Today is Galentine’s day, one of my favorite annual celebrations There is something truly special about gathering with your closest gal pals and celebrating each other and girlfriendship. I started doing Galentine’s day parties a few years ago but only on and off since the arrival of babygirl (who, you know, makes hosting big parties just a tad more difficult). But, I hope it is a tradition I carry on in the future which she can learn from - the importance of keeping your girls close and uplifting each other.
But let’s talk cupcakes! Cupcakes you should make for your gals! The idea for these popped into my head after I bought a handful of chocolove’s ruby chocolate - on sale this week just in time for Valentine’s ;-) I chopped them up for some chocolate chunk cookies at first but the taste wasn’t as prominent as I would have liked. I toyed with a bunch of ideas in my mind, none of which got me as excited as…. pink dipped cupcakes! To make these even more valentine’s themed, I gave the cupcakes a ‘heart in the middle’ kind of situation and sprinkled on some tiny heart funfetti. And I mean, does it get more on theme than this? But also that dipped pink is suitable for any time of year when pink is required <3
Let’s talk about what you need to know before making these:
for the heart in the middle cupcake:
The first steps you need to do is to make the hearts and the buttercream. You need the hearts totally cool when you punch them out. You can make them out of any cake you want but try to pick something sturdy so you can get neat edges. Technically you can make the buttercream after the cupcakes but I always think it tastes better once the salt has had a chance to set into the butter.
Any sort of combination of cakes works, want to make a chocolate cupcake with vanilla hearts? Sounds amazing. Just keep in mind you want a variation of color between the two cakes. For my cakes I did a red velvet interior and a white cake for the cupcake itself.
The trickiest part to these is figuring out how to add batter to the baked heart. If you want them to bake all around the heart so that it’s totally centered, you start by adding batter to the cupcake liner, then placing the heart in and then adding a bit more batter on top whilst holding the cake in place (the batter can weight them down). If you do this, add some little lines on the liners beforehand so you know how to cut down the middle of the heart for the cute reveal.
for the dipping:
Use any chocolate you want but, use a little less oil if you are using white chocolate or ruby. On that note, some recipes say use shortening as your oil, some say coconut and some say vegetable. I tried both olive and canola and results were totally fine.
Here is the ruby chocolate I used for dipping. It’s got notes of lemon and berry and is better than any candy melt!
Your buttercream, once piped onto the cupcake, needs to be totally hardened and chilled before the dipping commences. You don’t want to try this with room temp buttercream, trust me.
If you are going to add sprinkles on top of the dipped chocolate layer, do so immediately after dipping. The chocolate sets very quickly.
I’ll outline how I did mine but you can use it as a guide and do whatever tickles your fancy, keeping all my tips in mind.
Vanilla Valentine Cupcakes
makes 12 cupcakes
1 recipe for red velvet hearts, via acozykitchen (she has a lot of cocoa in this recipe which makes it great-tasting, but also means you need to add a lot of food coloring to turn the hearts red) Once baked and cooled, punch out little hearts. Put in a air-tight container until your next cake batter is ready.
1/3 recipe white mountain batter, via BraveTart (this is my absolute favorite white cake recipe and no other vanilla cake I’ve ever made has compared to it)
Line your cupcake tin with liners and fill 1/3 of the way with the white batter, place the heart in the center, standing. You can fill more batter around it if you want the heart top to stick out, or you can pour more batter on top of it (just make sure the heart doesn’t lean or fall under the weight of the batter.) Bake for about 10-15 minutes. This is going to depend on the recipe and you’ll want to check it from time to time after the 10 minute mark. Just remember the center is already baked and your goal is to ensure that the batter around it bakes without burning the cakes.
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups organic powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon milk
Beat the butter, salt and vanilla until the butter has turned pale in color. Add the powdered sugar and milk and beat until fluffy. Set aside until cupcakes are cool. Pipe onto cupcakes. Place cupcakes in the fridge so buttercream can harden and chill.
*If you want to pipe little swirly bits like mine in the photo, remove about 1/3 of the buttercream and place in a bowl and color with food coloring, put into a piping or ziplock bag and cut the tip off. Lay out a piece of plastic wrap and spread the white buttercream in a rectangle shape then pipe the colored buttercream down in one line next to the rectangle. Wrap up the plastic wrap and place in a large piping bag.
Ruby chocolate dipping
8 oz ruby chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon canola oil
Chop chocolate and place in heat-safe bowl that will fit in a pot without touching the bottom. Fill the pot to about 1 inch high with water. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to lowest setting (if your stove runs hot, just shut it off). Place bowl with chocolate over the hot water and stir until fully melted. Add salt and oil and stir to combine.
When you are ready to dip, your chocolate should not be too hot to touch but should be fully melted. Pour it into a cup that will comfortably fit the height and width of the piped buttercream. Working quickly, dip each cupcake and shake gently to remove excess chocolate (if there is such a thing!). The dipped cupcakes take but 20 minutes to set.