If you don’t know that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, you must be living under a rock. Every shop, TV channel or Radio Station advertises it. Even Anti-Valentine’s Day products are being advertised. And if you thought you were getting away from it here, you are, unfortunately, wrong.
I have to clear up though that I am not a massive fan of Valentine’s Day. Firstly because I think it puts a lot of pressure on people (single and attached) to buy ridiculously expensive flowers and gifts and if you DON’T have a ‘Valentine’, you feel like a loser. I know you say you don’t, but I’ve been there, and I did. As a high school girl the entire February would revolve around who’s got the hottest Valentine and who’s going to get a boy to give them flowers at school (keep in mind I was in a girls only school, with our ‘brother’ school across the street from us) . And, let’s just say, I ‘peaked’ early and I was a lot taller and a lot more, um, ‘voluptuous’ than the other girls in my grade (to put it bluntly, I started wearing a bra at 11). And as High school boys were generally much more immature and short than I was, I opted to go for the Varsity boys, which were all too glad to take a 16 year old who looked like a 20 year old ‘under their wing’. But sadly, that also meant that I almost NEVER had a Valentine because Varsity guys are ‘too cool’ for that, you see?
Another reason why I’m not too fond of Valentine’s day, even now that I’m married, is that I get loved everyday, maybe not the same amount everyday, but never-the-less, I get loved. So I don’t really get why I should become all ‘coochie-dee-coo’ and plaster a big red ribbon around it for one day. And even if I loved the idea of it, my husband doesn’t, so I wouldn’t be getting flowers anyway (unless I sent them to myself).
And even though I won’t spend lots of money for one day’s worth of ‘love’, I can still bake cupcakes and decorate them to the point of no return. A friend commented that these looked like “Valentine’s Day had hurled all over it”. No surprise that she also hates the day, huh?
I’ve been playing around with Fondant (plastic icing) for quite some time now and I really enjoy making roses. It’s almost therapeutic and relaxing to work with your hands and make something so beautiful so I decided to make a few for these cupcakes. I’ll be posting a ‘step-by-step’ how to tomorrow so you can also make these for your beloved. I also made some plainer, but no-less impressive, cupcakes for those of you who don’t feel you’re quite ready for ‘rose sculpting’ just yet.
And let me just say, even though I don’t expect anything on Valentine’s Day, my heart would skip a beat if my husband presented me with a platter of these beauties. Chocolate, roses & strawberries, all in one!
- 200g caster sugar
- 175g flour
- 50g cocoa powder
- 7.5ml baking powder
- 2.5ml salt
- 1 egg
- 125ml milk
- 75ml melted unsalted butter
- 5ml vanilla extract
- 125ml hot water
- 100g butter/baking margarine, room temperature
- 400g icing sugar, sifted
- 2tbsn milk
- 5ml strawberry flavouring
- 2 drops pink gel food colour
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°c. Line a muffin-tray with cupcake cases.
- Combine all the dry ingredients together and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter and vanilla.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and beat for 2 minutes until well combined. Slowly add the hot water and mix through.
- The batter will be very runny, so don't be alarmed.
- Pour the batter into the cupcake cases (I fill mine about ¾ full) and place into the oven.
- Bake the cupcakes for 15-18 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tray. Remove them from the tray and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Decorate with Strawberry Buttercream frosting.
- Beat the butter until pale and fluffy.
- Sift in the icing sugar and beat until the mixture comes together in a ball. Add the milk, flavouring and colour and beat for another minute.
- To create the 'ripple' effect, streak the inside of the piping bag with some red/pink gel food colouring (I just use a toothpick and draw lines on the inside of the bag). Fill with the buttercream and pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.