15 cute and easy Valentine’s Day desserts inspired by Pinterest

Sweeten February 14th this year with these delicious, romantic and plain-old-pretty Valentine’s Day desserts from Pinterest. Whether you and your Valentine are looking for something chocolaty, a delectable cheesecake or crunchy Rice Krispies treats, there’s an indulgence for every sweet tooth.

1. Fudgy brownie hearts with fresh raspberry buttercream

2. White chocolate raspberry cheesecake

This impressive twist on a classic cheesecake recipe calls for some unusual equipment (a syringe!) but it’s actually surprisingly simple to make.

3. Valentine’s popcorn (white chocolate popcorn)

Gimme some oven

Does your Valentine love popcorn? Then he or she will love this amazing white chocolate popcorn with sugary hearts and pastel sprinkles. Best of all, it takes 10 minutes to prep.

4. Chocolate Valentine’s heart cupcakes

Glorious treats

Chocolate cupcakes are a classic dessert, so why not dress them up with some heart shaped toppers for Valentine’s Day? See the pin here.

5. Valentine’s dipped Rice Krispies treats

Cooking on the side

Blogger Kathy Strahs’ adorable and easy Valentine’s Day treat was inspired by a pricey version she spotted in a gourmet food catalog — her take is much cheaper and just as cute. See the pin here.

6. Valentine mini baked doughnuts

Dessert for breakfast on Valentine’s Day? We think so! Add some glaze and pink sprinkles to these baked doughnuts and you have yourself a delicious treat. See the pin here.

7. Red velvet strawberry shortcake

This cake not only looks amazing, but it is so easy to make. Heaps of fluffy whipped cream and fresh strawberries are layered with red velvet cake and white cake — both cakes are made from boxed mixes, so prep is a snap. See the pin here.

8. Chocolate covered strawberry cupcakes

Lauren Kapeluck for TheCakeBlog.com

These pretty chocolate cupcakes with strawberry-cream cheese frosting take their inspiration from a classic Valentine’s Day dessert — chocolate-covered strawberries. See the pin here.

9. Conversation heart brownies

Gimme some oven

Brownies are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, so why not add some Valentine’s Day sparkle to them? See the pin here.

10. Valentine’s petits fours

I am baker

You don’t have to be a professional to make something that looks chef-made. Amanda from the blog I Am Baker has a simple tutorial to make these beautifully executed petit fours. See the pin here.

11. Loaded soft and chewy M&M cookie pie

Averie cooks

Buttery cookie dough and loads of pastel M&Ms make this dessert so hard to resist. It takes only 30 minutes from start to finish and is a guaranteed pleaser for someone with a serious sweet tooth. See the pin here.

12. Peek-a-boo pound cake

Very culinary

What’s better than slicing into your pound cake and finding a heart-shaped surprise? This is the cutest Valentine’s Day dessert we could find on Pinterest, and it is so easy to make, thanks to baking shortcuts like store-bought pound cake mix. See the pin here.

13. Valentine’s heart s’mores

Carrie Sellman for TheCakeBlog.com

This idea is perfect for those last-minute planners looking for something clever in a pinch. Three ingredients and 10 minutes are all you need to make these adorable heart shaped s’mores. See the pin here.

14. Red velvet cake balls

Brunch time baker

You can’t go wrong with red velvet on Valentine’s Day, and these bite-sized treats are the perfect option for the loved ones in your life. See the pin here.

15. Red velvet sugar cookie bars with cream cheese frosting

The recipe critic

Moist red velvet cookies topped with delicious, creamy frosting makes for a Valentine’s Day treat that you will want to make year after year.

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Ready for Valentine’s Day? Here’s what 100 calories looks like in candy

Candy is as plentiful as kisses on Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, all that sugar and fat can also mess with your diet and New Year’s resolutions to lose weight (remember those?)

To stay on track during this onslaught of sweets, you can indulge a bit, but in a calorie-controlled way and by choosing your portion size wisely, experts say. Aim for a serving that has 50-100 calories and satisfies, while helping you avoid grabbing a giant candy bar, TODAY Health and Nutrition editor Madelyn Fernstrom advises.

Let’s just say you won’t be making many return trips to the box of chocolate bonbons:

Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports created this guide to illustrate what 100 calories of Valentine’s candy looks like.

Remember, indulging a bit in chocolate isn’t all bad news since research indicates it can have positive health effects on your brain, heart and mood.

But if you need more help to keep your candy intake in check, try taking a 15-minute walk when a craving hits. One study found this single step decreased people’s urge to eat sugary snacks.

Or you could simply use mindful distraction, experts say. Call a friend and talk for a few minutes, or do some stretching — anything to break the immediacy of acting impulsively on your chocolate craving in an uncontrolled way.

