Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting – Improv Challenge

by Kate on February 21, 2013

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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.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting 2 - Food Babbles #cupcake #chocolate

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.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting 3 - Food Babbles #cupcake #chocolate

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 with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 12

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Red velvet cupcakes topped with cinnamon kissed cinnamon cream cheese frosting.


    For Cupcakes:
  • 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
  • For Frosting:
  • 2 1/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature


    Make the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Add the baking soda and vinegar, beat on high for another 1-2 minutes.
  6. 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.
  7. Cool on a wire rack, in the pan for 10 minutes then move the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Make the frosting:
  9. 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.
  10. Add the cream cheese and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy being careful not to over mix, about 5 minutes.
  11. Assemble the cupcakes:
  12. Frost the cooled cupcakes with the cinnamon cream cheese frosting.
  13. Enjoy!


{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz February 21, 2013 at 11:00 am

Perfect Hearts and Flours Cupcakes!!! And I love your chocolate garnish…gorgeous!


Kate February 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Thank you Liz! I was originally going to purchase something as a heart garnish on top or just use heart cupcake liners for the heart part of the theme. I’m so happy I didn’t. The hearts added a nice touch and were so very easy to make!


Teri @ The Freshman Cook February 21, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Beautiful cupcakes! I love the chocolate hearts!


Kate February 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Thanks Teri!


Noel | The Kitchen Grouch February 21, 2013 at 1:15 pm

And I thought they were chocolate-coated pretzels πŸ˜‰


Kate February 21, 2013 at 1:31 pm

That would be a great idea too! They would look kind of like hearts and have that whole salty/sweet thing going on πŸ™‚ I like it!


Kristen February 21, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Those hearts on top are so pretty! What a great little cupcake.


Lesa @ Edesia's Notebook February 21, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Love these cupcakes! So cute, and the cinnamon cream cheese frosting sounds so good. I love your chocolate hearts too; can’t wait to try that myself!


Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips February 21, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Adorable, Kate!! I am shocked you hadn’t yet put your unique spin on red velvet yet!


Amber @ The Cook's Sister February 21, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Love your red velvet cupcakes! They’re the perfect for a dessert. What a great idea for the Improv Challenge! Hope you have time to stop by and check out my heart-shaped gingerbread cookies.


Melodyβ™ͺβ™« February 21, 2013 at 6:18 pm

I β™₯ Red Velvet! And you piped some chocolate hearts for toppers! Win-Win!


The Ninja Baker February 21, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Bless you for your inspirational pep talk, Kate…Thanks to you, I think I can make pretty gourmet chocolate garnishes.

Very much appreciate too your sharing your take on scrumptious red velvet and cream cheese frosting.

As you are probably aware, your cupcakes do look like they are ready for Cupcake Wars on the Food Network =)


Kate February 23, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Aww! Thanks SO much!! I’m not much of a cupcake decorator but I really tried here πŸ™‚ Cake decorating, piping frosting, etc… these are things I really want to find time to practice and get better at.


Cookaholic Wife February 21, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Wow, they look incredible! I’ve never made red velvet cake either, but I may need to remedy this ASAP since cinnamon cream cheese frosting sounds like the most delicious thing ever.


eilonwy February 21, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Oh, for cute! I see no problem with erring on the side of a little extra cocoa powder.


Cathy W February 21, 2013 at 11:34 pm

Those toppers are fantastic…what a great idea! It’s been awhile since I made red velvet cupcakes. I’m going to have to try out that cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Yum!


Karen February 22, 2013 at 12:40 am

I have a huge place in my heart for cream cheese frosting, and adding cinnamon to it sounds like another way to take it over the top! Beautiful cupcakes


Jessica@AKitchenAddiction February 22, 2013 at 9:13 am

Love the sound of the cinnamon cream cheese frosting! Those hearts are a beautiful addition!


Jamie February 22, 2013 at 11:25 am

These are beautiful (so are the photos!!)! I love them, love the topping – fullfy white frosting and the chocolate hearts. And I love a good chocolate cake (well, that’s a red velvet cake at heart, right?)…. too perfect!


Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet February 22, 2013 at 11:33 am

These look fabulous, Kate! Love the chocolate decorations!


Laura @ Family Spice February 24, 2013 at 1:23 am

Ok, sure, putting melted chocolate in a squeeze bottle is easy but how the heck do you clean the squeeze bottle when you are done?? I have a love-hate relationship with melted chocolate. I typically throw out a bowl or two a year from mishaps! Those are some seriously gorgeous cupcakes and I love the touch of cinnamon in the frosting. Beautiful!


Kate February 26, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Ha!! I can TOTALLY relate! I had the same issues. Now I run really hot water into the bottle first and use a silicone baby bottle brush to clean the squeeze bottle. Works like a charm πŸ˜‰


Terra February 24, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Wow, I love the idea of adding cinnamon in your frosting, that sounds like an amazing addition! Your cupcakes look so beautiful, and your chocolate hearts look perfect! Hugs, Terra


Kate February 26, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Thank you Terra! Surprisingly, those little hearts were so easy to make. And cinnamon makes everything better πŸ˜‰


Ruthie February 24, 2013 at 11:32 pm

Red Velvet and I have a thing going on πŸ™‚ LOVE it! Thanks so much for sharing at Super Saturday Show & Tell πŸ™‚ xoxo~ Ruthie


Kate February 26, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Thanks for hosting Ruthie! And so glad you like these cupcakes.


Mimi March 4, 2013 at 11:25 am

You can’t go wrong with red velvet and your chocolate hearts really dress them up,


Kate March 5, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Thanks Mimi! I had fun making the hearts and I was so surprised by their ease.


Eve October 10, 2018 at 1:18 pm

Amazing cupcakes brought them to my school and I am now the master chef!


Kate October 14, 2018 at 3:32 pm

That’s outstanding!! I’m so glad you enjoyed them!


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