Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! This was our first as a married couple, but we HATE going out on Valentine's day. We love eating out usually, but on Valentine's they jack up the prices, pile in tables close together and usually the food leaves something to be desired. We prefer to stay in and Kyle cooks. It's intimate, romantic and far less fussy than going to a restaurant. 

We decided not to do gifts this year and get goggles for our snowboarding trip instead. But Kyle of course went above and beyond. I woke up to roses and breakfast before work, hen he came home from work he got busy in the kitchen and then he surprised me with chocolates and a beautiful locket! What a guy. My contributions paled in comparison, but he was still pleased. I picked up some of his favorite beer, got a nice card, made some cupcakes and set the table with our new china from the wedding. Really wonderful day. 

Re-purposing a vase from last Valentine's day

Now I'm sitting on the couch having just watched the USA hockey team win in a crazy shootout versus the Russians, nursing my champagne headache and thought it would be the perfect time to share my cupcake recipe. Enjoy!

Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe:
½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
½ cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons Wilton red food coloring (I didn't have time to get this so I had to use grocery store food coloring - hence the pink cupcakes)
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In your mixer, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla. Slowly add the wet mixture into your stand mixer with the dry ingredients. Mix until thoroughly combined. The batter is so velvety!

Only fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake for 20-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting. 

Cointreau Ganache
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Cointreau liquor 
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I eyeballed this measurement, so I may have used more)

In a saucepan, bring the heavy cream and Cointreau to a bowl. Reduce heat and slowly add the chocolate chips stirring continuously to avoid burning. Add to piping bag or some other injecting mechanism and inject into the center of the cupcakes. If the ganache spills out the top of the cupcakes, don't worry about it - it will be covered by butter cream.

Cream Cheese Butter Cream
1 package cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar 

In mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar a half cup at a time, mixing well between each addition. Mix until very light and fluffy. 

Pipe the butter cream onto cooled cupcakes and add any embellishments. 

Chocolate Embellishments
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Melt chocolate in double boiler. Add to piping bag and create the designs of your choice on parchment paper (we had just run out that morning so I used plastic wrap). Let the designs harden in the refrigerator for as long as you can before adding to cupcakes.

Of course I had to do some fun Valentine's nails! For more of my crazy nail designs click here.

Thanks for visiting!


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