So whether it’s Valentine’s Day or not, these cupcakes would be super fun to make any time of year for a loved one. I actually learned this cupcake technique from a Craftsy class I enrolled in. If you are unfamiliar with Craftsy, it’s a online website where you can take all sorts of crafty classes. From quilting, to art, to cake decorating, you name it- they got it. If you decide to sign up for a class, I would love it if you would use this link to do so. Yes, it’s an affiliate link and I make a small commission, but it costs you nothing extra! I love their classes, and wouldn’t recommend them otherwise.
The class I signed up for is Surprise Inside Cakes. In this class, you learn how to make these showstopping desserts that when you cut into them, there is some sort of neat surprise- like these Heart Inside Cupcakes I created for you today!
Now in the class, the instructor, from I Am Baker (love her site!) shows you how to make a Heart Inside Cake. I decided to switch things up and take those lessons and make cupcakes instead! I’ll walk you through how to make these cupcakes step by step. Trust me, you can do it. I promise 🙂
For these cupcakes, I used some leftover red velvet cake that I had in the freezer and my go to vanilla cupcakes and buttercream frosting. Now you don’t have to do this all from scratch, but as always I’m a huge proponent of from scratch baking. This is a great recipe to make when you have some leftover cake or cupcakes lying around! I used red velvet because of course I wanted a red heart in the center for the holiday of course!
To make these first you need to make the red hearts. You want to start by crumbling up the cake or cupcakes. I did this simply by hand. If you have ever made cake truffles or cake pops, the technique is fairly the same. After you have crumbled up the red velvet cake, you need to add a binder (aka some frosting). Start with a 1/4 cup of frosting and then work that into the crumbs.
You want the texture of basically play-doh . Here is not the best photo of how the cake should hold together, but it gives you a good idea of what you are looking for. To know whether or not, your cake is good to go simply take a small amount and roll it into a log in your hands. The cake should hold together and not crumble or crack too much. If it does, simply add a bit more frosting.
Once you have achieved the perfect consistency, you want to take that mixture and on some parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, roll it out. I rolled mine about to about a 1/4-inch thick.
Then with a small heart cookie cutter, I cut out my hearts. I used two hearts per cupcake. So depending on the cupcake recipe you use, you want to make sure you have enough for the entire batch. I experimented with using one per cupcake, but found cutting into them to see the heart was kind of pointless. So be sure to make two hearts per cupcake.
I simply placed these in my square baking dish and kept in the refrigerator until I was ready to use them.
Now, next you need to make your vanilla cupcake batter. To assemble these heart cupcakes, I found it easier to put my vanilla batter into a piping bag. You don’t need a pastry tip, just cut the bottom off. Then pipe enough batter just to cover the bottoms of your liners. This little bit of batter gives the hearts something to help them stand up in.
Then place two hearts, right next to each other inside each well.
Then pipe the vanilla batter in and around the hearts, and enough to cover them up.
Go ahead and bake these cupcakes as you normally would. I found my baking time increased for about a couple minutes. Just be sure to set your timer about 5 minute early and check on them. You do not want to see any liquid batter still on top.
Be sure to remove these from the pans and cool on a cooling rack to prevent them from further baking (or carryover cooking). Once they have officially cooled, it’s time for the frosting!
I used my favorite buttercream frosting for these, but any frosting will do! If you need a little help on frosting the perfect cupcake, then you can watch this video!
Of course the fun part comes when you cut into these!
How fun is that?
Listed below are affiliate links that will re-direct you to Amazon. If you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission, that costs you nothing extra! I only recommend products I own and love.
To Make These Cupcakes You Will Need:
- Cupcake Pans (you want two!)
- Cooling Racks
- Piping/Pastry Bags
- Heart Cookie Cutters
- Fondant Rolling Pin
- Ateco Tip #847
- Stand Mixer
- Dry Measuring Cups and spoons
I hope you love these cupcakes as much as I do! I included the recipes for my vanilla cupcakes, my red velvet cupcakes (but you can use whatever red velvet cake/cupcakes you have leftover, or even use a boxed mix), and my favorite buttercream frosting (that I tinted pink).
Surprise Heart Inside Cupcakes
For the vanilla cupcakes
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 16 tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 5 large eggs at room temperature
- 1¼ cups buttermilk at room temperature
- 2 tbsp. vanilla extract
For the red velvet cupcakes
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 large eggs
- 3/4 cups vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 tbsp. 1/2 oz. liquid red food coloring
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. distilled white vinegar
For the pink buttercream frosting
- 5 sticks unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 4 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- pink food coloring optional
1. First make the red velvet hearts. You can use any leftover red velvet cake or cupcakes that you may have. If you make fresh cupcakes for this, be sure to allow them to cool completely. To make my red velvet cupcakes
2. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar. Beat on medium speed until well blended. Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
3.Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Let cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Once the cupcakes have cooled, crumble the cupcakes into a medium-sized bowl with your hands. Add 1/4 cup of buttercream frosting. Mix with your hands. You want the consistency of play-doh. Add more frosting if you need to.
5. Roll out the mixture onto a silicone baking mat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet to about a 1/4-inch thickness. Using a small heart cookie cutter, cut out the hearts for the center. Each cupcake needs two hearts. Place them on a plate or in a baking dish and store in your refrigerator until ready to use.
To make the vanilla cupcake batter
1.Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. Set aside.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together and set aside.
3.Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.
4.Add the sugar to the butter mixture, ¼ cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Mix in the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Combine the buttermilk and the vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.
To assemble the cupcakes
1.Place the batter into a piping bag and snip the end off. Pipe a small amount of batter into the bottoms of your liners, just enough to cover the bottom.
2. Place two hearts side by side inside each cupcake well. Cover with more cupcake batter.
3. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 18-22 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a cooling rack.
To make the vanilla buttercream frosting: Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add in your powdered sugar 1/2 cup at at time with mixer on low. Cream until combined. With mixer off, add your heavy cream and vanilla extract and then mix on low until combined. Then mix on medium to medium high speed for 8 minutes until light and fluffy. Add pink food coloring until you achieve the desired color. Use right away on cooled cupcakes.
Get My Buttercream Cheatsheet!
Join the community to get the tips, tricks, and simple from scratch recipes so you can start baking delicious desserts today. PLUS I will send you my Buttercream Cheatsheet with 13 ways to flavor your buttercream!