Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentines Glitter Cupcakes

Ahh Valentines day. Some love it, some hate it, Hallmark makes tons of money off of it. I could take it or leave it but its always a good excuse to make cupcakes, especially ones with lots of glitter and sparkle. Since Valentines day is really more of a girly "holiday" than a manly one I decided to go over the top girly and make some fun, glittery, royal icing toppers.  I ADORE the blog, Sweetopia, and saw her LOVE cupcakes and wanted to try her technique, but not copy exactly. Marian is a genius when it comes to royal icing, her cookies are incredible, and she so generously posts tutorials and answers all of readers questions. I, on the other hand, am NOT so great with royal icing, but I am learning.

I had a pile of lemons that I couldn't remember exactly what I was originally going to do with them so I decided on some lemon cupcakes, but I have made lemon cupcakes before so I wanted to try a new recipe. We just recently signed up for a home dairy delivery from a local farm to get fresh, local, organic, lightly pasteurized only milk and stay away from the grocery store milk ( even the organic brands are homogenized and ultra pasteurized which kills all the GOOD stuff about milk) and the price is totally comparable. So yeah we have a MILKMAN now. So cool. I feel so retro, like a 1950's housewife. So I ordered a pint of real deal cultured buttermilk and made lemon buttermilk cupcakes. And to stick with the theme of Valentine's day and because I think they go so good together, I made Strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream.

I try to cook with and bake with as many organic ingredients that I can ( just plain better for you health wise - I try to keep my pesticide consumption to a minimum) and I am telling you all right now to try it at least once, if not maybe twice, to make frosting with organic sweet cream butter. OH MH GAWD is it insanely good. You can taste the rich cream that was used to make the butter. It has amazing flavor  - not bland at all. And with the strawberries added it tasted like strawberry ice cream. Honest it did. I know that some organic products can be more expensive but this is a splurge that is TOTALLY worth it.

I found these super cute Valentine's cupcake liners on sale at Michaels and I had to get them.
I was happy they showed up with the lighter cupcake batter. So many designs and prints on cupcake liners get washed out after baking. You can also see the flecks of lemon in the cupcakes from the lemon zest.  These smelled so good.

I used my Ateco #9 or as I call it my 1A on steroids piping tip to make huge swirls. I should have flattened the top down a little more than I did for placing my royal icing decors on.

Sweetopia has the tutorial on these and recipes for royal icing. I don't really know what I did wrong but mine were not dry in 24 hours and as I was trying to slide them off the acetate paper so many broke or bent from not being dry. And I know I used way too much Disco Dust. I have it all over my house still. Its basically floating in the air with all the rest of my house dust.

The red XO's look awesome in person. They just didn't photograph well. My camera was having a hard time focusing because they were so sparkly.

Oops. My husband said to use these because a broken heart can be a part of Valentine's day for some. Ouch!  I didn't use them. He was being silly. I hope! HA HA

Pictures also don't do the lone heart justice either. I used osiana rose disco dust. I should have made the hearts a more peachy color than pink since the dust is peachy. Its so pretty. 

These are some of the few royal icing decors I manage to scrape off and not break.

This one was my favorite. Raspberry disco dust on the heart and the light pink on the circle. It showed up best in pics.

The hubby took these to work for Valentine's day. I always make his co-workers eat the cupcakes so I don't have to. But I did sample one and it was oh so worth every calorie. The lemon and strawberry combo is one of my faves for sure!

Of course I had extra frosting after I piped all the rest of the cupcakes so the hubby and I had these ones with sky high frosting. So GOOD!!!

Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes
my recipe I adapted from several other recipes

For the cupcakes you will need:
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temp.
  • 4 egg whites - room temp
  • 2 tbsp grated lemon zest ( I use a lot but it makes them so good!)
  • 1 tsp lemon oil or extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk - room tem\p
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Then you:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter until well combined. Add egg whites, one at a time, beating until well combined.  Add lemon zest and lemon oil, beating well. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, beating until smooth. Add lemon Juice, beating until just smooth.
  4. Scoop batter into pan and bake 20-25 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely.

Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream


Makes 5 cups
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 cup strawberry puree ( puree either fresh or frozen and thawed strawberries in a blender)


  1. In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine egg whites and sugar. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch (about 160 degrees). I use a candy thermometer and gauge it that way instead of sticking my finger into hot sugar egg whites. 
  2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg-white mixture on high speed until it holds stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until the mixture is fluffy and cooled, about 6 minutes.
  3. Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low speed, add butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If frosting appears to separate after all the butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.) Beat in vanilla. Beat on lowest speed to eliminate any air bubbles, about 2 minutes. Stir in strawberry puree with a rubber spatula until frosting is smooth.


  1. Very pretty!!! Love the x's and o's one!!

  2. I just stumbled across your website and I am SO impressed!!! After looking at several of your posts, I'm wondering where your buy your tips? I noticed you mentioned the brand Ateco, but I have never seen these - I can only find Wilton at Micheals. I would love to find bigger tips like these if you can offer any direction - THANKS!

  3. I use organic butter too! :) I noticed we have alot in common when it comes to ingredients. I just need to learn how to bake from scratch more!

  4. I love your blog...and even your cupcakes....hugs, from Italy, ciao Flavia

  5. Jordan - you can look for tips at Sur La Table, and there are many online sites that carry Ateco tips

  6. so pretty but Im not sure if your aware that disco dust is not edible! there are conflicting reviews on this of course but the general idea is that it is non-toxic, but not edible. its meant to be used on items that are not to be eaten. (maybe thats what you intended and if so then just ignore me. lol!) but basically its comparable to eating craft glitter or glue...ahhh! it wont kill you but is not really something you would consume in large quantities. and ive seen people cover an entire cake in this! too bad to because its results are beautiful.

  7. yup. I know its not edible. So I tell people that the decos are for looks and not eats. If they end up eating then its their responsibility for what happens