Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Planning for Valentine's Party 2011


People keep looking at me shockingly when I tell them I am indeed hosting my annual Valentine's Day party this year. (So what if I go into labor while I'm serving lemon cupcakes??) I couldn't cancel this year. I couldn't because it's tradition. More importantly, I couldn't because Cookie, my darling friend and the woman who began this tradition, lost the battle with cancer in September, so I feel like it's never been more important to host a party that celebrates love.

I'll tell you a little more about Cookie on another day, but for today, here are some photos from last year's party, plus some ideas for this year's party to get your wheels spinning. (What? You weren't planning on hosting a V-day party? Hopefully I can change your mind. I think it's the best tradition of the year!)
I keep it pretty simple. No meal, just sweets.

Last year's spread included mini lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting and fresh raspberries on top. (These were the biggest hit and I am definitely serving them again this year.)

I use this Ina Garten recipe, but even if you just use a lemon cake mix, they are still amazing, thanks to the frosting:

Beat 6 T softened butter, 9 oz. softened cream cheese, and 3 tsp. lemon zest with mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar.

Next in the lineup were chocolate cupcakes with pink butter cream frosting and brownie hearts.
I've mentioned before that I'm not above cake mixes. I use a devil's food mix for these. For butter cream frosting, memorize this ratio (it makes perfect butter cream every time!): 1 stick butter to 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar to 1 T milk. (Mix the butter and sugar and then add the milk.) For 24 cupcakes, you'll want to at least double that recipe. (I triple it since I pipe on such a huge layer of frosting!)

For the brownie hearts, just bake a brownie mix, but in a large sheet pan so they're thinner. Once cooled, cut hearts out with a cookie cutter. Use toothpicks to anchor them in the cupcakes.

The final player last year were these red velvet cupcakes.
I have to say, even though I think these little cake toppers were the cutest ever, I wasn't in love with my cakes. (If anyone out there has a killer red velvet recipe, do share! I've all but given up after several failures...)

This year, in honor of our dear Cookie, I thought it only fitting that I include cookies on the menu.

So I'll be serving:
lemon mini cupcakes with raspberries
chocolate cupcakes with chocolate glaze or butter cream
sugar cookies with glaze
(this is the only sugar cookie recipe I trust and I like this one for the glaze)
chocolate chippers with milk shots

{I'll be sure to post a recap with pics!}

Happy Valentining!

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