Love is in the air!

I’m a little late, but it is still the month of love so I am going to share with you some lovely treats I got to make! It has been quite the loving month so far. First, I had the pleasure of preparing an elegant treat for my best friend Ilyse’s engagement party. I wanted to do something really special, and since since Ilyse loves champagne and we were celebrating, I thought incorporating champagne into the cupcakes would be a great idea. Ilyse and her fiance, Eric, also love chocolate. So I decided on a chocolate cupcake, brushed with champagne, and iced in champagne buttercream. I am still on the search for the perfect, dense, moist, rich and tender chocolate cupcake, but in the meantime Nigella’s Dense Chocolate Loaf in cupcake form certainly satisfied many. This recipe is included in her book, How to be a Domestic Goddess, but there are plenty of references to it online as well. For the buttercream, I used a basic recipe combining shortening, butter, and confectioner’s sugar, and champagne in place of milk. Honestly, I just kept adding all the ingredients until I got the volume and flavor I wanted. I used the extra champagne to soak the cupcakes, by brushing it on top of each one before frosting. This really intensified the flavor!

My real pride and joy are the chocolate initials for Ilyse and Eric – I made these by first creating a template of the letters in a font I liked, then taping a piece of waxed paper over it, and tracing the template in melted chocolate using a pastry bag and small tip. It took a little practice to get the hang of it, but I was really pleased with how they turned out. For fun, here are some pictures of my friends enjoying them!

There’s no way I could let Valentine’s Day go by without making a special – and pink- treat to bring to work. Since my cousin Madison made a special request for cupcake pops for her birthday next weekend, I decided to use the extra cake balls (and heart sprinkles from Ilyse and Eric’s cupcakes!) to make some chocolate-covered-cupcake-truffles for my coworkers. These are super cute, and very popular! Most of my coworkers had never had a cake ball of any sort, so they were pretty much delighted to taste and hear about how these come together.

I find that putting these together is just as much an arts and crafts project as it is a baking project; and though it can be tedious, it’s worth the effort for the fun little novelty you get to share. If you want to bake to impress, these are a great project to try!

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8 Responses to “Love is in the air!”

  1. 1

    Joelen — February 17, 2009 @ 6:02 am Reply

    Cara, these look awesome! Great job on both the cupcakes and cakeballs!

  2. 2

    Laura P. — February 17, 2009 @ 12:17 pm Reply

    they both look beautiful!

  3. 3

    Katie — February 17, 2009 @ 3:01 pm Reply

    The chocolate letters look so good! Your cupcakes are so creative!And your cake balls look good too!

  4. 4 — February 17, 2009 @ 8:29 pm Reply

    They both look so good! Awesome job.

  5. 5

    Danielle — February 22, 2009 @ 1:54 pm Reply

    They look FAB!!!!

  6. 6

    gaga — March 4, 2009 @ 4:58 pm Reply

    Wow, those are all gorgeous! You did a wonderful job.

  7. 7 — April 5, 2011 @ 1:20 am Reply

    They both look so good! Awesome job.

  8. 8

    Danielle — April 5, 2011 @ 1:20 am Reply

    They look FAB!!!!

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