Monday, February 13, 2012

The Ultimate Valentine Cupcake

I'm competitive.  When challenged I rise to the occasion.  So begins the story of these cupcakes.

While engaged in friendly conversation about baking Valentine's Day treats I happened to mention plans to make heart shaped red velvet cupcakes.  To my surprise, the response was "You've been there and done that.  Try something new."  This was followed by an email with multiple links to unique cupcake recipes.  I hit reply and typed "challenge accepted."  So began my brainstorming for The Ultimate Valentine Cupcake.

The inclusion of chocolate is a no brainer.  And strawberries or maybe cherries are pretty much required.  Dark chocolate ganache?  Coffee?  Mmmm, caramel!  Cinnamon?  Rose water?  Definitely pink marshmallow frosting!

 And so it was born: Oreo cookie crust, mocha cake, cherry filling, and toasted pink marshmallow frosting.

Share these with someone you love.
The Ultimate Valentine Cupcake
makes 36

Oreo Crust
1/2 package Oreos, crushed
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix together.
Spoon just enough into lined cupcake tin to cover bottom.
Bake for 5 minutes.

Mocha Cake (from Annie's Eats)
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 cup water
4 single serve instant coffee packets
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 can cherry pie filling

Mix dry ingredients, flour through salt, together and set aside.
Also combine milk, water, and instant coffee and set aside.
Cream butter and sugars until fluffy.
Beat in one egg at a time.
Alternate adding dry and wet ingredients, beginning and ending with dry.
Spoon just enough batter into cupcake liner to cover Oreo crust.
Add two cherries from pie filling.
Top with another tablespoon of cake batter.  Be sure pie filling is completely covered.
Bake for 18 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Pink Marshmallow Frosting
4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 drops neon pink food coloring.

Simmer 2 inches of water in a sauce pan.
Mix egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in the bowl to your mixer.
Place mixing bowl over simmering water (we're making a double boiler), whisk egg mixture constantly.
Once the sugar has dissolved and is no longer grainy, remove the bowl from the double boiler, about 5-7 minutes.
Beat on high for about 5 minutes, until stiff peaks form.
While beating add vanilla and food coloring.

Using a ziplock bag and decorative tip (Wilton 1M), pipe frosting on cupcakes.
Place 12 at a time on a cookie sheet and slide under broiler.
Watch very carefully as this marshmallow catches on fire just as easily as when making s'mores!

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