It doesn't matter if you have a special someone in your life or if you just broke up with that special someone, or if you are single and ready to mingle... let's be very clear about one thing: Valentine's Day is an excuse to indulge in excellent desserts.
I'm not saying that I don't enjoy the candlelit dinner and flowers, but it does seem a little random to have this one day that we all celebrate our love. Feels a bit forced after a while, no? And expensive with the overpriced restaurant menus and hotels. In my traditional "I'm not going to pay for that" fashion, I'd rather a quiet night at home with a home cooked meal. And that's what I'm getting this year: a night off from cooking, dinner prepared by the mister-to-be, and hopefully lots of Friday Nights Lights (current obsession). I will be a happy camper.
So what is fun about Valentine's Day? It's the stuff we did in grade school -- homemade cards to give out to your classmates, candy galore, and loads of cupcakes with hearts on them. I was reminded of this when I Facetimed my two year old niece and asked her what she was doing.
"Look - heart stickers!" she replied.
"Are you making Valentine's cards??"
"Yah - I'm making cards for my Blake uncle!" (Blake uncle = my fiance, and my heart just about melted).
So, I was inspired to do something thoughtful for Valentine's Day, too. And what better than baking? My roommate had just gone through a rough week, so I figured I'd just bake my way to her happiness. It took me about an hour or two to even decide what to make, and finally I settled on some chocolate cupcakes. I hate chocolate cupcakes -- but I know she loves them, so I went for it.
To make a long story short, I no longer hate chocolate cupcakes. In fact, I love them. These are more like brownie cupcakes, to be fair, but they are fantastic. They aren't that light, spongy cupcake consistency that you get at the store. This was like biting into a rich, chocolaty brownie that melted in your mouth (and happened to be in the shape of a cupcake!) And, the simple homemade frosting was amazing too! I probably didn't solve my roommate's problems, but I think I helped to brighten her day.
The photography session for these cupcakes was quite a debacle. I was already losing the light (it was 4:30 when they came out of the oven), and right after I took my first shot, the camera battery died. So, while it charged, I set out to frost the mini desserts, only to find that the frosting was making a melty mess when applied to the warm cakes. What's a girl to do?? The frosting went into the fridge to stiffen up, while the battery charged. I had a meeting in 20 minutes, so this was going to be interesting....
In the end it all managed to work out. Hopefully these photos suffice and make your sweet tooth ache, just a little.
A tip for frosting cupcakes: let them cool before you frost them! And cool your frosting in the fridge, too. Way better results. And, a butter knife works better than a spatula. Oh yeah, and homemade frosting (as usual) is WAY better than store bought. Just sayin'.
Here's the recipe for these cupcakes, courtesy Martha. I used the frosting recipe that she provides. It was perfect. Happy Valentine's Day!