Tuesday, February 12, 2013

It's the Frosting! It's the Frosting!

I think I have supers in my family. No seriously. My husband cut off the tip of his finger with power tools...and it grew back completely...no scarring. My sister-in-law is the ultimate blue ribbon winner at county fairs. My brother-in-law had a large battery pack on his back and tripped in a river and major shocked himself and had no lasting side effects (and has even had an adorable kid since then). My father in law was struck by lightning and was fine. As a teen, my dad fell from an 80 foot cliff and landed on the only sandy spot on a rocky ledge (and then it too 3 helicopters to fly him out). Then yesterday, my father-in-law was out working (hanging out of a helicopter tranquilizing elk for counting, classifying, and studying) and was in a helicopter crash...and he walked away unharmed. It was Cameron's birthday yesterday and that was probably the best gift ever...his dad's alive and Cameron now has this awesome story that he couldn't wait to get to work to tell. 

So that has nothing to do with today's Pinstrosity...I just had to share. 

Today's Pinstrosity is another Valentines project that just didn't work out. Lizzy sent in her attempt at making heart shaped cupcakes using a normal cupcake pan and a marble. 

The Original Pin
valentines day cupcakes
This blog says you can get the above results by doing something as simple as this:

"My friend and I wanted to make some heart-shaped cupcakes for our friend and ended up with...normal cupcakes? I suppose there could be more intense pinstrosity examples, but we're really unsure about where we went wrong. Our pinstrosity could have been worse...the cupcakes were edible. Sadly, they looked like normal cupcakes (with a couple that had embedded marbles). Our goals was to make heart-shaped cupcakes for our friend's 25th birthday. We thought it was a cute idea, bought some marbles, whipped up some cupcakes, and as we were pouring in the batter started to have second-thoughts. It seemed as though our cupcakes were doomed to be misshapen mushroom creations. Then, we second-guessed how much batter should be in each wrapper. After much debate, we added more batter to each. Perhaps that was our downfall? Either way, most of the cupcakes ended up looking....cupcakey. They just had some marbles embedded in their sides."

The Pinstrosity

I think there are two keys to making this work. 

1. This one will probably work better with less of a cupcake. As a general rule of thumb, I usually only fill cupcake cups between 1/2 and 2/3 of the way full. I know it varies with recipe, oven, humidity, etc...but that's usually what I do to keep the cupcakes from mushrooming. From the pictures it looks like the start of the shape was there, but there was just more cupcake than the shape could hold. 
2. Decorating. Your cupcake isn't going to have a perfect heart shape from just the one marble at the top. The bottom of the heart will still be rounded because you are baking in a round pan. So when you pull the cupcakes out, it's going to look like a deformed heart. Decorating is the key to making these look like actual hearts. Here...I'll give you another picture from the original website and we'll take a look at what's going on:

flying valentines day cupcakes

At first glance it looks like those cupcakes have the perfect little heart shape, with the pointed bottom and the rounded tops. 

But then take a closer look...especially at the 2nd one from the top. 

There's cupcake showing through there at the bottom! 

They didn't frost the entire top of the cupcake. They use the semi-heart shape of the cupcake as the basis, but then they use the frosting to draw the eye into the actual heart shape. From there your  brain just automatically skips over the cupcake edge sticking out. 

So when you're decorating, just use the frosting to make the heart shape. You can even pull the point of the heart over the edge of the cupcake slightly to help elongate the  heart and hide the un-frosted portions of the cupcake. 

So Lizzy actually was right on target with her project, but she just didn't know it. It really is all in the frosting. 


  1. Wow. We have had some interesting (mis)adventures with the livestock here but always say that it will be worth it if we survive & have a good story to tell in the end. Guess your family has plenty of "great" stories! Just glad all is well.

  2. You certainly have an interesting family. I read the paragraph to my adult son who said..."Wow, I want to hang out of a helicopter and count elk!"

  3. What would happen if you stacked two marbles on top of each other to make the whole height of the cupcake indented? Would that work?

  4. I was planning on trying this for Valentine's day. Maybe I'll just make regular cupcakes and decorate them cute instead.

    1. Make regular cupcakes and then make some Valentine-y shapes with white chocolate. You can even tint the chocolate if you wanted. I would print some shapes, tape them to the counter, tape wax paper over it, and use the printout underneath as a guide.

  5. I tried this pin last year and it worked out pretty good. I had to use an egg-free cake recipe because of an egg allergy and those cupcakes don't rise as much so I didn't have the issue with the ballooning top. I did have to create the heart shape with the frosting, I actually used a cake decorating tool to outline the heart in a different colored frosting because it did look like a deformed heart with just the frosting. With the white frosting and red outline they looked great--but I think I could have gotten the same effect with just plain round cupcakes and some decorating skills.

  6. I tried making this as well, mine ended up looking like cat heads... They still tasted good though!


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