The last time we were here talking about churros, I called them one of my "fantasy foods". That would be something I might talk about or see a lot but, in reality, have never had or have rarely eaten. There are a lot of things on my "fantasy foods" list and some of them are very basic, like red velvet cupcakes.
|A small batch recipe of 4 red velvet chocolate chip cupcakes with classic cream cheese frosting|
And when it comes to cupcakes, I may find myself at a bakery admiring an array of them but for the most part, I'm there for the visuals. I love the look of cupcakes - the pouf of frosting, the colors, the sprinkles. I'll ogle them all and then walk away (that doesn't sound like fun, I know), or end up predictably asking for the "chocolate cupcake with ganache frosting, please".
Yes, I live a sheltered life because I can't even recall the last time I had a taste of classic red velvet cupcakes! Maybe I shouldn't admit to this level of dessert ignorance but it is what it is. I got to thinking about this whole cupcake situation and red velvet in particular at my niece's birthday gathering recently. My sister had a dozen beautiful-looking cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes and I was looking at all the flavors and eyeing the one red velvet my sister had selected for herself. There's just something romantic about it and I was thinking I needed to sit down and enjoy a red velvet cupcake for a change.
And lucky for me, I found the perfect way to try it with this baby batch of red velvet cupcakes with classic cream cheese frosting. This recipe comes from Dessert For Two, a book that is right up my alley. I love baking in small batches so I can do it more often for my small family. I was really lucky to spot this wonderful cookbook recently and just a quick look revealed at least half a dozen recipes I wanted to bake right away. This is the first of that endeavor, a recipe that makes 4 red velvet cupcakes.
I'll admit this recipe appealed to me also because of a twist - the suggestion of chocolate chips in the red velvet cake! Sure...maybe I should've stuck with tradition and skipped the chocolate but a girl has to stay true to her heart. This red velvet cupcake with miniature chocolate chips is a good compromise for me. (Please humor me...)
I did very nearly turn these red velvet cupcakes into chocolate cupcakes. Maybe I did want to swap that classic cream cheese frosting with chocolate ganache frosting (my little guy suggested the same) but I managed to stay the course! I'm not a big fan of buttercream frosting but I can't complain about how easy the cream cheese frosting was to make, how luscious it was to pipe out, and how pretty it looks on top of that red-hued cake.
I'm all about the cake and this is one good cake. The tang is a nice theme that runs throughout the red velvet cupcake. I can say that even without chocolate chips, the red velvet cake here was totally delicious on its own. I could taste a hint of cocoa against the slightly tangy cake. It was moist and tender - super tasty!
My husband knows how to appreciate a classic. He'd have been very happy with plain red velvet - sans chocolate chips - and the tangy cream cheese frosting. Me, I'll take chocolate chips in my cake any day! But you really can't lose either way, whether you choose to include the chocolate or not.
In case anyone wants my testimonial, making 4 cupcakes is such a breeze! Cupcake-making can feel like a project to me - what with scooping the batter into their cups, making the frosting, then decorating each individually.
When I made these four, I was done before I knew it. I don't have a hand mixer so I simply used a whisk to make the cupcake batter and the stand mixer to whip up the frosting. The little batch of cupcakes do disappear as fast as you can make them but for me, there's satisfaction in that. I know I'll be back in the kitchen whipping up something else up again and that's just what I want to do.
We probably don't make or eat red velvet cake very often due to large part to that red food coloring we have to use. For what it's worth, I used just 2 drops of red gel paste food coloring, which is what I already had on hand and is a lot more intense than the liquid kind. Food coloring isn't something I'd want to use often but sometimes you just have to.
The oil in these cupcakes kept them so moist. And there is definitely a wonderful alchemy in the combination of buttermilk, vinegar, and cocoa that makes for a delicious result.
As for the classic cream cheese frosting - it's easy to make and so smooth, creamy, and tangy. I took out my Wilton 1M pastry tip again and had a little practice piping out the frosting on the cupcakes. The recipe makes enough to frost these 4 cupcakes generously.
I feel like I can talk about red velvet cupcakes with a little more understanding now. I'll have to think about what other "fantasy foods" I need to tackle next...
Update (November 2015): The last time I made these cupcakes, my little guy was talking about how great they would be with chocolate frosting instead of cream cheese. We're all about the chocolate at my house! Well, I know it isn't usually done, but why not? So I recently made a batch of these cupcakes with some chocolate ganache frosting (below). I can tell you they were very popular!
