I realize I should have posted this before Valentine's Day instead of after, but I'm just not that on top of things.
Anyway, I thought it would be fun to make Sweetheart Candies inspired cupcakes to celebrate the day of love.
A friends sent me heart-shaped silicone cupcake liners (like these) a while back and I've been eagerly awaiting Valentine's Day so I could use them.
I filled the first batch too full, resulting in the cupcakes overflowing the liners and loosing their shapes. No harm done, though... ruined cupcakes still taste amazing. So for the second batch I filled the liners barely half full. This resulted in better shaped cupcakes that were petite - which means you can eat more of them.
Before frosting the cupcakes, I refrigerated them for a half hour to reduce crumbling. I wanted a smooth, glazed look instead of a frosted look. To achieve this, I melted the frosting in a microwave-safe dish in 10 second increments. Be careful here: if you don't melt the frosting enough it will get all gloppy on your cupcake. If you melt it too much, it will just run right off the cupcake. However, if you melt it too much, you can always just allow some cooling time. (This is another place ruined cupcakes come in handy - you can use them to test the consistency of your frosting before trying it on your perfectly shaped cupcakes).
At first I tried using white frosting to pipe the letters onto the cupcake. I had trouble with this because I'm just not good at writing with frosting yet. I should practice.
But then I thought about what Sweethearts look like - and how they are kind of "engraved" with red ink. So I cut the end of a toothpick so that it was flat instead of pointed and dipped it in red gel food coloring and then engraved the letters very lightly in the frosting.
After a little trial and error, I realized it was best to use very small dots to "paint" the letters instead of "engrave." Obviously the technique needs some perfecting, but it was a fun experiment.
If I had more time and fewer children needing my attention, I would have tried several different frosting colors like pastel green and blue, too. Next year, perhaps.
Hope you had a lovely Valentine's Day!