Have Another, Cupcake

Get your Valentine's Day sweets right -- in just a few bites.

When in doubt, don't bake your own cupcakes.

We pass on the advice in earnest because we've tried and failed when it counted the most.

Heartfelt intention has absolutely nothing to do with successful baking. So if that's all you have -- and be honest with yourself -- know that Dallas-Fort Worth has no shortage of precious, petite cupcakes for your valentine, and all you have to do is keep them straight in the box.

In a rush?
Even the pickiest guy or gal will enjoy Sprinkles' XOX Box, with its treasure of rich classics like dark chocolate alongside southern red velvet cakelets with spicy cream cheese frosting. The Sprinkles look is clean and modern -- only the aforementioned Xs and Os and a tiny heart or two will grace the icing. There's a dozen in the box to share, available until Feb. 15 at the shop at 4020 Villanova Drive in Preston Center.

Want the complete experience? It sounds like a dream, but Tart Pastry Boutique and Studio really does have a cupcake bar. You choose the cupcake flavor (lemon!) and icing base (sweet cream!), and then pick from toppings like KitKat bits and marshmallows. The hefty Valentine's menu includes Chocolate Covered Cherry and Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes, with conversation hearts and other lovey-dovey doo-dads to go on top. Two locations at which to belly up: 5129 W. Lovers Lane, #B, and 7140 Bishop Road F5 at the Shops at Legacy in Plano.

Still hungry for homemade? Fort Worth's Cupcake Cottage probably does it better, anyway. The shop makes its daily menu from preorders; customers choose from a long list of quaint flavors to order in advance and once five have amassed, a day's menu is set. Today Amaretto and Pink Lemonade are among the flavors on the list, and tomorrow, Confetti and Peanut Butter Cup will be iced with buttercream frosting and dressed up with sprinkles for Valentine's Day. Find the Cottage at 5015 El Campo Avenue.

Lyndsay Knecht Milne is the copy editor with the desk closest to the treat ledge at the Denton Record-Chronicle. She shares solutions for struggling short-order cooks at Sugar Burns.

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