Bake It in a Cake

Dedicated to cake and cupcakes and all the delicious things you can bake inside of them.


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Broken Heart Cupcakes

You’ve seen me bake a heart in a cake, but I know not all love stories have a happy ending. And what better way to heal a broken heart than to bake it in a cupcake, top it with some delicious dark chocolate cherry frosting, and devour it?

These broken heart cupcakes are just a tinge more complicated than the pink heart cupcakes, since it requires two different batches of batter, and the extra step of cutting all the hearts in half.

To save time, I made the hearts out of a chocolate cake box mix. You could also use your favorite chocolate cake recipe (mine is here). You won’t need all of the batter for a recipe that makes 24 cupcakes, though, so you can either cut down the recipe by about one-third (which is confusing, if you ask me) or use the leftover batter to bake another small cake or a small batch of cupcakes. (I recommend using them for these creme brulee cupcakes!) Pour two-thirds of your chocolate batter into a greased 9x13 inch pan and bake according to directions. When the cake is finished, allow it to completely cool, then carefully invert the cake onto a cutting board and use a small heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out 24 hearts. Set them aside while you make the cupcakes. (And treat yourself to some of the scraps, you’ve earned it.)

For the cupcakes you’ll need:

¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounce cream cheese, room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1⅓ cups whole milk

For the frosting you’ll need:

4 ounce dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
24 maraschino cherries, optional 

1. First, you need to make the chocolate hearts. See the note above? Okay, good. Just wanted to make sure. Now that you have the hearts, make the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 350°F, use a nontoxic marker to make a small dot on the edge of 24 paper liners and place them in two standard muffin tins, with all the dots facing the same direction. Use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer on medium speed to combine the butter, cream cheese, and sugar for 90 seconds, until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing in each egg completely before adding the next. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl, then turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and mix for another 30 seconds, until all the ingredients are well combined. Finally, add the flour, ½ cup at a time, alternately with the milk, ⅓ cup at a time, mixing until each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl one more time and continue to mix the batter on medium-high speed another 30 seconds. It should be smooth and creamy.

4. Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons of the batter into the prepared  tins. Take a small, sharp knife and cut a zigzag pattern down the middle of the heart. Using a small spoon or your finger, spread a thin layer of the batter along one of the zigzag edges and then gently press the two corresponding heart pieces back together. Place the heart into the batter, with the bottom of the heart pointing down and the front of the heart facing the dot on the cupcake paper. Press the heart gently into the batter. Cover the top of the heart with another heaping teaspoon of batter. Repeat this process with the rest of the hearts.

5. Bake for 24 minutes, or until the edges of the cupcakes have started to turn golden brown and the cake springs back when you gently press your finger into the top of it. Allow the cupcakes to rest in the tins for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool while you make the frosting.

5. To make the frosting, melt the dark chocolate and cream together in a microwave in a small, microwave-safe bowl for 20 seconds on high. Stir and microwave for another 20 seconds, repeating until the mixture has melted. When the chocolate mixture is smooth, put the bowl in the fridge so it cools a bit before being added to the frosting (the cream will keep the chocolate from hardening). Meanwhile, using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer, whip the butter for 30 seconds at medium speed until creamy. Add the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time, whipping at medium speed until fluffy. With the mixer on medium-low, drizzle in the cooled chocolate. Turn the mixer to high and whip the frosting for 30 seconds, until fluffy. Lastly, drizzle in a couple tablespoons of maraschino cherry juice and whip for another 15 seconds or so, until fully incorporated. Pipe or spread the frosting on top of the cupcakes and top with a cherry.

Tip: When you cut or bite into the cupcake, be sure you’re cutting widthwise across the center of the cupcake, with the dot facing forward, that way you’ll see the broken heart in the center.

My cookbook Bake it in a Cupcake: 50 Treats With a Surprise Inside is out now on Andrews McMeel Publishing and available at your favorite local bookstore as well as, Barnes & Noble, and!

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