Valentine's Day is upon us and while many of us think it's a commercialized holiday that is just another way for consumer good companies to make money off of the frugal customer, there are people that absolutely adore Valentine's Day and can't wait to spend an evening with their loved one at dinner and a movie. There is another group of Valentine's Day Lover's, the ones who use Valentine's Day as an excuse to bake all the red and pink sugary sweets in the world and whip up the fanciest icings and frosting to match. I am of course a part of that group.
I decided to make an early Valentine's Day sweet for a group of friends at my school. There are about eight of us and we meet every Monday to discuss our job hunt and the problems we may face while searching for employment. We give each other tips and help with encouragement etc. It's essentially an "Unemployed Anonymous" meeting.
Anyhow, as much as I love to bake, I just can't keep cupcakes and sweets of this amount in my house so I figured why not give it to the girls! What a great bunch of women! Christina- smart and strong, Jenny J- energetic and driven, Lilah- the sports fanatic, Shambavi- "I must find a job in the U.S!", Lilly- our Korean beauty, Maiko- the empathetic Japanese princess, and Sara- the fun loving, carefree all-American girl. These ladies have made my graduate school experience a most exciting and cultured one!
Now back to those cupcakes. I got the recipe from Hershey's Kitchens, it's truly moist and decadent.
The batter was really thin and I was really worried, but it actually turned out really wonderful. This is not your typical "cream the butter and sugar" recipe. In fact all you do is mix the wet ingredients into the dry and you're done. The strawberry cream cheese frosting was taken from recipezaar.com. I wanted something that wasn't traditional on a chocolate cupcake.
I cut this recipe in half for the cupcakes.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
- 1 cup strong black coffee OR 2 teaspoons powdered instant coffee plus 1 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 Cup strawberry sauce
- 8oz Cream Cheese
- 1/2 Stick unsalted butter
- 4 Cups Powdered Sugar
2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (Batter will be thin). Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
3. Bake 20 min until when toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove each cupcake from pan to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost as desired. Yields 10 to 12 servings.
* To sour milk: Use 1 tablespoon white vinegar plus milk to equal 1 cup.
***For the garnish all I did was melt some white chocolate and pour it into a squeeze bottle then I squeezed heart designs, dusted cocoa powder over it and put it into the freezer. If you don't have a squeeze bottle you can just pour the melted chocolate onto wax paper on a baking sheet, dust with cocoa powder then let it freeze, you can then break it into pieces and top any cupcake you wish!