To Make the Cupcakes1. Bake: Make cupcakes using your favorite boxed chocolate cake mix, or follow the recipe for Easy Chocolate Party Cake.
2. Frost: To give the buttercream frosting (recipe below) a satiny pink hue, use Ateco's Spectrum gel food colors. Blend 3 drops of Deep Pink with 4 drops of Chocolate Brown, then mix into the frosting 1 drop at a time until the desired color is achieved. For picture-perfect peaks, spoon a dollop of buttercream on each cupcake, then smooth it out to the edge. Add a dollop more, then with a demitasse spoon or a small offset spatula swirl the frosting to create a fluff peak on top of the cupcake.
3. Decorate: Accent each cupcake with a vintage-inspired paper-and-wire topper, like the one seen here, designed by craft artist Melissa Neufeld.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe
Continuously whisk 1/2 cup egg whites and 1 cup sugar in a large, heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water until the mixture is frothy, thick, and very hot to the touch (about 160 degrees F). Remove from heat and beat with a mixer on high speed. The mixture should then become cool and glossy and triple in volume. Beat in 2 cups cold unsalted butter (4 sticks), cut into 1/2 inch cubes, a few pieces at a time. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat until fluffy. Makes 3 cups.
To Make the Handle for Cupcakes
1. Cut a length of silver glitter pipe cleaner that is long enough to tuck in each side of the cupcake to create a handle.
2. Thread 3 glass beads—you can choose any bead you like or use vintage mercury glass beads, such as the ones we featured—to center of pipe cleaner.
3. Print “Valentine” onto paper, cut out, and attach to side of pipe cleaner.
4. Attach handle to cupcake by tucking both ends into cupcake.