It all started when I had two midsemester exams to study for, and one hideous assignment to start… My baking bug was itching to stretch its legs and in the interests of procrastination, I caved in. I cast my mind back to a cake I made a while ago which revealed a love heart inside when you cut into it. Unfortunately, although the actual concept had worked, I discovered when I cut into it that there is almost no contrast between mud cake and red velvet cake, so it looked pretty un-impressive. (That’s why you’ve never seen it here!)
Considering trying a re-make, a quick google led me to a website called bake it in a cake, and Megan’s “Bake a Heart in a Cake” cupcakes. The procrastination potential was impressive (you have to bake a cake and THEN cupcakes. I mean, hello, that’s at LEAST 2 hours away from the desk!) so I decided this would be the perfect thing to try.
Essentially it works like this: you bake a red sheet cake, cut the hearts out (cooked) with a cookie cutter, and then prepare cupcakes as normal and stick the heart in the middle of your batter and there you have it – your other cupcake bakes around your already-baked heart!
I pretty much just followed Megan’s instructions – but with one major difference. I used 2 packet buttercake mixes rather than her recipe, and I think that’s where I had problems. My cake batter was REALLY runny, whilst hers looks super thick. Being runny, mine wouldn’t hold the love hearts up veritcally, and instead they just kept floating, horizontally, on the top of the batter. It also meant the batter which was MEANT to cover the tops of the hearts simply ran down the sides and added to the pool of batter said hearts were floating in.
Solution? All hope was not lost, and I took the cupcakes out of the oven every 4 minutes or so, and repositioned the heart in the centre vertically. As the batter cooked it got sturdier (for want of a better description!) and the more ‘baked’ it was, the better it held the heart upright in the position I left it in!
By the end, they cooked in the perfect position, with only one final problem – because I had to keep doing this, and because the batter was so runny, the tops were not covered as they should have been!
But I iced them, so you couldn’t even tell that the red hearts popped slightly out of the plain cupcake!
YUM!! And no, the hearts didn’t seem tougher than the rest of the cake (my first thought, given that they are baked twice!). I also recommend marking your cupcake papers to indicate the direction your hearts are facing – you need to cut through the cake right in the centre to get the full effect!