Valentine Sweetheart Cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcake Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners.  In a large stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla, then the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl to thoroughly combine all the ingredients together.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Add to the cream mixture, along with the milk, and mix until a smooth batter is formed.  Use a large ice cream scoop to divide the batter evenly into the cupcake liners. Bake for 14-18 minutes until golden brown and the cupcakes spring back to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing and decorating.

Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
dash salt
food coloring paste
1/4 milk (add half, then add more as needed)

In a small mixing bowl, cream together the butter and powdered sugar until combined.  Add the vanilla extract, salt, food coloring, and half of the milk.  Beat slightly and decide how much more milk you will need to make frosting the right thickness.  It needs to be fairly thick if piping, and not as thick when using a cake spatula to spread.  Go ahead and add milk as needed.  Beat at high speed until it forms a nice fluffy frosting, about 3-4 minutes.  Pipe or spread icing on cupcakes and decorate as you like.  We always have sprinkles and jimmys in our pantry. 

Sweetheart Cupcake Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake tins with paper liners.  Make the cupcake batter per instructions.  Fill the cupcake liners 1/3 of the way full with plain white or vanilla batter.  Place 1/3 of the remaining batter in a bowl and dye pink.  Dye the remaining 2/3 batter with red dye.  Place both the pink and red batter in separate piping bags fitted with a small round tip.  Pipe about 2 Tablespoons of the red batter into the middle of each white cupcake.  Pipe about 1 Tablespoon of pink batter into the middle of the red batter. 
Note:  I also piped a couple of cupcakes with pink on the outside circle, and red in the middle (pictured on the right cupcake above).  They both turned out really cute! 

Bake per instructions of cupcake recipe.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 3 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Prepare your frosting and dye pink or red.  Pipe onto the cooled cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles, sanding sugar, candies, or jimmies.  Enjoy!