Single on Valentine’s Day? 11 recipes to cook with friends

Ah, Valentine’s Day: a single person’s worst nightmare. But does it have to be? Really, does it need to be a night of sitting in sweats on the couch, stuffing your face with whatever’s in your fridge?

No, it should be a celebration of singledom. And the best way to celebrate is to eat.

By no means are we suggesting you go out to dinner on Valentine’s Day. Between all the prix fixe menus and couples canoodling over candlelight, it’s guaranteed to be a bust.

Instead, we’re suggesting rounding up all your fellow single friends and making the feast of a lifetime. All of your favorite comfort foods — from the sauciest, cheesiest pasta to the juiciest, tenderest steak. Call it a Galentine’s Day or a Palentine’s Day. Call it whatever you want. It’s your day.

(2 rated)
SERVINGS:

12

Get the recipe

Ina Garten says of her perfect hors d’oeuvres, “OMG. It may be the best thing I’ve ever made! Whenever I serve it on a cheese board, my guests always insist on taking the leftovers home!”

Cranberry Lemon Drop Martini

Cranberry Lemon Drop Martini

(2 rated)

Get the recipe

Sprinkle a few of these pretty red berries on top of this refreshing drink to infuse it with Valentine’s Day spirit.

This may be the most elegant and flavorful salad ever. Marcona almonds from Spain add the crucial crunch while the full-flavored citrus vinaigrette ties it all together.

Perfect Pasta Pomodoro

Scott Conant's pasta pomodoro recipe

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

(5 rated)

Get the recipe

Chef Scott Conant’s pasta pomodoro may be simple, but it’s like heaven in your mouth. It’s a sensory experience that you’ll never forget.

Cacio e Pepe

Carlo Mirarchi, the chef at Roberta's in Brooklyn, makes classic cacio e pepe

(8 rated)
SERVINGS:

1

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Speaking of simple, nothing beats a heaping plate of classic cacio e pepe, which only has three ingredients. It’s basically a grown-up mac ‘n’ cheese.

(3 rated)
SERVINGS:

4

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Imagine going to a steakhouse on Valentine’s Day? Just no. Using chef Ed Brown’s technique and high-quality beef, you can roast a sirloin to steakhouse perfection in your very own oven.

RELATED: How to grill a steak: 15 tips from grilling guru Tim Love

(3 rated)
SERVINGS:

6 to 8

Get the recipe

How could velvety, buttery mashed potatoes get any better? Oh, yeah: goat cheese. Duh.

Oven-Roasted Chicken Thighs with Onion and Garlic

Nancy Silverton's Oven-roasted chicken and balsamic-glazed mushrooms

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

(38 rated)
SERVINGS:

6 to 8

Get the recipe

Because if you were out on a date on Valentine’s Day, you wouldn’t be able to eat this much garlic. That’s why.

Salted Caramel Flan Cheesecake

Salted Caramel Flan Cheesecake with sea salt

Petr Bednarik / Eli’s Chicago

(2 rated)
SERVINGS:

12

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This is sweet, salty, creamy and crunchy decadence at its finest.

Sweet Ricotta Fritters

Tony Alberti's Sweet Ricotta Fritters

Nathan R. Congleton / TODAY

(2 rated)

Get the recipe

These ricotta balls are especially delicious with Nutella, ice cream or crème fraiche. Feel free to get messy with it since, you know, you’re not in public.

RELATED: You should probably try red wine hot chocolate because it’s delicious

Tiramisu Cake

Alejandra Ramos' tiramisu and peach upside down cake

Nathan R. Congleton / TODAY

(5 rated)

Get the recipe

Turn a simple box mix into an elegant tiramisu-inspired cake with hints of espresso, chocolate, and rum. This dessert will take the cake (pardon the pun).

 

Dealing with acne? Add these 6 foods to your diet

woman-acne-pimple-stock-today-170209-tease_d1cf2f86ea4c288c1df087bde88528fa.today-front-large.jpg

 

Fighting pounds is one thing, but fighting acne can be a whole other battle. But this is a war a healthy diet can help with. So skip the sugary treats and trans fat snacks as your first defense, then load up on these acne-fighting foods.

1. Brazil nuts

This acne-fighting food is loaded with selenium and just one or two nuts fulfills your need for the entire day. Selenium is super important when it comes to your skin health because this mineral acts as an antioxidant, helping to decrease inflammation, known to cause acne. Help clear your skin by adding these nuts as an on-the-go snack or crush them and use as a topping for your oatmeal.

Does dirty skin give you acne?

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RELATED: 5 Brazilian ingredients to try today

2. Carrots

Loaded with vitamin A and beta-carotene (a carotenoid that gives them their well-known orange glow), eating these veggies can help reduce acne and prevent blemishes by reducing inflammation and encouraging cell turnover (natural exfoliation). It also helps strengthen your skin’s defense against the bacteria that can cause unwanted flare ups.

Research has found low levels of vitamin A were associated with a higher severity of acne. The carotenoids are also helpful in protecting the skin from free radical damage from the sun. Carrots serve as the perfect crunchy snack to dip in hummus, or mix them with squash into the perfect warming soup.

Carrot Cauliflower Soup

Hilaria Baldwin

Courtesy of Hilaria Baldwin

3. Pumpkin seeds

These oval-shaped seeds are rich in phytonutrients, phytosterols and minerals including manganese, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Zinc in particular has strong antioxidant powers and also has been shown to reduce the production of sebum, known to be a root cause of acne. Use these little pepitas to top a salad, or bake them into these healthy muffins for an ideal start to your morning.

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4. Green tea

This is a go-to for hydration and should be added to everyone’s routine as a healthy dose of acne-fighting antioxidants. Dehydration can cause swelling and puffy skin, and a slowed response to acne medication or skin treatments.

RELATED: 10 health benefits of drinking green tea

Proper hydration improves cell turnover, meaning you have more healthy new cells to improve your complexion. Green and black teas (unsweetened) will help you reduce inflammation. Sip on a mug of warm tea, or marinate white fish with tea to give it an antioxidant boost.

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5. Salmon

This fish is loaded with omega-3s, essential fatty acids that play a role in fighting inflammation and making your skin glow. They also help with weight maintenance and contribute to good mental health.

Grilled Salmon with Avocado Butter

Katie Couric's favorite healthy recipes: Grilled salmon and cauliflower risotto

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

COOK TIME:

10 minutes

PREP TIME:

20 minutes

SERVINGS:

4

Get the recipe

Research has actually shown communities with diets high in omega-3s have reduced rates of acne. Grill a filet for a quick yet impressive main course, or even add smoked salmon to your morning avocado toast.

6. Tomatoes

Loaded with vitamin C and bioflavonoids, tomatoes are good for your immune system and also are amazing for your skin, because of these nutrients’ powerful antioxidant properties.

“There’s nothing sweeter than making someone you care about a Valentine’s Day cake perfectly suited to his or her taste,”

tdy-layer-cake-160209_cb506707d8ab284c57ff4d8dbd76d062-today-front-large


Ingredients

  • VANILLA CAKE (MAKES 1 QUARTER SHEET PAN)

    • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
    • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
    • 3 eggs
    • 1/2 cup buttermilk
    • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 1½ cups cake flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • Nonstick cooking spray
  • CHOCOLATE CAKE (MAKES 1 QUARTER SHEET PAN)

    • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
    • 1½ cups sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 1/2 cup buttermilk
    • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3 tablespoons fudge sauce
    • 1¼ cups cake flour
    • 1/4 cup cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona
    • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
    • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
    • Nonstick cooking spray
  • BIRTHDAY CAKE CRUMB (MAKES ABOUT 2¼ CUPS)

    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1½ tablespoons light brown sugar, tightly packed
    • 3/4 cup cake flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles
    • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
    • 1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
  • CHOCOLATE CRUMB (MAKES ABOUT 2½ CUPS)

    • 2/3 cup flour
    • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2/3 cup cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • MILK CRUMB (MAKES ABOUT 2¼ CUPS)

    • 1/2 cup milk powder
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
    • 1/4 cup milk powder
    • 3 ounces white chocolate, melted
  • PICKLED STRAWBERRY JAM (MAKES ABOUT 1½ CUPS)

    • 1/2 cup strawberry puree
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon pectin
    • 12 tablespoons kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon sherry wine vinegar
    • 1/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • MILK LIQUID CHEESECAKE (MAKES 1½ CUPS)

    • 8 ounces cream cheese
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 2 tablespoons milk
    • 1 egg
  • BIRTHDAY CAKE FROSTING (MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS)

    • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
    • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
    • 2 ounces cream cheese
    • 1 tablespoon glucose
    • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
    • 1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
    • 1¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 pinch baking powder
    • 1 pinch citric acid
  • PICKLED STRAWBERRY FROSTING (MAKES ABOUT 1 CUP)

    • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
    • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 pinch citric acid
    • 1/4 recipe Pickled Strawberry Jam (above)
    • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preparation

CAKES

For the vanilla cake: 

1. Heat the oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high again for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.

3. On low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. Don’t rush the process. You’re basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for the liquid. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. On very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. If you see any lumps of cake flour in there while you’re scraping, mix for another 45 seconds.

5. Coat a quarter sheet pan with nonstick spray and line it with parchment, or just line the pan with a silicone nonstick mat. Using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. Give the bottom of your sheet pan a tap on the countertop to even out the layer.

6. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes. The cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. At 30 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger: the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. Leave the cake in the oven for an extra 3 to 5 minutes if it doesn’t pass these tests.

7. Take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack or, in a pinch, in the fridge or freezer (don’t worry, it’s not cheating). The cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

For the chocolate cake: 

1. Heat the oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.

3. On low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. There should be no streaks of fat or liquid. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. Add the fudge sauce and mix on low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. With a spatula, stir the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. On very low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix on low speed for another 45 seconds to ensure that any little lumps of cocoa powder and cake flour are incorporated.

6. Pam-spray a quarter sheet pan and line it with parchment, or just line the pan with a nonstick silicone mat. Using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. The cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. At 30 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger: the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. Leave the cake in the oven for an extra 3 to 5 minutes if it doesn’t pass these tests.

7. Take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack or, in a pinch, in the fridge or freezer (don’t worry, it’s not cheating). The cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

CRUMBS

For the birthday cake crumb: 

1. Heat the oven to 300°F.

2. Combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until well combined.

3. Add the oil and vanilla and paddle again to distribute. The wet ingredients will act as glue to help the dry ingredients form small clusters; continue paddling until that happens.

4. Let the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe or scarfing by the handful. Stored in an airtight container, the crumbs will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.

For the chocolate crumb: 

1. Heat the oven to 300°F.

2. Combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on low speed until mixed.

3. Add the butter and paddle on low speed until the mixture starts to come together in small clusters.

4. Spread the clusters on a parchment or nonstick silicone baking mat lined sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes, breaking them up occasionally. The crumbs should still be slightly moist to the touch at that point; they will dry and harden as they cool.

5. Let the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe or eating. Stored in an airtight container, they will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.

For the milk crumb: 

1. Heat the oven to 250°F.

2. Combine the 1/2 cup milk powder, the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Toss with your hands to mix. Add the melted butter and toss, using a spatula, until the mixture starts to come together and form small clusters.

3. Spread the clusters on a parchment or nonstick baking mat-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes. The crumbs should be sandy at that point, and your kitchen should smell like buttery heaven. Cool the crumbs completely.

4. Crumble any milk crumb clusters that are larger than 1/2-inch in diameter, and put the crumbs in a medium bowl. Add the 1/4 cup milk powder and toss together until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

5. Pour the white chocolate over the crumbs and toss until your clusters are enrobed. Then continue tossing them every 5 minutes until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky. The crumbs will keep in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 1 month.

FILLINGS

For the pickled strawberry jam: 

1. Whisk together the sugar, pectin, and salt in a medium pot or saucepan. Slowly whisk in the strawberry puree, sherry wine vinegar, and white wine vinegar and bring to a full, rolling boil. Reduce the heat and cook at a low boil for 2 minutes to activate the pectin and turn the puree into a beautiful jam.

2. Once the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove the jam from the heat. The jam can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

For the milk liquid cheesecake: 

1. Heat the oven to 300°F.

2. Put the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. add the sugar and mix for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar has been completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. Whisk together the cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream, then whisk in the egg until the slurry is homogenous.

4. With the mixer on medium-low speed, stream in the egg slurry. paddle for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and loose. scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. Line the bottom and sides of a 6 x 6-inch baking pan with plastic wrap. pour the cheesecake batter into the pan, put the pan in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes. Gently shake the pan. The cheesecake should be firmer and more set toward the outer boundaries of the baking pan but still be jiggly and loose in the dead center. if the cheesecake is jiggly all over, give it 5 minutes more. If the cheesecake rises more than a 1/4-inch or begins to brown, take it out of the oven immediately.

6. Cool the cheesecake completely, to finish the baking process and allow the cheesecake to set. The final product will resemble a cheesecake, but it will be pipeable and pliable enough to easily spread or smear, while still having body and volume. Once cool, the cheesecake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

FROSTINGS

For the birthday cake frosting: 

1. Combine the butter, shortening, and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

2. With the mixer on its lowest speed, stream in the glucose, corn syrup, and vanilla. Crank the mixer up to medium-high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is silky smooth and a glossy white. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. Add the confectioners’ sugar, salt, baking powder, and citric acid and mix on low speed just to incorporate them into the batter. Crank the speed back up to medium-high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until you have a brilliant stark white, beautifully smooth frosting. It should look just like it came out of a plastic tub at the grocery store! Use the frosting immediately, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

For the pickled strawberry frosting:

1. Combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow.

2. Meanwhile, whisk together the citric acid, pickled strawberry jam, and kosher salt.

3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. On low speed, gradually stream in the strawberry mixture. Use Immediately.