Monday, 9 February 2015

Valentines Cupcakes

For a little gift for my boyfriend this Valentines day I decided to make him some cupcakes. There are two ways you could go about this, making the cupcakes from scratch or box cupcakes. Usually I'd go from scratch but as there was an offer on the Betty Crocker boxes I bought two of them: The Vanilla Cupcakes and Red Velvet.

So these boxes I think were 2 for £4, so in my mind that was easier than buying in all the ingredients from fresh as I didn't have everything I needed in the kitchen (i.e flour, baking powder, icing sugar and a load of butter I only had half a tub left).

Additional ingredients needed than these boxes are, 30ml vegetable oil (2 tbsp), 60ml water (4 tbsp), 2 medium free range eggs. Then for the icing you will need 60g of soft butter and 2 tsp of water (10ml).

Then for my decoration I bought Love Hearts sweets(4 for £1), raspberry flavoured fudge (95p) and premade icing flowers (£1.95), all from Tesco as that's the local supermarket, there may be cheaper options elsewhere though.

So you need to preheat your oven to around 180°C (160°C for fan assisted ovens) or Gas Mark 4, my oven is gas but I find it always need to be one setting higher than the suggestion on the box (so Gas mark 5).

First you mix all the ingredients for your cupcakes in a bowl, doing each type of cupcake in a separate bowl of course! You then divide the mixture evenly between your cupcake cases. The box says it makes 9 but I didn;t use the cases that came in the box as they were a bit thin and floppy. I had some better muffin cases at home already so I used them instead. Because they are bigger I could only make 6 cupakes, with the mixture being just under halfway on the case.


  Then bake for 15-17 minutes. I put them on for 17 mins and found the Red Velvet cakes mixture was more watery at the start than the Vanilla ones, and they needed an extra 2 minutes at the end. That may be due to my oven though so just keep an eye on them!

While they were cooling I sorted out the Love Hearts sweets for the ones with the nicest message I wanted. So ones like 'I love you', 'True love' etc. rather than the ones like 'Hello' 'Just say no' and  'Cool Dude'... this took a while.

Then I prepared the other decorations, the Betty Crocker boxes came with chocolate sprinkles. I made the love heart stencils by cutting it out of the box the cake mix came in.

Once cool, I prepared the butter cream icing for both cupcake mixes. Just add the butter and the water to the icing sugar and mix lightly at first and then more vigorously when the powder was mixed in so it gets light and fluffy.

Note: The pink icing is far paler than on the box so if the colour you want is the one on the box you may want to get some red food colouring and add one or two drops to darken it up.

Now it's time to decorate! You could just spoon the buttercream onto the cupcakes but I used a piping bag I had in the cupboard, I snipped of the end so it was a wide opening and put the buttercream on in a large swirl that ended in the center it creates a nice even finish. If you refrigerate the buttercream it will be more defined once piped, if you do it straight away like I did, it 'melts' a little.

I put a large icing flower or a love heart in the middle of each cupcake, or I used both in some cases! Then I added the little flowers for detail, sprinkled a few raspberry fudge pieces to each cake and lastly I sprinkled the chocolate sprinkles on the Red Velvet cupcakes and the white chocolate sprinkles on all of them.

Then we're done!

I'm just displaying them on a heart napkin (£1) to make it look even more festive for Valentines Day and sprinkled some heart confetti (£1) around, both again from Tesco.

I am really impressed with the flavour of these cupcakes, I've never used Betty Crocker cupcake mixes before but I must say I am pleasantly surprised!

I actually would recommend them, they made a lot less mess than from scratch and were delicious, everyone who tried one loved them, though if I wanted to make a lot of cupcakes I would definitely rather do it from scratch.

So what do you think of them? Is using a box recipe a cop out? Are you baking your other half anything for Valentines?

As always, Thank you for Reading!
Birds in Blossom x

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