.(Or if you’re looking for a fun idea: use the batter to make miniature cupcakes. The little red cupcakes would be a nice complement to your larger “Heart in a Hug” cupcakes.)

3. After the cake has baked and cooled, cut hearts out of the cake using a 2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter. If you can’t find a small heart-shaped cookie cutter, draw a heart on some clean cardboard and use that as a stencil to cut the hearts out with a small knife. Prepare at least 20 hearts. Set aside.

4. To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and mix the remaining box of white cake mix. Using a nontoxic marker, make a small dot on the edge of paper liners and place them in standard muffin tins, with all the dots facing the same direction. (This enables you to see the position of heart after it’s out of the oven.)

5. Spoon two heaping tablespoons of the remaining white batter into the prepared tins. Place a heart in each cup, with the bottom of the heart pointing down and the front of the heart facing the dot on the cupcake paper. Press the heart gently into the batter. Cover the top of the heart with another teaspoon of batter.

6. Bake for 24 minutes, or until the edges of the cupcakes have started to turn golden brown and the cake springs back when you gently press your finger into the top of it. Let cupcakes cool.

7. To make the frosting, melt the taffy and cream together in a microwave in a small, microwave-safe bowl for 20 seconds on high. Stir and microwave for another 20 seconds, repeating until the mixture has melted. When the taffy mixture is smooth, put the bowl in the fridge so it cools a bit before being added to the frosting (the cream will keep the taffy from hardening).

8. Meanwhile, using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer, whip the butter for 30 seconds at medium speed until creamy. Add the powdered sugar a ½ cup at a time, whipping at medium speed until fluffy.

9. With the mixer on medium-low, drizzle in the cooled taffy cream. Finally, turn the mixer to high and whip the frosting for 30 seconds, until it is pale pink and fluffy. If you’d like the frosting to be a darker shade of pink, add a couple drops of red food coloring.

9. Pipe or spread the frosting on top of the cupcakes. Place a candy heart on top of each cupcake, point down, facing in the same direction as the dot on the cupcake wrapper so people will know which way to bite into the cupcake to see the heart.

Watch ‘The Great Indoors’ with Tracy Briggs every Thursday on www.InforumTV.com

Tags: