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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Easy Valentine Cupcakes

As I was walking through the aisle where the baking items are sold at my local store the other day, something caught my eye. I noticed Duncan Hines had something called Frosting Creations, where you buy a “frosting starter” and a “flavor mix” which came in a wide variety of flavors not normally seen in the frosting section. I have to say I was curious as to what this was all about so I bought a frosting starter and a couple of the flavor mixes, one in Black Cherry and the other in Strawberry Shortcake.

With Valentine’s Day coming up this week, I figured this would be a good time to try these out and see how they do. This was going to be an easy peasy recipe for cupcakes since it was all store bought instead of homemade.

I'm not including the directions with these since it's all there on the back of the box. Prep time for baking the cupcakes is 15-20 minutes and then allow for time to cool thoroughly before frosting. I baked my cupcakes the day before to ensure they would be cooled before frosting because if you frost while cupcakes are still warm, the frosting is difficult to apply because it keeps wanting to melt right off. You can always bake them in the morning before work and frost them when you get home, whatever works best for you to allow the cupcakes to cool thoroughly before frosting.

For the cupcake mix, I bought a white cake mix and prepared as directed. After I poured the mix into the cupcake cups, I put one drop of red food coloring in each cup mix and swirled it with a toothpick to get the red effect on the inside of the cake and baked as directed on the box and let cool.

For the frosting, I made as directed making a deep hole in the frosting starter and pouring in the black cherry flavor mix and blending well, making sure all the flavor mix was blended with the frosting. Once blended, the frosting came out as a dark pink, almost purple in color, with a light cherry taste.

Since I made 22 cupcakes, I quickly used up the black cherry frosting before all my cupcakes were frosted. Which was no problem because I had some white vanilla whipped frosting on hand and compared the ingredients of the frosting starter to that of the white vanilla frosting and realized they were basically the same thing. Luckily I had also bought the strawberry shortcake flavor mix, so I added it to the white frosting and ended up with a light pink creamy frosting with a touch of strawberry flavor.

I was impressed with how easy it was to make the signature flavor frostings and how different the coloring was than your normal over the shelf frostings of white, pink, and dark brown colors. Nowadays, you have flavors like cotton candy, white chocolate raspberry, pink lemonade, orange cream, pumpkin spice, and apple spice frosting to name just a few. Plus the colors come in a wide variety not normally seen on cupcakes and cakes such as green, blue, orange, and yellow. Frosting is not the same as when I was growing up! All we had was vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate frosting. Which is why baking is much more fun now with all the creative colors and flavor combinations!

Since these were going to be my Valentine’s Day cupcakes, I topped each one with a Hershey’s chocolate heart wrapped in pretty pink foil.

I call these my Easy Valentine Cupcakes for those of you who don’t have much time to make cupcakes but still want something that is low in cost, simple to make, looks pretty (with all the different colors), and tastes like you spent all day making them. Plus it gave me the opportunity to try out the frosting creations and let you know how they are. Let me know which flavors you try and how they turn out.

Here’s to wishing y’all a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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