I found a perfect recipe to try for Valentine's Day out of the cupcake book Hello, Cupcake!. The idea is to bake little chocolate cupcakes and arrange them in a heart-shaped chocolate box so they look like chocolates. The photo in the book looked beautiful and delicious, and nothing like my end result. My cupcakes, however, tasted great according to my Nouvelle taste-testers, who gave me a record amount of 10s - five.
My first mistake was not using mini cupcake liners. I stood in the baking aisle at the grocery store comparing them to the larger ones. The small ones just seemed too small for all the decorations that were to go on top and I forgot to consider they would expand. So I foolishly bought the larger ones, overfilled them with batter, and put them too close to each other while they baked. Many of them ended up deformed.
Putting them into a heart-shaped chocolate box or even displaying them in a heart pattern was now out of the question. But I decided to try and make them as pretty and festive as possible with Valentine's and red candies, icing and sprinkles. I managed to turn a hopeless situation into one that seemed to impress both people and one Nouvelle staffer's cat, who apparently devoured a cupcake before her children could.
I still made some cupcakes look like chocolates as originally planned. I frosted a cupcake with milk chocolate frosting and heated a darker chocolate frosting so it became liquid. I cut a marshmallow in half lengthwise, so one half was completely flat and the other rounded. I then dipped it in the dark chocolate to coat it completely and let it cool in the fridge. Once cooled, I drizzled melted white frosting over the marshmallow to make it look like a chocolate and placed it on the cupcake. (See top left photo).
Several of these cupcakes, smaller though, placed in a heart-shaped chocolate box would have looked fabulous. Try it at home - it would make a thoughtful Valentine's gift. Or if that seems too technical (although if I can do it, anyone can), just have fun decorating cupcakes with red and pink treats. Happy Valentine's Bonnyville and bon appétit!