Sunday, February 8, 2009

Lovebug Cupcakes

Wondering what to get that special someone this Valentine's Day?

Why not give them something homemade... something from the heart - like these Lovebug Cupcakes!

To get started, all you need is a dozen cupcakes - they can be any flavour, made from scratch or from a box mix - and some stuff to decorate them with.

I opted to make a Red Velvet recipe because I love the colour red and it's pretty much synonymous with Valentine's Day. Plus, I'd been dying to try it forever! Sadly, I was a bit disappointed with the taste... for some reason, I'd been expecting the cupcake to taste just like a Devil's Food cake, but red! Still, these cupcakes are good, but they're really more of a vanilla cupcake that's dyed red. Adding the chocolate kiss in the middle certainly perks things up, though!

I'm not 100% sure how I came up with the idea for the decoration. I did a few Google searches for "Valentine's Cupcakes" and saw all kinds of different stuff that looked cool, but that didn't really inspire me. And then I checked out some of my favourite baking bloggers and saw their amazing Valentine's cupcakes and knew I couldn't compete. So then I just sort of brainstormed things that spoke "Valentine's Day" to me, and somehow I came up with lovebugs.

Basically, these are cupcakes covered with chocolate ganache, and then decorated with melted chocolate wafers and red licorice. They're a bit time consuming, but if I can make them, so can you!

So, let's get started. Here's what you'll need to decorate:

-12 baked and cooled cupcakes (the Red Velvet recipe that I used is at the end of the post)
-Chocolate ganache (recipe also at the bottom of the post)
-White chocolate wafers (about 1 cup)
-Black and red food colouring (I used gel colouring)
-Red licorice whips

Here's a step-by-step on how to put them together!

1. Dip the top of each baked and cooled cupcake in the chocolate ganache. Allow the excess ganache to drip off, and place the cupcakes in the freezer to help it set.
2. On a piece of paper, trace 24 small heart shapes.
3. Cover the piece of paper with a piece of parchment paper and set aside.
4. Microwave 1/4 cup of white chocolate wafers in a microwave-safe bowl in 10 second increments. After 10 seconds, stir the wafers and return to the microwave for another 10 seconds, or until the chocolate is melted.
5. Add black food colouring to the chocolate and stir until blended. Place the coloured chocolate into a small sandwich bag, seal closed, and snip off a small tip at the end with a pair of scissors.
6. Using the black-coloured chocolate, randomly pipe small dots inside each of the heart shapes on the parchment paper.
7. Microwave 1/2 cup of white chocolate wafers, following the same process as Step 4.
8. Add red food colouring to the chocolate and stir until blended. Add the chocolate to a sandwich bag, as in Step 5. Snip a larger hole at the end of the bag that the first.
9. Pipe the red chocolate along the outline of each heart. Then pipe a dollop of red chocolate in the centre of the heart, and using a toothpick, fan the chocolate out so that it covers the dots and fills in the shape.
10. Trim some of the licorice whips into 24 one-inch sections and 12 into half-inch sections, using a small knife.
11. Cut 12 white cholate wafers in half, and on each half, paint a dot in the centre of the smooth side using black food colouring applied with a toothpick.
12. To assemble the cupcakes, place two of the heart shapes onto the cupcake, leaving space for the lovebug's face. The heart shapes will become the wings, and should have the black dots facing upwards.
13. Next, place the white chocolate wafers on the lovebug's face to become the eyes.
14. Using a piece of the half-inch licorice, form a mouth in front of the eyes.
15. Finally, use a toothpick to make two small holes behind the eyes and in front of the wings. Place a piece of the one-inch licorice into each hole to become the antennae.

And there you go! Lovebugs for your loved one this Valentine's Day! Enjoy!
Ingredients for the Red Velvet cupcakes:
Bright red batter!:
Adding the chocolate kiss:
Stuff to decorate with:
Piping the heart-shaped wings:
A love bug about to consume it's favourite food.... chocolate kisses!:
Red Velvet Cupcakes (adapted from Little Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse)
1 cup butter, softenend
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp. red gel food colouring
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 tbsps. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. white vinegar
12 chocolate kiss candies, unwrapped
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners (this recipe will yield batter enough to make 18 cupcakes, but for the purposes of the decorations, I only made 12).
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together on high speed until light and fluffly.
4. Add the eggs and food colouring to the butter mixture and beat on medium speed until well creamed.
5. In a separate bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
6. At low speed, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, vanilla and vinegar. Begin and end with the flour mixture.
7. Divide the batter between the prepared molds, filling each about 1/4 full.
8. Bake the cupcakes for 1o minutes, and then remove from the oven.
9. Gently press one chocolate kiss candy into each cupcake mold, and then add enough batter to fill the mold about 3/4 full.
10. Return the muffin tin to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.
11. Cool the muffin tin on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing the cupcakes from the pans to cool completely.
Chocolate Ganache
3 cups semisweet or milk chocolate chips
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsps. butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips.
2. In a small saucepan, heat the cream, butter and corn syrup over high heat.
3. Stir the cream mixture until the butter melts, and continue to heat until just before the boiling point (bubbles will form around the pan's rim).
4. Slowly pour the scalded liquid over the melted chocolate, whisking constantly until smooth.
5. Allow the ganache to cool and thicken at room temperature before dipping the cupcakes.


Natalie... said...

Ah wow what a great idea, im making valetines day cupcakes this week, i think im making red velvet cake too..ive never tried it before..hope i like it...would u say it was nice?

ingegerd said...

sooo qute!!i like it!

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

If you want red velvet to be more chocolate-y, try replacing 2 Tbsp of the flour with 2 more Tbsp of cocoa. :)

They look so cute and lovey-dovey! <3 <3 <3