Oh how I truly wish that the Improv Challenge reveal day could have been just a bit earlier this month, about a week earlier to be exact. How perfect would these cupcakes have been for your valentine?? Our two ingredients for Improv Challenge this month were Hearts & Flours. Kristen has such a sense of humor. I loved the pun and ran with the idea. I knew almost immediately that I would fulfill the flour requirement by making cake of some sort. When it came to the hearts, at first I thought that perhaps I’d just run out and buy some cute heart cupcake liners or perhaps buy candy heart garnishes of some sort. Then I decided to see if I could make little chocolate hearts for garnish.
Guess what? It’s ridiculously easy! In fact, you could make little chocolate embellishments for any occasion once your hear how simple it is to do so. Are you ready? Melt the chocolate, put it in a squeeze bottle or pastry bag with a small open tip then just pipe out the hearts onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and fill them with squiggly lines. That’s it! Once they had set, I just used a small offset spatula to gently ease them off the parchment paper and viola!
Now let’s talk cake, red velvet cake. Would you believe that I’ve never made red velvet cake before? I’m not sure how that is possible but I came to that realization when I was looking through the plethora of red velvet posts across the web this month. So I decided to give it a try. The result? They tasted like red velvet although the cupcakes weren’t quite as red as I had hoped. Perhaps I used more cocoa powder that I should have. Either way, the taste was fantastic.
Oh and this frosting is amazing! The small addition of cinnamon took regular ol’ cream cheese icing to a whole new level. Truth be told, I’m not the biggest fan of cream cheese frosting but now, I’m a convert. These cupcakes were a little something special dressed in red, topped with their amped up cream cheese frosting and donning their finery with the addition of a little chocolate heart atop.
One Year Ago: Mexican Hot Chocolate
Red velvet cupcakes topped with cinnamon kissed cinnamon cream cheese frosting.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons red food coloring
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
- 2 1/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until well combined.
- In a small bowl, make a paste from the cocoa powder, red food coloring and the vanilla extract. Add to the batter and mix until completely incorporated.
- With the mixer on low, add half the buttermilk and mix until well combined then add half the flour and salt and mix again. Repeat the process with the remaining buttermilk and the remaining flour and salt. Beat on high for 1 minute more to fully incorporate.
- Add the baking soda and vinegar, beat on high for another 1-2 minutes.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake liners. Bake 20-25 minutes until a tester inserted into the center of each cupcake comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack, in the pan for 10 minutes then move the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Beat the powdered sugar, butter and cinnamon with a hand mixer on high or with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until well mixed.
- Add the cream cheese and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy being careful not to over mix, about 5 minutes.
- Frost the cooled cupcakes with the cinnamon cream cheese frosting.
Adapted from Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook