Chocolate Cupcakes with Goat Cheese Frosting & Cherry Jam Middles

Happy (almost) Valentine’s Day! Do you have any traditions surrounding this much divided holiday? I realize a lot of people throw old St. Valentine a lot of shade, but I’m not one of those. Back in my single-lady-daze I would make all of my girlfriends snarky Valentine’s and we’d do dinner or something else fun. These days, we NEVER go out on the actual day. We celebrate our anniversary of dating (TEN years this year, ya’ll!) this Valentine’s day because I invited Sean to my lady-date thing (why?! so dumb) which was at a Mexican restaurant (Bertha Miranda’s in Reno, to be exact) and I remember asking a girl in the hall of my dorm if my outfit was cute ’cause I was nervous even though there was like a whole girl gang and lone old Sean. I mean I really like-liked him! Anyway, we haven’t actually gone out since then because we are total hermits and love to either get take-out (Chinese! eaten from the carton) or make something at home and eat it on the couch and watch something we’ve DVR’d…which I realize is super romantic, I know…but, makes Valentine’s Day this year as parents SUPER easy and exactly no different than years before. We’ll save the going out for, like, a weekday in March or something.

Anyway, CUPCAKES! I made these cupcakes after failing that cake I mentioned last week–which was pink velvet and totally delish for the record, but a disaster and just didn’t feel like me…whatever that means. So, I re-worked it into something, I think, is truly magical. There are 3 parts to this cupcake dream.

First, the chocolate cake base. Dudes, these cupcakes are my favorite ever. They make exactly 12 cupcakes and come together with just one bowl and a measuring glass. I came up with this recipe a few years ago (for these PB+chocolate guys) and it’s my perfect cupcake. Tender and moist with a fine crumb and perfectly domed tops. Second, there’s a goat cheese frosting! Think classic cream cheese frosting with the tang of goat cheese. It’s our new household favorite and I imagine it would be amazing on carrot cake. Third, the filling is a mix of the frosting with some cherry jam. I realize I’m missing a photo of the jammy middles, but there’s evidence of them on my Instagram…pinky swear. I mixed the jam with some of the frosting because I really dislike what happens when jam meets cake and then just sits there bleeding into one another. Some people are into it, I’m not. I imagine you could just spoon some jam in there and call it a day and they’d still be super delicious. All of the flavors together works super well–rich chocolate, fruity cherry, and tangy goat cheese. These are definitely cupcakes worth sharing with people you not only like, but you like-like.

 

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Print Recipe

Chocolate Cupcakes with Goat Cheese Frosting & Cherry Jam Middles

Cupcakes:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Goat Cheese Frosting:

4 ounces (1/2 cup) softened, unsalted butter

4 ounces softened cream cheese

4 ounces softened goat cheese

4 cups confectioners sugar

Cherry Filling:

3 tablespoons cherry jam

1/4 cup goat cheese frosting

Preheat the oven to 350ºF land line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients for the cupcakes. Whisk measure out the oil and buttermilk in a large measuring cup and whisk together along with the eggs and vanilla. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry mixture in the mixing bowl and fold until combined. Divide the batter between the lined muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake in the center of the oven for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center of a cupcake comes out clean and the tops of the cakes spring back to the touch. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting. The cupcakes can be made 1 day ahead and stored, cooled, in an airtight container at room temperature.

Before frosting, scoop out small wells in the centers of the cupcakes, I used a melon baller for this task, leaving about a 1/2 inch rim around all sides of the cupcake. You can use a pairing knife for this, as well.

For the frosting, beat together the butter, cream cheese, and goat cheese until combined. Gradually add in the confectioners sugar until combined well. The frosting should be soft, but hold it’s shape enough to pipe. If it’s too loose, add more confectioners sugar (1/4 cup at a time) until desired consistency is reached. Scoop 1/4 cup of the frosting into a small bowl and stir together with the cherry jam. Fill the wells you made in the cupcakes with the cherry jam and frosting mixture. Either pipe or, carefully spread, the remaining frosting onto the cupcakes, making sure to conceal the filling. Decorate with sugar decorations or sprinkles, if you want.

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Valentine Sprinkle Cupcakes

It’s almost Valentine’s Day! I know there are a lot of differing attitudes surrounding this holiday, but really, I don’t care…I LOVE IT.

