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heart cupcakes

heart cupcakes

Have you seen these cupcakes with the heart baked right in them? I first saw them on Pinterest and I wondered how they made them and then I found the recipe on Desert Living Today, who use cherry flavored Laffy Taffy to make the pink frosting! In the video above, YoYoMax demonstrates the technique to get the perfect heart shape in the cupcake.

Cupcakes and the hearts:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
the seeds from half a vanilla bean
1/4 t. salt
2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/3 c. whole milk
red food coloring

Laffy Taffy buttercream frosting:
10 pieces of cherry Laffy Taffy candy
2 T. heavy cream
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. powdered sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees (F).

Mix the butter and sugar together at medium speed for about 90 seconds, until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until creamy. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl so everything gets well combined. Add the baking soda, baking powder, salt, and vanilla and mix until the batter is smooth. Finally, alternate between the flour and milk, beating on med-high speed until the batter is light and creamy.

Pour a little more than 1/3 of the batter (about a cup and a half) into a smaller bowl. Add red food coloring until you get your desired pink or red color. Pour the batter into a non-stick (or lightly greased) 8×8 baking pan and bake for about 20 minutes until the edges of the cake start to turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely. Once the sheet cake is cool, loosen the edges away from the pan with a knife and then invert the pan onto a cutting board. Use a small heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out a dozen cake hearts that are small enough to fit into an average-sized cupcake pan.

Spoon two heaping tablespoons of the remaining batter into paper-lined cupcake tins, so they’re about half-full. Put one heart into each tin and press it point down into the batter. Keep all the hearts facing forward in the pan. Cover with another teaspoon of batter and bake for 24 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to cool before frosting.

Here’s where it gets a bit tricky. Keep the cupcakes facing forward so you get the right cross-section of the heart when you cut or bite into the cupcake (to get the full heart effect). So keep all the cupcakes facing forward as you move them from the cupcake tin to a cookie sheet for cooling/frosting. After frosting, put heart candy on them (or some other decoration) that can also face forward so you know which way to cut the cupcake in order to see the heart shape inside (if you cut the heart in the wrong direction you just get a rectangle shape—not very romantic!).

For the buttercream, melt the taffy and the heavy cream together in a small bowl for one minute on high, stirring every 20 seconds. Stir the mixture together until it’s smooth, and then stick it in the fridge so it cools a bit (the cream will keep it from hardening).

In a mixing bowl, whip the butter for 30 seconds until it’s smooth. Add the powdered sugar, a half cup at a time, whipping until fluffy. Finally, with the mixer on medium-low, drizzle in the melted and cooled taffy mixture. When it’s all in, turn the mixer up to high and whip the frosting until it’s fluffy. If you’d like, add a little pink or red food coloring to get the desired shade. Then frost! Remember, while frosting, keep track of which direction the heart in the cupcake is facing.