On A Budget

Sweetheart Cupcakes

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and you know what that means: sweets. Holiday-themed food is certainly a perk on those special days. For the upcoming Valentine’s Day, I suggest baking Sweetheart cupcakes, named for the heart in the center. While the following Devil’s Food cake recipe is good, any cake recipe will suffice. Just be sure to follow how to get the heart inside the cupcake.

I made these recently with the help of a few friends. Baking with others will not only help shorten time spent on the cupcakes, but it will provide a fun activity. Rather than regular flour, I had used wheat flour for a healthy substitute. Despite my company being unfamiliar with wheat flour, they approved of the taste. What makes the sweetheart cupcakes special is the surprise heart inside, and so you don’t have to follow this exact recipe if you prefer gluten-free, prefer a vegan option, or if you have a distaste for chocolate.

Sweetheart Cupcakes

General Supplies:

  • Cupcake liners
  • Small heart cutter

Heart Supplies:

(Kris Britanik)


  • 1 red food coloring
  • (For the rest, you could use vanilla cake mix)
  • ¾ cup of butter (softened)
  • 1 ½ cup of granulated sugar
  • ½ tablespoon of vanilla bean paste
  • ½ tsp of baking soda
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • teaspoon of salt
  • 2 ½ cups of flour
  • 1 1/3 cup of milk
  • 3 eggs

Cake Supplies:

cooking 7

(Kris Britanik)


  • (For this part, you could use a devil’s food cake mix)
  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup milk

Frosting Supplies:

cooking 1

(Kris Britanik)


  • 1 box of instant pudding
  • 1 ½ cups of whole milk
  • 1 (8 oz) tub whipped topping



First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Now beat the sugar and butter together in a large bowl until fluffy.

cooking 4

(Kris Britanik)


Beat eggs into the sugar-butter one at a time.

Next, add vanilla, soda, baking powder and salt and beat together.

Add flour and milk alternately a little at a time until well combined. Batter should be fluffy.

Add red food color to the batter to get a nice shade of pink or red.

cooking 5

(Kris Britanik)


Put the colored batter in an 8×12″ baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.

cooking 6

(Kris Britanik)


Remove from pan and allow to cool completely.

Cut out heart shapes from the pink cooled cake with a cookie cutter.

cooking 10

(Kris Britanik)


(You will have leftovers, so you can either double the recipe for the chocolate cupcakes, or I would suggest dipping the extra hearts in chocolate and let them harden for a bite-sized treat!)


(You could just use devil food cake instant mix)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a standing mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until smooth.

Increase the speed to medium-high and slowly add the sugar. Continue beating until light and smooth.

Add the cocoa powder and vanilla and beat at medium speed for 1 minute more.

With the mixer running at medium-low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition.


(Kris Britanik)


Combine the water and milk in a saucepan and bring just to a boil. Remove from the heat.

cooking 8

(Kris Britanik)


With the mixer at low speed, add the flour mixture, about a 1/4 cup at a time. Carefully pour the hot liquid into the batter.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a large rubber spatula, finish combining the batter until smooth.

Place 2 tbsp of the batter in the bottom of a cupcake liner in a cupcake pan.

Place one pink cake heart pointy side down in the center of the batter making sure to push it all the way down to the bottom.

cooking 12

(Kris Britanik)


Cover the top of the heart with about 1 tbsp of additional chocolate batter.

Bake the cupcakes at 350 F for about 20-25 minutes.

Note which way the hearts are facing, as cutting them the wrong way will result in a pink blob instead of a heart.

Let them cool.

cooking 11

(Kris Britanik)



First, pour whole packet into bowl.

Pour 1 ½ cup of whole milk into the powder and stir until well-blended.

Now stick the pudding into the fridge for 5-10 minutes.

Next, add the 8 ounces of whip and blend.

cooking 3

(Kris Britanik)


Cover the mixture and set in freezer for 10-15 minutes to firm up.

Apply atop the cupcake how you like!

cooking 13

(Kris Britanik)


If you wish, use a garnish atop the frosting to hint at which way the heart inside the cupcake is facing.

Eat and enjoy with your sweetheart.

cooking 14

(Kris Britanik)



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