In a trend that’s sweeping the country, the humble cupcake is making a comeback. Bakeries devoted to cupcakes have sprung up from New York to Los Angeles. Why are these little cakes so popular? Because of their small size you can finish a cupcake without too much guilt, and honestly, a nicely frosted, decorated cupcake is darn cute--all of which makes cupcakes the perfect sweet for Valentine’s Day. And while you could head to the cupcake shop, these delectable goodies are easy to make at home in about 30 minutes.

Chocolate, Vanilla or Decadent Red Velvet: Just Add Sprinkles

To make yummy Valentine’s Day cupcakes, start with basic vanilla and chocolate cake batters and a simple vanilla frosting. Or, in keeping with the holiday, make Red Velvet cupcakes; they’re red all the way through! Then you can get creative. Tint the frosting pink with a drop of food coloring. Use pink, red, and white sugar sprinkles, and other cookie decorations to embellish your finished products. Heart-shaped candies are also great on Valentine’s Day cupcakes. Or, take a heart-shaped cookie cutter, set it on the center of a frosted cupcake, and using the cookie cutter as a pattern, sprinkle red sprinkles inside the heart. When you remove the cookie cutter, your cupcake will be wearing a heart!

Try these easy-to-bake and tasty cupcake recipes to get you started.

Basic Vanilla Cupcakes

What You Need:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs

What You Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. There are many novelty liners in Valentine’s colors and hearts in grocery and drug stores right now!
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add shortening, milk, and vanilla. Beat for 1 minute.
  4. Add eggs to the mixture. Beat for 1 minute.
  5. Scrape sides of bowl. Beat again for about 90 seconds until well mixed.
  6. Spoon the cupcake batter into paper liners until about halfway full.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Cool for 5 minutes, then remove and place on wire racks to cool completely.
  9. Once cupcakes are completely cooled, frost and decorate as you desire.

Yummy Chocolate Cupcakes

What You Need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 ounces melted unsweetened baking chocolate

What You Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
  2. Combine all ingredients into large bowl.
  3. Mix for 30 seconds, and scrape bowl. Mix at higher speed for 3 minutes.
  4. Fill liners halfway full of batter. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. Cool 10 minutes then remove from pan, and place on wire racks to cool completely.
  6. Frost cupcakes when completely cool.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

What You Need:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 sticks of butter at room temperature
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon red food coloring

What You Need:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt and sift dry ingredients together three times.
  3. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg.
  4. Add 1/4 of dry ingredients to creamed mixture, then approximately 1/4 of buttermilk, alternating until mixed well. Mix in vanilla and food coloring.
  5. Fill lined cupcake pans 1/2 full of batter.
  6. Bake approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool cupcakes in pans for 5 to 10 minutes then remove from pans.  Cool completely on wire racks before frosting.

Confections’ Sugar Frosting

With just milk, sugar and vanilla, confectioners' sugar frosting is easy to make and cupcakes look oh-so- tempting it drizzled over the top of your red cupcakes!

What You Need:

  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners' (powdered) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

What You Do:

  1. Stir milk into powdered sugar.
  2. Add vanilla.
  3. Drizzle on cooled cupcakes.
  4. You can thicken the frosting with confectioners' sugar or thin it with milk. Use food coloring to tint.