Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Heart For Your Valentine - Conversation Cupcakes

Kiss me beneath the milky twilight
Lead me out on the moonlit floor
Lift your open hand
Strike up the band and make the fireflies dance
Silver moon's sparkling
So kiss me

(from Kiss Me by Sixpence None The Richer)

To celebrate Valentines Day, Zorra from Kochtopf has invited us to make A Heart For Your Valentine - that is, to make an edible heart. What a lovely way to show affection for someone special!

It will come as no surprise that I have chosen to make heart-shaped cakes for my edible hearts. I thought that it would be perfect to make heart-shaped cakes decorated as conversation lollies for the occasion.

These are raspberry swirl cupcakes from The Australian Women's Weekly book, Cupcakes. However, instead of making regular cupcakes, I baked my cakes in heart shaped moulds, and iced them in bright colours with messages written in red decorating gel to resemble conversation lollies.

While these cakes are not sophisticated or perfect, they are joyous - which is how love should be. They also have a charming innocence reminiscent of childhood, just like Sixpence None the Richer's whimsical song, Kiss Me, the chorus of which is set out above.

While the baby cakes are cute, they were particularly difficult to ice due to their fragility. I had one casualty when I initially tried dipping them in icing, as the weight of the wet icing was too much for the tiny cake. I was also a little disappointed with the decorating gel, which was nowhere near as bright a red as represented on the box, and was far too blunt an instrument to write messages on the baby cakes. Despite this, I was reasonably happy with the results.

The recipe for the cupcakes is as follows, and easily made 8 large heart-shaped cakes and 12 baby cakes:

125g butter, softened and cubed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups self raising flour, sifted
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons raspberry jam

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and spray heart shaped cake pans with cooking oil.

Place the butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs together in a bowl (all at once!) and beat until light and creamy. Fold in the flour and milk alternately and stir until just combined. Spoon half of the batter into a separate bowl and colour it pink using cochineal, leaving the remaining half white. Spoon the different coloured batters into the greased tins alternately, and place a dollop of jam on top of each cake. Using a small knife, create swirls of intertwining colour in each cake by running the knife through it. Don't overmix, otherwise the cakes will end up entirely pink.

Place the cakes in the oven and bake until cooked through. (My large cakes took 20 minutes and my small cakes took 10 minutes.) Cool cakes in their tins for roughly five minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

I used yellow, pink and green glace icing to ice the cooled cakes and piped conversation lolly messages onto the top of the cakes with decorating gel (or, in the case of the baby cakes, traced the edges of the hearts with gel). In retrospect, given the awkwardness of icing the heart shape, I would use buttercream icing, which is easier to control.

These hearts are in honour of Daddy Long Legs, who still makes me smile when I think of him.

The roundup of delightful edible hearts can be found here. Happy Valentines Day everyone!


Peter M said...

Very cute and you might be responsible for igniting some office trysts! lol

zorra said...

I can see, these cute hearts are made with love!

Thank you for your participation.

Cakelaw said...

Hi Peter, I am not sure if there were any new trysts (but would like to know!), but they certainly raised a few smiles.

Hi Zorra, thanks for once again hosting such a terrific event.

Mary said...

These are so cute and happy! I'm way to lazy to unmold my cupcakes. I think you did a lovely job on the decorating.

Rosie said...

These are very cute Cakelaw!! I bet they put a few smiles on faces :D

Rosie x

Angel said...

Your cakes are so cute!! I wouldn't mind giving one to my beloved for a little trysting myself.

Laurie Constantino said...

These are absolutely adorable. you have great piping skills to be able to make such clear lettering. Bravo Cakelaw!

Anonymous said...

These are soooo cute!! I love the idea.

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Mary - I liek the description "happy" - I hope they made people happy!!

Thanks Rosie, they definitely raised a smile or two, especially when people read the messages.

Thanks Angel - I'm with you, but alas, there was no trysting for me on the day.

Thanks Laurie, My piping could definitely use some improvement, but I liked 'em anyway.

Thanks Lovesweetlove - glad you like them.

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

These look so cute....