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Whether you're looking for inspiration or plan to follow a recipe to the last detail, this simple tutorial will show you how to make easy yet elegant cupcakes for Valentine's Day - or any time you crave them throughout the year!

Step 1: Ingredients and Supplies

Ingredients you will need:

•White cake/cupcake mix

•Vanilla mousse
•A handful of white chocolate

•Food colouring

Supplies you will need:
•2 plastic bags for piping mousse and chocolate
•Electric/handheld mixer
•Wax paper
•Cupcake tins
•Cupcake liners
•Whisk and spoon

(•Tape)

(•Decorating tip)

Step 2: Prepare Your Icing

I was going for the piled-high icing look they use for store-bought cupcakes, so I decided to use a box of vanilla mousse I found in the cupboards. It turned out well; it had the same effect, held its shape, and had a thinner, less fatty consistency than the usual icing. It was more like whipped cream. I know a lot of people who tend to wipe off half the icing to avoid all the sugar and fat, but because mousse is a dish that is also often served on its own, it wasn't really necessary.

Prepare the mousse according to the box (this is where the electric mixer comes into use to whip it).

Add your mousse to a large piping bag, twist the top closed, and tape it down for extra security. My bag's tip had a little hole in it so I had to fold and tape it too. Then place the bag in the fridge as it needs to be refrigerated for a couple hours (or frozen for 20 minutes) before used.

Tips:

•Drip extra food colouring along the edge of the piping bag to create a line of colour while icing for more dimension.

•You can also use a decorating tip to create different textures.

•Colour your mousse with food colouring (I used pink-and got it all over my hands).

Step 3: Prepare the Cupcake Mix

Prepare the cake mix according to the box, then line your cupcake tins with cupcake liners. Fill them with cake mix about 2/3 full. I ended up making 12 normal-sized cupcakes and 16 mini cupcakes.

Bake until you can poke a skewer into the middle of a cupcake and it comes out clean or until the edges turn golden/brown.

Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let them cool completely before moussing or it will not hold its shape or even melt.

Notes/Tips:

•Smaller cupcakes will take less time to bake.

•Avoid over-mixing and over-baking, as it will affect the texture of the cupcakes (usually making them less soft/moist or tougher).

•I wanted to have a white and pink contrasted cupcake, but my cake mix [butter pecan] didn't hit that pure white as well as I'd hoped. So I would suggest using the "white" flavoured cake mixes instead, and maybe avoiding using the egg yolks would help too.

Step 4: Chocolate Toppers

While the cupcakes are baking, melt a handful of white chocolate callets (or chocolate chips) using a mini double boiler method - Boil water in the kettle, then pour it into a glass bowl. Place a smaller bowl containing the chocolate into the glass bowl and wait for them to melt, stirring occasionally.

Scoop the chocolate into a plastic baggie and tie the end up. Then cut a small hole at the tip.

Now comes the fun part! Pipe small hearts on wax paper, then trace over them for reinforcement. You should also draw a line down the middle of the heart for extra support and to reinforce it too.

Notes/Tips:

•Feel free to create whatever kinds of hearts you want and get creative! I also made doily hearts (draw a heart shape, then let the white chocolate fall in random squiggles to fill up the heart), drizzled hearts (fill in a heart by making a zig-zag-like line), and more. I ended up melting way too much chocolate so I got bored of piping hearts and made many other shapes like snowflakes, letters, wands, and Tinkerbell!

•The toppers shouldn't take too long to dry and harden, but you can put them into the fridge to speed up the process if you finish fast. For me, most of them were dry in under 10 minutes.

Step 5: Moussing the Cupcakes

Remove the tape on the tip of your bag of settled mousse.

Cut a fairly large hole at the tip, perhaps almost a centimeter in diameter (unless you already have a decorating tip inside).

What I found to be most effective is to start squeezing the mousse around the edges of the cupcake in a swirled motion. However, instead of quickly moving along in a circle, it helps to go slowly and let the mousse slightly accumulate as you move. Otherwise it creates too many little lines that fall and do not pile.

Another method is to start in the center of the cupcake and just let the mousse flow and pile up to create a smooth, round top (as seen in the second picture).

For the mini cupcakes, I just added a small blob of mousse.

Once you have completed moussing the cupcakes, add your chocolate toppers.

And if you managed not to eat all of them along the way, you must now decide: to share or not to share?

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