While we should share our love on the daily, it’s not a bad idea to spread a little extra love and appreciation on this day, Cupid’s Birthday (probably). Plus, I get to bust out all the pink and red and glitter and SPRINKLES! These mini cupcakes are an unapologetic celebration of all things sweet and saccharine that is Valentine’s Day. So, share a cupcake, give a Valentine, make a date with your love or your very best pals. Basically, just let your favorites know their your fave in the form of butter and sugar and sprinkles.

PS, can we talk about how Funfetti is NOT Rainbow Party Chip? Personally, I prefer the latter but don’t really know what those little rainbow chips are, cause they are definitely not sprinkles. Have you made this distinction? If so, discuss. [recipe]

Print Recipe

Sprinkle Cupcakes

Adapted from this recipe.

Makes about 48 mini cupcakes.

1 stick (4 ounces) softened, unsalted butter

1 1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup milk

5 tablespoons sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line 2 mini muffin tins with paper liners.

In the bowl of a mixer (or in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer), beat the butter until creamy. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Mix on medium speed for 1-2 minutes until the mixture resembles a crumble topping. Add in the eggs and beat for 2 minutes until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Gradually add in the milk and vanilla until just combined. Fold in the sprinkles. Using a small cookie scoop or spoons, fill each mini cupcake cup about 3/4 full. Bake in the preheated oven, one pan at a time, for about 15 minutes or until the cupcake tops spring back to the touch. Cool on a rack completely before frosting.

Whipped Buttercream

Adapted from this recipe.

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 cup milk

pinch of salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup softened, unsalted butter

sprinkles for decoration

In a saucepan whisk together the sugar and flour, whisk in the milk until smooth, add the salt. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

Once cooled, beat the butter in a mixer (or using a hand mixer and mixing bowl) until creamy. Add the cooled flour mixture and vanilla. Beat until a smooth frosting forms (the mixture may look greasy or curdled at some point, just keep whipping it!). Spread or pipe onto baked and cooled cupcakes and decorate with additional sprinkles. [/recipe]

3 Pink Polishes for Valentine’s Day

I’m not ashamed to say that I love the color pink…a lot.*

Truthfully though, I pretty much love some shade of all the colors of the rainbow. There are so many great hues out there, and my favorites are constantly shifting. BUT! it’s almost Cupid’s Birthday and there really isn’t another time of the year when pink is more appropriate…plus, you can mix it with red, which is always a winning combo with me. Below are just 3 of my favorite pink polishes. These have been in heavy rotation the last few weeks and I know I love ’em because I keep putting them back on and just staaaaring at my nails. Keep reading for where to find them and why I love them.

This color makes me think of cherry-cream soda-fountain drinks and sweet, sweet love. It’s a bright, medium pink cream that is more on the red side. I love this color and turn to it all year, but I especially love to sport it during the weeks leading up to Valentine’s day. I also like the brush and the formula is pretty nice and doesn’t streak as much as a lot of cream polishes. {Venique-Brighten Your Day! (3 coats) the link has the worst photo ever and doesn’t do the color justice, fair warning}.

Oh, this color, it really does make me crazy. I’ve had it for a few years and bought it as a summer color, but have never managed to actually wear it before now. It’s a really shimmery, purple-pink magenta that kind of comes across malibu-barbie-esque most of the year. BUT! recently, I’ve been loving it. It totally fulfills all of my girly, valentine’s days demands of bright jewel tones and glitter and shimmer, PLUS it brings a nice spot of excitement and boldness in the late winter months. {ESSIE-Jamaica Me Crazy (2 coats),  I love it paired with the ESSIE color Splash of Grenadine

This fruit-punchy pink cream is another all-year fave. It was actually a gift from my good friend and fellow pink-polish aficionado, Megan. It’s a favorite for sandal-clad toes in the summer, but makes equal sense for Valentine’s Day. This color is super bright and super pink. It screams it and I love it…even if the AA bottles are awkward and the brush kind of sucks, the formula is nice and some even claim it’s a one-coater, but I always do 3 coats with creams to achieve maximum opacity. This color looks even better, almost juicy, with a super shiny, quality top coat (I like Seche Vite or Out the Door). {American Apparel-Angeline (3 coats)}**

*In the first photo, I am wearing AA-Angeline,  Venique-Brighten Your Day! on my ring and pointer fingers with AA-Meteor Shower on top, and Seche Vite top coat over everything.

**This is not a promotional post. All products were purchased by myself or (as noted above) friends.  All opinions above are my own and born from my crazy-nuts love of nail polish and home manicures.