Red Velvet (Chocolate Chip) Cupcakes
From Dessert For Two
- A small batch recipe that makes 4 cupcakes -
1/4 cup (60ml) canola oil
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon red food coloring (I used 2 drops of red gel paste food coloring)
1/8 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (47.5 grams) all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
For cream cheese frosting:
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons (30 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons (39 grams) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon buttermilk (I used milk)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners in 4 cups along the edge of a a standard muffin pan.
In a medium-size bowl, whisk together (you could also use an electric mixer on medium speed) the oil, sugar, buttermilk, egg white, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder to combine.
Add dry ingredients to the wet and gently stir together with a rubber spatula. Add chocolate chips, if using, and stir until just incorporated.
Divide batter among the 4 prepared muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes before removing cupcakes from the pan to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Make frosting: Using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat all the frosting ingredients until smooth. Frost the cupcakes, as desired. I transferred the frosting to a piping bag and used Wilton's 1M pastry tip to apply the frosting.
These cupcakes are beautiful! I don't love red velvet, but am obsessed with the way they look. Also, I've never been known to turn down a cupcake :)ReplyDelete
Thanks so much. I think I felt similarly...red velvet cupcakes always looked so pretty but never really called out to me that much to buy and eat when there are chocolate things to be had. : )Delete
These cupcakes are so adorable, Monica. Love those beautifully and professionally piped frosting. I wish I could taste one now.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Angie. Cupcakes are so pretty to look at, aren't they. I get my 'fix' by admiring professional ones most of the time. Have a good week.Delete
Yay, so glad you tried red velvet cupcakes! They seriously look perfect! The chocolate chips are such a great addition and you frosted them so pretty! I love that this recipe is for a smaller batch too!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Kelly. About time I give this a try...amazing how many things I need to learn more about! The small batch was perfect for us, though my husband would be happy to down the batch himself. : ) You k now I couldn't resist the chocolate chis. I'm predictable and I know it! ; )Delete
Everything that you make/bake is a fantasy food for me - it always looks amazing. Just like these cupcakes. I can't imagine a more perfectly rounded top and scrumptious texture. The icing is perfectly piped - you must spend a lot of time in bakeries studying the baked goods because you know exactly what they are supposed to look like. Red velvet is my personal favorite - and the one my mother always made for my birthday. Love cream cheese icing! If I ever get my post done I hope you'll see I also made cream cheese icing this weekend - because we are soul sister/bakers!ReplyDelete
ha! Tricia, you are too good to me! I *do* spend a lot of time studying and researching! : ) Maybe some of that rubs off and I manage an illusion of competence? I can't believe you made cream cheese icing this weekend! We really must be soul sister bakers! Love it and what great company to be in with you. And somehow I'm not surprised you know and love red velvet. I can totally see it and what a treat for your birthdays. Have a great week and let's see that cream cheese icing!! : )Delete
your cupcakes are LOVELY, Monica! your swirls are just perfect: cream cheese frosting is the absolute best when you want frosting that isn't overly sweet or buttercream-y. :)ReplyDelete
Cupcakes are serious eye candy, I think! I adore how smooth the frosting is and I definitely agree with your description of it.Delete
Im not a cupcake person at all, but I do fancy a red velvet if any...I think it's the frosting. I don't like the sweet buttercreams. Cream cheese frosting is my favourite.ReplyDelete
Your cupcakes are beautiful Monica! So, the verdict? Would you pick a red velvet over a chocolate with ganache?
