I Heart You Cupcakes

Posted on 08 February 2012 by Mădălina

Every one will be wondering how you managed to get a heart into the middle of the cupcake. I’ll teach you the secret, and it’ll just be between us:)

I Heart You Cupcakes
Classic Vanilla Cupcakes (Vanilla Birthday Cake)
Recipe makes four 9″ cakes or ~ 30 regular cupcakes. This recipe makes ~20 cupcakes with the red heart centers.


- Non-stick cooking spray
- 8 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
- 2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 1/2  cups cake flour (not self-rising)
- 3 cups sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cup (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
+ Red food coloring gel or powder for the hearts
+ Sheet pan
+ Cupcake pan
+ 1 1/2″ heart shaped cookie cutter
+ Cupcake liners
+ Buttercream icing. Martha Stewart’s basic vanilla butter cream is my favorite


1. Preheat the oven to 350′F. Coat the inside of a 12″ x 18″ cookie sheet with cooking spray. Dust the botoms and sides of the pan with flour, knocking out any extra flour.  Line your cupcake pan with paper liners and set aside.

2. Combine the eggs, milk and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat lightly. Set aside.

3. Combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a extra large mixing bowl. Add the butter. With an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until the butter softens. Four in about 2/3 of the egg mixture and mix on low speed until all the ingredients are moistened. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Stir in the remaining egg mixture on low speed until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix on medium speed for 1 minute.

4. Divide the batter into two parts. Add a few drops of  food coloring gel to half the mixture until you achieve your desired color and stir until combined. This batter will be for the center hearts of your cupcakes. Pour the colored batter into the cookie sheet, spread evenly, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (approximately 13-15 minutes). Let the cake cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, and invert onto a flat work surface.

5. Once the cake is cool to the touch, cut out heart shapes from the red cake. Once you have all your shapes cut out, scrape your plain vanilla batter into the cupcake paper liners, filling about 2/3 of the way. Working quickly, insert a cake heart into the center of each cupcake (yes, cooked cake into the center of the raw batter). Bake until cupcakes are light golden brown (approximately 12 – 15 minutes).

6. Check on the cupcakes about 5 minutes after you’ve placed them in the oven– if the hearts start to rise to the top, carefully tap them down using a wooden spoon. I didn’t have an issue with them popping up on my first batch, but when my oven got a little too hot, they started to creep up. I tapped them down half way through baking and it seemed to fix the issue. Remove the cupcakes from the oven, and allow to cool before icing with your favorite buttercream.

Tip: Using a pencil, mark the cupcake liner to indicate where and which direction you placed the red heart in the center of your cupcake. That way, you can know where to cut the cupcake in half.


16 Comments For This Post

  1. Blog is the New Black Says:

    These cupcakes are great! Loving the heart on the inside.

  2. Gabby Says:

    i was wondering what the difference between using cake flour and all purpose flour was and if AP flour can be substituted for it (in the recipe in particular). Thanks!

  3. Mădălina Says:

    Gabby– Pastry flour is a specialized type of flour that is considered a “weak” flour. Weak means that it is a low-gluten flour made from soft wheat. It has a low protein % and ash content and it is what makes cakes and cookies light, fluffy and crumbly.

    There are manyyyyyyy types of flour, but they are primarily found in commercial applications. All-purpose flour is a general-purpose flour. This type of flour is slightly “weaker” than bread flour, but not quite as weak as cake or pastry flour. Substituting is not recommended, but if you are in dire straits, you make do with what you have. Your cake will still turn out, but you may find that your cake will be a little tougher and less delicate than using a weaker flour.

    Hope that answer isn’t too confusing.

  4. i'm a little | alexandra nikolajev | @lexniko Says:

    These are INSANE and sounds like they’re realistically doable if you get the timing right.

    Thanks for the recipe! ~a

    http://www.imalittle.com | alexandra nikolajev | @lexniko

  5. Mercedes Says:

    Wow, these are incredible!

  6. Steve @ the black peppercorn Says:

    Love these! The heart in the middle of the cupcake is so creative. It looks amazing!

  7. Lannie Says:

    lovely idea! did you get it first try, was the cake heart a different texture than the white cake part?

  8. Mădălina Says:


    They worked out the first time, no problem. The only little hiccup was making sure I had the right amount of batter to rise above the heart insert– I got it right after the first test batch (always pop 1 or 2 cupcakes in the oven to test if your batter rises, etc)

    I thought that by twice baking the middle heart that it would be dry, but it wasn’t. The texture was pretty much the same– you couldn’t taste or tell any difference. If you have any peaks sticking out from the heart insert after the batter rises, they might be a little bit more toasted then the rest of the cupcake. Other than that, they were really tasty!

  9. maria jose Says:

    me ha encantado la receta la presentacion vamos entero entrito entero
    bravo enhorabuena

  10. Miss Cassandra Says:

    This is so genius…I can’t wait to try it out!

  11. Lana Murray Says:

    I am SOO making these for Valentine’s day:) My aunt makes these but with shamrocks in the center (we’re totally south side chicago irish–gooo sox!) Anyway, if the size of the cookie cutter is kinda big, is that okay? Love Duh-Licious<3

  12. Lana Murray Says:


  13. Bonny Lee Says:

    One gal in the comment section asked how long the frosting would last since she had half of it left over after making a cake. My suggestion would be to halve the ingredients and only make half a batch of frosting to start with. I do this a lot when I’m making wedding cakes and I only need a certain flavor for one of the cakes. I can even make 1/4th of a batch.

  14. Heather Says:

    Is there any way to make this a strawberry cupcake instead of a vanilla cupcake? =)

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