So deep down we all know that Valentine’s Day is not really a day for couples to express their overly shmaletinesy adoration to each other – it’s really a test. For guys. Girls don’t have to do anything, except for graciously accept vast bouquets of perfect red roses, dinner invitations to theme-y restaurants with heart-shaped funfetti on the tables, or (my favourite) shiny sparkly things that make the bond on your house look like the small change you scratch out from between couch cushions.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is: If you have not yet pre-ordered the perfect dozen long-stemmed red roses, made a reservation at Chez Grande Costalot, or severed a limb in order to procure bling, then you, my friend (cue sing-song voice) are in trouuuble. You need to think fast. Ruining a girl’s Valentine’s Day is like … actually, no, it’s not like anything else. It’s just that bad.
Never fear! If you know where the kitchen is located, all you need is to follow the instructions to make these awwwww-inspiring cupcakes for your lady (or man. no discrimination round these parts). Points for effort!
I don’t know where my obsession with hearts came from; even though I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day (it’s so tiring having to put on grateful-face for wilted bouquets and lukewarm funfetti-studded food) I love heart-shaped everything. So I had what I thought was this BRILLIANT FRIKKIN IDEA only to find that, as usual, several gazillion other bloggers had pipped me to the post on this recipe. Oh well. They’re still super-cute (the heart cupcakes, not the other bloggers), and will hopefully help those peeps who haven’t realised Valentine’s is indeed this Friday.
To save the Valentine’s Day, you will need:
- One box of cupcake mix to make 12 cupcakes. Get the kids variety – it is kidproof and so possibly easier to follow than the fancy kinds. Remember to carefully read the back of the box and get the other ingredients needed – usually eggs, oil and milk or water. Any colour/variety will do really.
- Fresh, perfect strawberries.
- Fresh cream. Read the label carefully before buying – because, seriously, you cannot substitute this with buttermilk, sour cream or any other of the hundred things which are in the same packaging as cream. Squirty cream is for emergencies only because it exudes a bit of liquid on standing.
- Decorations, if you really want to take this over the top. Rose petals scattered round the platter would look awesome.
Firstly, evaluate the strawberries. Pick 12 that are roughly the height of the cupcake moulds.
Then, find a small, sharp knife. Not the biltong flicky-knife that lives in your pocket without every being cleaned. Use it to cut a cone-shape out of the top of the strawberry, to remove the green bit. Rinse the strawberries and gently dry them with a paper towel, not your sleeve.
Preheat the oven and prepare your cupcake batter according to the instructions on the pack – do not try to pull a Masterchef and deviate. Baking is a precise science. Place cupcake liners in the cupcake tin (if you forgot to get these – blast the cupcake tin well with nonstick spray and let the cupcakes go commando). Half-fill each cupcake pocket with the prepared batter, then just before popping in the heated oven, pop a prepared strawberry into the middle of each. Using a teaspoon, kind of smooth the batter over the strawberry and into the dink.
Carefully place in the oven – slide it onto the rack, rather than shove it in, otherwise your strawberries will all fall over and this will be a dismal fail, and you may find yourself single by the 15th (kidding!). Bake for the time stated on the cupcake pack. Remove from the oven and allow the cupcakes to cool. Some will look smooth and beautiful. Some will appear to have grown tumours. It’s all good. Icing hides a multitude of sins.
Once they are cool, you can decorate them further – you could either prepare icing (those premix kits often come with some sort of icing mix as well), or you can do what I did and beat the cream until lovely soft gentle peaks form (no more! it will turn into butter) because strawberries and cream are yummy.
Top with decorative bits if you like – sprinkles, vermicelli, choc chips, whatevs. I made pink chocolate hearts *smugness*.
If topping with cream, you don’t want these to hang around too long before consumption, so time it carefully (as in, make it shortly before you intend presenting them).
Now, the really important part is that you must slice the cupcake in half before you allow your other half to tuck in – this will reveal the perfect heart in the centre – how awesome???!? Then either you can thank me for saving your Valentine’s Day, or if things go sour anyway (maybe she’s gluten intolerant! Or just really mean!!) you still have 12 yummy cupcakes to love :-).
Don’t go bakin’ her heart. Her achey bakey heart.
Bake these instead.
PS: And you have to clean up after yourself! This is not one of those I-cook-you-clean deals.
PPS: Pancakes with strawberry hearts – so clever! Not being a Morning Person (Morning DragonLady is more fitting) makes it hard for me to think breakfast…