Moist Mini Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with a tiny Red Velvet Heart surprise inside!! Is your heart swelling with love?
Oh, the heart…. In the anatomic sense the heart pumps blood into your arteries. With each beat, beat, beat – The heart gives you life. Once the heart stops beating, you cease to exist. Gone. Where? That is the question we spend a lifetime pondering. Not today, though. I’m not even going there today.
Oh, the heart. In the figurative sense its beats, expansion, contractions, the pain of it depicts a realization, abundance, absence, or loss of love.
Love is a tricky thing. Falling in love is the easy part. Staying in love is a whole ‘nother talk show. One day you’re staring at the sky, smiling like an idiot and suddenly you realize – Oh, shit – I’m living a Billy Idol song. I’m in love.
Love is a beautiful thing. The way it makes colors and scents richer, brighter. The way it makes your memories vivid. So very vivid. The way it makes you smile so wide your face threatens to split in two. Love make you beautiful, so beautiful. Inside and out.
Let’s celebrate it. Today let’s celebrate Love.
Is that a bit cliche? Celebrating love with cupcakes? I want Cupid shooting arrows all up in your rear today. I’m all sorts of cliches this morning.
Flow with me, we’re going to talk about these Vanilla Bean Heart Inside Mini Cupcakes.
Let’s get this out of the way, I took a shortcut. I’ve been lazy lately. Whatever, I’m cool with it. That red heart you see in the middle? It came from a boxed cake mix. I haven’t eaten a boxed cake mix since 1998. I can’t tell you whether or not boxed cake mixes were better or worse in 1998.
The only things I can remember from the 90’s are Hootie and the Blowfish and that my relationship, now marriage, was well over a year in.
But I digress.
Back to these cupcakes. I used a boxed cake mix for the heart portion, and a homemade cake for the cupcake portion. You? You do what you feel is right. If you go the boxed cake route for the hearts, you will have tons left over. I do. It’s in the freezer. For truffles. Because.
Love Cake Truffles. Or Side Chick Cake Truffles. I haven’t decided which way I’m going with this.
Anyway, basically you are baking a cake and with a heart shaped cookie cutter you are cutting hearts. I went mini hearts. You do you. Measure first. It’s only right.
Those cut out hearts go inside cake batter and bake twice. It’s OK. The texture doesn’t change, the baked hearts don’t burn. They’re protected by cake batter; sort of how your ribs protect your actual beating heart.
The cupcakes cool and you frost them. I went with a Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese. You know, because of the Red Velvet cake.
These cupcakes are cute as hell. And if you can bake two cakes (one a boxed mix) and place a cut heart in the middle, easy to make. The effect is stunning. People will obsess over it. Like really obsess. Shrieks and everything.
Like Omaigaaaaaa qué cute!!!!
They’ll wonder how could you (you!) have possibly achieved such a feat.
“This looks hard!” It’s not.
“This is like the Turducken of cupcakes!” It isn’t.
Like love, be open to it and it will just happen, bruh.
Vanilla Bean Heart Inside Mini Cupcakes
- For the Red Velvet Hearts
- 1 Red Velvet Boxed Cake Mix
- For the Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
- All-purpose flour, lightly spooned into measuring cup then leveled - 3 cups
- Salt - 1 teaspoon
- Baking powder - 2 teaspoons
- Unsalted butter, room temperature - 1 cup (2 sticks)
- Granulated sugar - 1 1/2 cups
- Large eggs, room temperature - 3
- Vanilla bean paste - 1 tablespoon
- Vanilla extract - 1 1/2 tablespoon
- Whole milk - 1 cup
- For the Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
- Unsalted butter - ½ cup (1 stick)
- Full fat cream cheese - 1 (8 ounce) package
- Confectioners' sugar - 3 1/2 cups
- Vanilla extract - 1 ½ tablespoons
- Heavy Cream - 3 tablespoons
Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Line 48 mini muffin tins with mini cupcake liners. Also set aside.
Bake the red velvet cake:
Mix the red velvet boxed cake mix according to manufacturer’s directions. Pour the cake mix onto lined cookie sheet and spread evenly. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 12-18 minutes, depending on your oven. Remove cookie sheet from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Invert cake onto a cutting board and allow to cool completely. With a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut 48 hearts. Size doesn’t matter. You can go tiny or medium. It’s all good. Line the hearts on a plate and place in the fridge until ready to use. Please note, you will have tons of red velvet cake scraps. Save them in a plastic Ziploc bag and use them for truffles, trifles, or mini desserts! I placed mine in the freezer for truffles. Fun!
Bake the cupcakes:
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix quickly with a fork to combine, and set aside.
In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar over medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Stop and scrape the mixer as needed. Reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla bean paste and vanilla extract.
Add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, starting and ending with the flour. Stop and scrape the mixer. Turn the mixer back to low and mix until just combined. Remove bowl from the mixer and give it a couple of folds, making sure you scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure cake batter is evenly mixed.
Remove cut-out red velvet hearts from the fridge. With a cookie scoop, scoop cake batter into cupcake liners, leaving about 1/8 inch of space. Take a red velvet heart and push it into the center of each cupcake. Make sure the red velvet heart is completely covered by cake batter.
Place muffin tins in the oven and bake until cake lightly browned and toothpick or cake tester inserted in the sides of several cupcakes comes out clean, anywhere from 12-18 minutes depending on your oven.
Remove the muffin tins from the oven. Leave the cupcakes in the muffin tins for about 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting the cupcakes. As the cupcakes cool, make the Vanilla cream cheese frosting.
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine butter and cream cheese. Mix on medium/high speed until combined. Stop the mixer and add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract. Mix on low speed until the confectioners’ sugar is combined with the cream cheese/butter mixture. Increase the speed to medium/high and mix until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Stop the mixer, taste, and add more confectioners’ sugar if you prefer a thicker frosting and more vanilla extract if you prefer a more pronounced vanilla flavor. Add the heavy cream and mix until thickened, another 15-20 seconds.
Stop the mixer and transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with a decorative tip. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
When ready to use, pipe frosting on each mini cupcake. If you prefer more frosting on each cupcake, feel free to double the recipe.