Every once and a while, you’ve got to wrestle with a classic recipe in order to make it your own. When Bea wanted red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing for an event, I have to say, I shrugged my shoulders a little. Red velvet cakes and cupcakes have always been one of those “Dorito effect” treats for me — you know, cakes that tease you with a hint of chocolate without really following through with actual flavour. As I used to remark on my student’s essays from time to time, red velvets tend to “promise more than they deliver.” Of course, there’s always room for improvement. So, just in time for Valentine’s day, we’re presenting you with our own take on the Red Velvet cupcake, a Deep Red Velvet cupcake. This sweetie delivers more of a cocoa punch than the average RVC. And, you can play cupid by topping them with easily crafted chocolate arrows and hearts. So, get baking, Valentines!!!!
Deep Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing and Chocolate Arrows and Hearts
For the Cake
- 3 1/3 cups cake flour
- 2/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon [optional]
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1 3/4 cups canola oil
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar [or more granulated sugar]
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 6 tablespoons 3 ounces red food coloring or 1 teaspoon red gel food coloring dissolved in 6 tablespoons of water
- 1 1/3 cup buttermilk or sour milk [we used skim milk poured into and mixed with 1 tbs vinegar to equal 1 1/3 cup]
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
For the Icing
- 8 0 z cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2-3 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 cups sifted icing sugar [confectioner's sugar]
For the Chocolate Hearts and Arrows
- 3-4 oz of your favourite semi sweet or bittersweet baking chocoale or chocolate chips
- parcment cone or plastic bag
- parchment and pen or pencil
For the Cake
- Heat oven to 350.
- Line cupcake tins with large or x-large paper cupcake cups.
- In a bowl, whisk the cake flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or by hand, mix the oil and sugar well.
- Add the eggs one at a time and mix until well combined.
- Add the vanilla until combined.
- Turn the mixer off and add the food colouring. Then, with the mixer on low, stir to combine.
- Incorporate one third of the flour mixture until combined.
- Incorporate half of the buttermilk or sour milk until combined.
- Incorporate the second third of the flour mixture until combined.
- Incorporate the second half of the buttermilk or sour milk until combined.
- Incorporate the remaining flour mixture until combined.
- In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and baking soda.
- Quickly whisk into the flour mixture and combine quickly.
- Fill cupcake liners 1/2 to 2/3 full and place tins in oven.
- Bake 22-25 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool in tins for 10-15 minutes.
- Cool completely on wire racks.
- Make the icing and chocolate decorations.
- Ice liberally and top to your liking.
For the Icing
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, with a handheld mixer, or by hand, beat the cream cheese and butter together until fluffy.
- Add the vanilla and begin beating on low.
- Incorporate the sugar by the 1/2 cup.
For the Chocolate Arrows and Hearts
- On a piece of parchment, use pencil or pen to sketch arrows and hearts to your liking.
- Reverse the parchment so that the sketches face downward on your work surface.
- In the microwave on pulses at medium power or in a pyrex bowl over boiling water, melt the chocolate.
- Allow the chocolate to cool slightly.
- Place the melted chocolate in a parchment cone or plastic bag with a small corner snipped off.
- Pipe the chocolate in thin lines over the back-side of your sketches.
- Allow to cool on the counter.
- After the shapes have set, flash freeze or refrigerate if desired.