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Happiness in Cupcake Form

Treats with a touch of spice are the perfect way to say “I love you” for Valentine’s Day. Photo Flickr/Git

Treats with a touch of spice are the perfect way to say “I love you” for Valentine’s Day. Photo Flickr/Git

Treats are my personal favorite part of Valentine's Day. It's one of the only days of the year where it's acceptable to eat tons of candy and chocolate. This year, I decided to spice up some easy-to-make cupcakes for the holiday.

Mayan Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients

1 box Devil's Food cake mix + ingredients the directions indicate

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, ground

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

24 parchment or foil cupcake liners

24 decorative cupcake liners

To frost cupcakes

1 tub cream-cheese frosting

1 tube white food coloring (it's in the bakers' aisle)

Pink and/or red sanding sugar

Valentine's Day sprinkles

Black and red gel icing

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two 12-count muffin pans with the parchment or foil cupcake liners (this keeps the batter from staining the decorative liners when baking).

Combine the cake mix with ingredients the box designates into a medium-sized bowl. Mix on low to medium speed, or combine the ingredients by hand. Don't overmix. Remember that lumps are OK. Add in the spices and mix with a spoon until they're just combined.

Fill the cupcake liners 1/4 to a little less than 1/2 of the way full. Bake them for 10-15 minutes. To tell if they're done, stick a toothpick in the middle of one or two. If the pick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done.

Let them cool. A good trick is to stick them in the fridge to help them cool quicker. You can also put them in the freezer, but don't leave them in there for too long.

Once they're completely cool, frost them using an icing spatula or butter knife. I picked a cream-cheese frosting, but this is up to you. When you're done frosting them, decorate the cupcakes with sprinkles and the gel icing. To make them more festive, write out phrases such as "Be Mine" or "XO." Make sure you practice on another surface first, though.


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