I had some trouble deciding what to make for this particular party. I knew I didn’t want chocolate, so I originally went with a yellow cake filled with pastry cream. But after those came out of the oven, I didn’t like the way they looked with my nautical fondant decorations, so I nixed that idea. This, mind you, was at 11:15pm. A quick decision led to a late-night grocery store run, and yellow cake morphed into red velvet cake. I don’t know why I do these things. I’m telling you, it’s a sickness.
Red velvet, on the other hand was the perfect complement to the stark white frosting and decorations. I wish I hadn’t wasted my pretty red and blue striped cupcake liners on the sub-par-looking cupcakes, but I suppose my neurotic behavior has its consequences.
I really like the way the cheesecake filling worked with the red velvet flavor. I did reduce the amount of red food coloring by half, because I’m just not a fan of liquid food coloring. Otherwise, it was a pretty simple recipe. It had just the right amount of cocoa powder to give it a light chocolate flavor without overpowering the tangy cake. This is my favorite cream cheese frosting ever – the equal portions of cream cheese and butter give it a subtle creaminess which is a great match for this cupcake. And they’re so pretty!
You’ve probably noticed the gorgeous pictures on today’s post are different than normal. These were taken by another friend of mine, Melissa at Melissa Rieke Photography. She’s absolutely fantastic. Click (here) to check out her website. Her work is bright and colorful and she just brings out the best in all of her subjects – be it a cupcake, newborn or bride! Even if you don’t live in the area, at least spend a few minutes gawking at her website. It’s inspiring and beautiful! Thanks for these pictures, Melissa! They’re great, as always!
Hope you’ll try this recipe! As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comment section, or drop me a line on my Facebook page.
Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tin with baking liners. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachement, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high for about two minutes. Add in one egg at a time, mixing well after each addition. Turn off mixer. Add food coloring and cocoa powder, then turn mixer back on LOW and mix until just incorporated. Then, beat on medium speed for about 4 minutes.
Sift together the flour(s), salt and baking soda and set mixture aside. Then, stir together buttermilk and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk mixture. Beat until just combined. Then, add in sour cream and vinegar and beat again until just combined.
Fill muffin cups 1/4 full. Then, place a liberal scoop (about a Tablespoon each) of cheesecake mixture (see below) on top of the first scoop of cake batter. Fill the cups up to the 3/4 full mark, covering the cheesecake dallop, and bake for 22-25 minutes until the a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until smooth.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
16 oz. cream cheese
16 Tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
5 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and confectioners sugar, pulsing at first to combine. Beat on medium speed until creamy, light and fluffy. Frost cupcakes as desired. *If frosting is too thick, you can thin it slightly, adding a teaspoon of whipping cream at a time until desired consistency is met.