Thursday, February 11, 2016

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!  I love Valentine's Day - what better than a day about telling people that you love them?  My girls share my love and this week made Valentines for our neighbors, for far away cousins, and friends who don't go to their school.  We also made 45 classroom valentines to pass out tomorrow.

Here are some photos of making this year's valentines (I bought the brown cutouts from Amazon) and the super cute Olaf ones we made last year:

If you want to make something for someone's birthday (like mine on Saturday - hint, hint) or Valentine's Day, here's a tried and true yellow cake and chocolate buttercream combination.  I think I've written before about how much I love my 5 layer mini cake pan set.  It makes these cute cakes that are just the right size for about 4 adults and some kids to share.  You can do all sorts of things with the layers like make this rainbow cake.  The recipe below has baking times and proportions for cupcakes but you can adjust it to the pan size that you prefer.

Yellow Cake (makes 16-18 cupcakes or one cake layer)
from Sally's Baking addiction

2 large eggs, room temperature and separated
2 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk, room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat 2 egg whites on high speed in a medium bowl until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes.  You want them fluffy without liquid at the bottom of the bowl.  Set aside.

In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Using a mixer, beat the butter on high speech until smooth and creamy - about 1 minute.  Add the sugar and beat on high for 3-4 minutes or until creamed together well.  Scrape down the bowl as needed.  Add 2 egg yolks and vanilla.  Beat on medium-high speech until combined.  Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl.  With the mixer on low speech, alternate adding the dry ingredients and whole milk, about half of each at a time.  Mix until just incorporated (do not overmix).  Fold in whipped egg whites.  The batter will be smooth, velvety and slightly thick.

Chocolate buttercream frosting (enough for 1 doz cupcakes)

1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
2.5 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Use the wire whisk attachment on your stand mixer and whip the butter on medium high speed for 5 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl once or twice.

Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar.  Once it's all incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and add the vanilla.  Add the melted chocolate and whip at medium high speech until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.

Spoon into cupcake liners, filling halfway full.  Bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

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