Valentine's Day is coming faster than I thought! This is one of my favorite times of year (other than Christmas!) where I can have fun decorating and creating unique cupcakes and cakes.

Over that past few years I've experimented with quite a few cupcake recipes. Some have been a success, and some not quite so much. So in this weeks newletter I'm sending you some of my favorite Valentine's Day Recipes and some delicious frostings too!

Of course... Red Velvet!

Recipe: 2 ½ cups of flower, ½ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, ½ teaspoon of salt, 1 cup of softened butter, 2 cups of sugar, 4 eggs, 1 cup of sour cream, ½ cup of milk, 2 teaspoons of vanilla and red food coloring.

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food coloring, and vanilla. I would only add a few drops of red food coloring, just enough to get a nice red color in the batter. Then gradually mix in the flower until just blended, don’t over mix. Spoon batter into muffin paper-lined muffin cups about ¾ full. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe: 1 8 ounce package of cream cheese, ¼ softened butter, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 16 oz of confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar). Directions : Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar. Spread over top of cooled cupcakes and serve! I like to garnish mine with shaved chocolate.

Black Forest Cupcakes

You will need: 1 pkg chocolate cake mix, 1pkg. (8 oz.) Cream Cheese softened, 1egg, 2 Tablespoons of sugar, 1can (20 oz.) cherry pie filling, divided 1-1/2 cups thawed cool whipped topping.

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cake batter as directed on package and set aside. Mix cream cheese, egg and sugar until blended well and creamy. Remove 3/4 cup of the pie filling to put on top of your cupcakes and set aside. Spoon 2 Tbsp. of the cake batter into each of 24 paper-lined medium muffin cups. Top each with 1 Tbsp. each of the cream cheese mixture and remaining pie filling. Cover evenly with remaining cake batter. Bake 20 to 25 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool 5 min.; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Top cupcakes with whipped topping and remaining pie filling just before serving. They’re delicious!

Cinnamon Marshmallow Frosting

Recipe *1/4 cup of water *2 egg whites *1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar *1 teaspoon of vanilla extract *1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon * Pinch of salt

Directions: Bring 2 inches of water to a simmer in the bottom of a double boiler. If you don't have a double boiler you can fill a large pot with 1 to 2 inches of water and place it over low to medium heat until the water begins to simmer. Use a Pyrex or stainless steel bowl as your upper saucepan and place it on top of your pot, making sure your bowl does not touch the simmering water.

Combine 1 cup of brown sugar and 1/4 cup of water in the top of the double boiler (or bowl). Heat over the simmering water, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Add egg whites, cream of tartar and pinch of salt. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until the mixture is glossy and thick. Remove the top pan from the heat and continue beating for 1 minute to cool. Add vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and beat on low so mixture is combined. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes or cake and sprinkle with cinnamon. Enjoy!

Strawberry Marshmallow Frosting

Recipe: 2 cups of white sugar, 2/3 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup, 4 eggs whites and 1 package of strawberry flavored gelatin, red food coloring if desired.

Directions: Have 4 egg whites sitting in a small glass bowl within reach and ready to use. In a small saucepan stir together sugar, water and corn syrup. Bring to a boil and cook to 240 degrees F, or use the water test by dropping a small amount of mixture into a cold cup of water and it should turn into tiny strands. Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in your strawberry gelatin. Set aside. Whip egg whites in the small glass bowl until soft peaks form. Slowly pour the sugar mixture into the egg whites while continuing to whip until stiff glossy peaks. Cover cupcakes as desired!