Cupid's arrow hits the mark with these heart-shaped treats. To create the heart shape, place a small marble or a 1/2-inch ball of aluminum foil between each liner and one side of the tin (a great job for kids). This will push the paper into the batter to form the notch in the heart.
FOR CAKE: Preheat the oven to 350º. Butter and lightly flour your cake pans (see our list of pan sizes below). Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift together the dry ingredients. Mix the buttermilk, vanilla extract and butter mixture into the dry ingredients, 1/3 at a time, scraping the bowl frequently. To create the heart shape, place a small marble or a 1/2-inch ball of aluminum foil between each liner and one side of the tin (a great job for kids). This will push the paper into the batter to form the notch in the heart. Pour into the prepared pans and bake according to the times listed below, but check for doneness a few minutes early or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool, then remove the marbles or foil balls. Serves 10 to 12.
FOR BAKING: Two 8- or 9-inch rounds or squares; bake for 20 to 35 minutes. One 13-by-9-by-2-inch pan; bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Two Bundt or ring pans; bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Two 12-cup cupcake tins; bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Two 6-inch half spheres (available at cake supply stores) or two 1 1/2-quart ovenproof bowls (stainless steel or Pyrex); bake for 30 minutes. Two rimmed 12- or 14-inch pizza pans; bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Five mini loaf pans; bake for 20 to 30 minutes.
FOR FROSTING: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter until fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Makes 4 cups.
For Chocolate Frosting, substitute 1/2 to 3/4 cup of cocoa powder for an equal amount of confectioners' sugar. For, Lemon Frosting , substitute 1 teaspoon lemon extract for the vanilla extract and add the finely grated zest of 1 lemon. For Cream Cheese Frosting , substitute 4 ounces of cream cheese for 1/2 cup of butter and use lemon juice instead of milk. Beat in an additional 1 1/2 to 2 cups confectioners' sugar and omit the light corn syrup. For Strawberry Or Raspberry Frosting , add 1/4 cup seedless strawberry or raspberry jam to the basic frosting recipe. Add an additional 1/2 cup of confectioners' sugar and omit the light corn syrup.