When someone typically thinks of Valentine’s Day thoughts of love, adoration, and roses will float through their mind. But this year I engaged in a little self reflection over the years and came to the realization that there is one word that I have come to associate with the holiday… stress. Although it might seem counterintuitive, let me explain my reasoning to you.
In elementary school, Valentine’s Day wasn’t about love—holding hands with a boy was still considered icky. Instead it symbolized an exciting day full of cards and candy received from my fellow classmates. But, that also meant I had to sign my name in each of my cards which amounted to a whopping 30+ signatures. My mom firmly put her foot down asserting that she would simply not assist me with my signing duties. For a seven or eight year old kid, this amounted to a certain level of stress associated with Valentine’s Day.
By junior high and high school boys weren’t icky anymore, but by then there were new stresses associated with the day. There were Valentine’s Day dances and kissing booths. On top of that, roses and anonymous love notes were delivered to people in class, and your popularity was judged by the amount of flowers you were carrying around by the end of the day. Stressful yet again.
Once I finally had a boyfriend, you would think my problems would be solved. Not the case. I had no idea what to buy him for the special day. Overwhelmed by the amount of commercialism surrounding the holiday, I didn’t know if I should be getting him chocolate, a nice watch, or a booklet of love coupons as a gift. Once again, stressful.
This Valentine’s Day I’m approaching the holiday with a slightly less stressful mindset. Since Matt and I won’t be together, we’re having a phone dinner date to celebrate. No chocolate, no teddy bears, and no love coupons. This is the type of stress free Valentine’s Day I can do.
I don’t know what the holiday holds for you this year, but if you’re considering spending it with a loved one, I have the perfect idea for you. If I was going to be literal, the name of this post would have been red velvet cupcakes for four. But if you’re like me, a one-person serving for cupcakes is more likely to be two. As much as I would love to scarf down an entire heart shaped cake (and believe me I would) I wanted to find something individually tailored for two people. After doing some brainstorming and internet searching, I came up with the idea of cupcakes for two. And what better flavor for Valentine’s Day than red velvet!
The heart shaped chocolate decorations were actually inspired by a visit that I made to an Ann Arbor cupcake store. I asked the lady behind the counter how she made them, and she explained that she just used a piping bag with melted chocolate. What a simple idea for a fun garnish. So if you’re looking for a fun, easy, and NO stress dessert for Valentine’s Day, give these a try!
Red Velvet Cupcakes for Two
Adapted from Tasty Kitchen
1/3 cups and 1 tablespoon flour
1/8 teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cups canola oil
1/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 whole egg white
1 teaspoon red food coloring
1/8 teaspoons white vinegar
1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 ounces, weight cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon milk
1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Place 4 cupcake liners in a muffin tin. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. In another bowl, beat together the canola oil, sugar, buttermilk, egg white, red dye, vinegar, and vanilla using an electric mixer. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing all the while. Divide the batter between the four cupcake liners and bake for 20-22 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Beat together all icing ingredients using an electric mixer. Frost cupcakes when cool. For chocolate hearts, melt chocolate in a double boiler and transfer to a piping bag. Working quickly pipe heart shaped decorations onto a piece of waxed paper. Allow to cool completely and garnish cupcakes.
Heather’s Helpful Hints
Since this recipe only call for four cupcakes, place them on the outer edge of your muffin tin to bake. This will allow them to rise higher and more evenly.