Cupcakes with a Heart


I haven’t posted for a while, but I promise I haven’t given up baking or blogging! The past few weeks have been busy with work and other things in my personal life that have kept me pretty busy. I knew I had to get this done by valentines day, and I wanted to share this recipe with you. This is my entry into the PomWonderful Cupcake Contest- a contest combining two of my favorite things- Cupcakes and Pomegranates. I started with one of my favorite cake recipes, made a few changes and incorporated Pomegranate Juice, tried a new trick I learned from Bake It In a Cake and voila- Cupcakes with a Heart.
Cupcakes with a Heart (aka Champagne and Pomegranate Cupcakes with Tahetian Vanilla Bean Buttercream)
Makes 30 Standard Cupcakes

2 boxes white cake mix
6 egg whites, divided
1 cup milk, divided
3/4 cup champagne
3/4 pomegranate juice
4 tsp vanilla extract, divided
4 tbsp vegetable oil, divided

3 sticks butter, softened
2 lbs powdered sugar, divided
1 tahetian vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla extract
2-4 tbsp milk
red food coloring if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine 1 cake mix with 3 egg whites, 1/2 cup milk, 3/4 cup champagne, 2 tbsp oil and 2 tsp vanilla. Stir with wire whisk for 2-3 minutes or until smooth.

In a second bowl, combine remaining cake mix with 3 egg whites, 1/2 cup milk, 3/4 cup pomegranate juice, 2 tbsp oil and 2 tsp vanilla. Stir with wire whisk for 2-3 minutes or until smooth.

Spray bottoms of 2 8×8 pans with nonstick spray, and pour a 1/2 in thick layer of champagne cake in one pan and pomegranate cake in the other. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Set aside and let cool.

Prepare muffin pans with liners and fill slightly less than 2/3 full with batter. Take a small heart-shaped cookie cutter (small enough to fit inside a cupcake) and cut 15 hearts from each cake layer. Insert a heart of the opposite color into each cupcake and push down as far into batter as it will go. Take care to keep cupcakes lined straight so that when cupcakes are bitten into you can see the heart.

Bake for 24-26 minutes, or until cupcakes are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely before decorating.

In large bowl, cream butter with electric mixer until smooth. Slice down the side of the vanilla bean and scrape insides into bowl, or add extract. Mix until combined. Add powdered sugar in small batches, mixing well after each addition. Add milk, 1 tbsp at a time until desired consistency is reached. Add food coloring, if desired. Frost cupcakes and place some sort of decoration on the front, so the cupcakes remain facing forward.

Enjoy, and let me know what you think.

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