Nazneen, some things don't change and I'm still your chocolate with ganache girl but now I know if that's not an option and I must have a cupcake (what a hardship), the red velvet is a very good option. : ) I keep hearing that red velvet from some bakeries aren't very good though...I do know these 4 babies were quite delicious. Have a great week!Delete
Beautiful cupcakes Monica...they are so elegant...I Iove the idea of making only 4 cupcakes...ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing the recipe! Have a wonderful week ahead :)
Making 4 of these is so perfect for me. Red velvet is so pretty...and I'm happy to have a tasty recipe on hand now, too.Delete
Most bakery red velvet cupcakes aren't that great, so I think it's probably wise that you've avoided them thus far. I NEED to try these from Christina's book! They sound so good...and definitely awesome that the recipe only makes FOUR. Because...any more and I'd be in trouble!ReplyDelete
That's what I hear...there's nothing like homemade and this recipe is awesome! I love Christina's book and it's just right up my alley. 4 cupcakes is a "safe" number. : )Delete
Your cupcakes are so pretty. And I love the sound of that cookbook! Leftover desserts can be very dangerous.ReplyDelete
I was very impressed by the cookbook - looks great, good/easy to follow recipes, nice pictures. In so many cases, things are best eaten fresh so I love a small fresh batch.Delete
simply damn delicious RVVCC!!!ReplyDelete
Thanks - hope all is well!Delete
I have such a soft spot for red velvet! And I love that this is a small batch - I don't really like having too many extra cupcakes hanging out around the house - too dangerous! :)ReplyDelete
With just 3 of us at home, usually a half dozen is more than enough and 4 just disappears and I like that. You can't always share...I don't want to be the sugar peddler in the neighborhood. ; )Delete
These cupcakes are GORGEOUS!! I need a recipe for a small amount of cupcakes because I have a habit of eating too many :pReplyDelete
Thanks so much. And you're right, Cathleen, who wants to see perfectly tasty homemade baked goods go to waste. The more there is, the more we'll eat. A little moderation works for me.Delete
How handy! I'm always a fan of small batch recipes; it's a nice way of indulging yet not over-indulging haha. And the chocolate chips are always a plus! Sometimes, I like to stuff my red velvet cupcakes with Nutella hehe. By the way, your frosting looks beautiful!ReplyDelete
I love small batches and divide recipes in half all the time. This is even better when the math is done for me!Delete
I love the idea of adding choc chips into a red velvet cake. Why not!? :DReplyDelete
Exactly! More chocolate is just better, to me anyway... : )Delete
These look delicious! Love the swirl of frosting.ReplyDelete
I had such fun swirling them. I can never get it right but I really had the urge to try. The creamy frosting helps and I can concentrate enough to do 4 decently. : )Delete
yum! i am craving these cupcakes now!ReplyDelete
Cupcakes that that craving-inducing effect sometimes. ; )Delete
Hey, my blog is a food learning blog, too!! I'm no expert at all, I just try new things :) Great cupcakes!ReplyDelete
Yay! It's great to have a place to "document" that things you made and I'm always learning something in some way. It's great. Thanks, Ashley!Delete
I'm with you, the chocolate chips are critical :) And the frosting looks perfect! What a perfect little treat.ReplyDelete
More chocolate, the better, I say! : ) Thanks so much!Delete
beautiful cupcakes. They look very tempting and yummy.I wish I could grab one. :)ReplyDelete
Thanks...cupcakes are so pretty and so much better when they also taste delicious. : )Delete
Red velvet cupcakes are AWESOME! Once you get passed the weird red color, anyone will fall in love with them! They are chocolatey, but not overly strong. And that sweet and savory cream cheese frosting is the best thing ever! I totally need to add some chocolate chips next time! ;)ReplyDelete
You said it! Clearly, you're the one to go to with cupcake questions! : )Delete
Same in my house, my husband would be happy with plain red cup cakes, but I would love it with frosting. They must be terrific with chocolate chips.ReplyDelete
There are definitely cake people and frosting people and sometimes we meet in the middle... : ) You know I love chocolate so I'll almost always say things are better with some involved.Delete
What fabulous red velvet cupcakes! I love the addition of the chocolate chips too. Red velvet cake happens to be a favourite with my kids and they always want to make it but I'm with you on the red food colouring and the mess it creates in the kitchen. A lovely worthwhile treat every once in a while. Beautiful frosting piping by the way Monica 😉ReplyDelete
Hi Jo, it doesn't feel too bad when I use 2 drops of the coloring to make these 4 little cupcakes...though I know the 2 drops are very concentrated. Oh well...gotta live a little, right! : ) Hope the kids are doing great!Delete
Not sure why my comment did not show up here when I posted it along with the churros post. Glad I checked though. The cupcakes are perfection...so pretty! The chocolate chips are welcome for me in cupcakes of any flavor or size. Small batch makes them even better. Bookmarking this recipe!ReplyDelete
Thanks for checking and taking the trouble to resubmit your comment. : ) Desserts are generally so pretty, aren't they? I'm *almost* happy just looking at them sometimes.Delete
These cupcakes look so so yummy!ReplyDelete