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So… I made red velvet cupcakes. I know, it’s not Valentines but really, do we need an excuse to enjoy these little morsels of chocolatey cream cheese goodness? But as if it wasn’t enough to just make them, I hid tiny chocolate chunk surprises inside them. That’s right, you heard me.

And these? They’re good. The buttermilk makes them just the right kind of soft and they’re not too sweet (which we are big fans of over here), so they’re perfect when bitten into with some tangy cream cheese frosting. I mean, I baked 12 of them yesterday and there are only 4 little ones in the fridge this morning (this coming from a family that usually take a week to polish off 12 cupcakes). Now that’s saying something.

Here’s the recipe! 

Red Velvet Cupcakes
(makes 12 cupcakes)

What You’ll Need:
For cupcakes:
1 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Red food colouring, gel
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks

For frosting:
1/4 cup butter, softened but still cool
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1- 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Sprinkling of lemon juice (optional)

What to Do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175C). Line a 12 cup muffin tray with cupcake liners.

Sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat oil and sugar together. Add the egg and vanilla; beat well for about a minute. Add the cocoa powder, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go. Next, add the red food colouring little by little until desired colour is reached.

Mix 1/3 of the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture; beat well. Next, add 1/2 of the buttermilk and mix well. Repeat; adding and mixing in the next third of flour, then the buttermilk, ending with the last third of the flour. Beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.

In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda (it fizzes!). Add vinegar mixture to the batter and stir well to combine. Using a spoon or ice cream scoop, fill liners half full with cake batter. Place 1 or two chocolate chunks at the center of each cupcake. Top the cupcakes off until the liner is around 3/4 full. Bake for approximately 17-20 minutes or until an inserted wooden toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs attached.

In the meantime, make your frosting by combining butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat until soft and fluffy. Next, add the vanilla essence and mix well. Then, add the powdered sugar and mix until desired consistency and sweetness is achieved (the more sugar you add, the stiffer and sweeter the frosting will be). Try adding 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar first, then slowly add more bit by bit until you get the frosting you like. If you like, sprinkle a little lemon juice into the mixture and mix (I like how this brings out the tangy cream cheese flavour).

Remove the cupcakes from tray and allow the cupcakes to cool completely on wire rack. Frost cupcakes with cream cheese icing and enjoy!