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Deep Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing and Chocolate Arrows and Hearts

A chocolatier take on the classic Red Velvet cupcake!!
Author: Roseanne Carrara, The Lunchbox Season


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.