Red Velvet Cream Cheese Buttercream with Chocolate Cupcakes

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This red velvet cream cheese buttercream is undoubtedly the star of the show. The chocolate cupcakes are great of course but when topped with generous swirls of this magical, wickedly good frosting, they outdo themselves.

The buttercream recipe was what intrigued me at first. I had all the ingredients on hand and so I set about whipping up a batch. Not only did it not disappoint, it had me weak in the knees with excitement. It was just like biting into a fantastic red velvet cake – sweet, tangy, a tiny bit chocolaty and oh so delicious!

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It was only when I had had three tablespoons of frosting, straight from the bowl, in the name of taste testing that I realized I needed to find an accompanying cupcake recipe for it and a bunch of people I could share those cupcakes with. Being home alone with a big bowl of addictive frosting was not going to end well.

Happy to report, I gave them away to the teachers at my toddler’s school and they loved it!

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You should definitely give this one a go. It will change your life. Baking life at least.

Read the notes at the end of  this post for an egg free version of these cupcakes made using Aquafaba

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • All  purpose flour – 3/4 cup
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder – 1/2 cup
  • Baking powder – 3/4 tsp
  • Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Large eggs – 2
  • Granulated sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Light brown sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Vanilla extract – 2 tsp
  • Oil – 1/3 cup (Anything neutral will work. No olive oil) 
  • Buttermilk – 1/2 cup*

*I always make buttermilk by whisking yogurt with water. Here I added 1/3 cup yogurt in a measuring jar, topped it up with water till the 1/2 cup mark and whisked them to combine

Red Velvet Cream cheese Buttercream

  • Salted butter – 1/2 cup
  • Unsalted butter – 1/2 cup
  • Package of cream cheese (8 oz or 226 grams) – 1
  • Red food coloring – 6 to 8 drops*
  • Icing sugar – 3 to 4 cups
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder – 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp

*I used McCormick’s red food color. You can use any brand you want. Just follow instructions as given below

Note: This buttercream needs to sit for a few hours to reach its rich, deep red color. Aim for a dark terracotta color when you make it, store it for a few hours in the fridge (preferably overnight) and thaw it out before frosting. The color will have enough time to mature and you’ll have a true red velvet colored frosting to go on your cupcakes

Yield – 22 small cupcakes with frosting

Method

Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 degree Celsius. Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners
  • In a large bowl whisk all your dry ingredients together – flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • In another bowl add eggs, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, vanilla extract, and oil. using a handheld mixer or a whisk, mix these ingredients thoroughly until combined well
  • Pour half of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk very briefly to mix. Add half of the buttermilk and whisk again. Repeat this process once more time with the rest of the wet ingredients. Be very careful not to over mix
  • The batter will be thinner than a regular cupcake batter. Pour the batter into the liners till they are half to two thirds full. No more! These cupcake rise quite a bit
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Turn the tray around once in between. When done a tester inserted into the cupcakes should come out clean
  • Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting

Red Velvet Cream cheese Buttercream

  • Make sure your butters are softened and the cream cheese is chilled. In a bowl sift 3 cups of icing sugar and cocoa powder together and set aside
  • In a large bowl, using a mixer, whip salted and unsalted butter until it turns fluffy and light. This takes 5 to 7 minutes
  • Add the cream cheese and continue to whip until fully incorporated. About 5  minutes
  •  Add the vanilla and food coloring and whip on high speed until it turns light and fluffy
  • Gradually add the icing sugar-cocoa powder mixture to the butter and cream cheese mixture while whipping on low speed
  • Once you’ve added all the sugar and cocoa powder whip the buttercream on high speed until it is well combined. This takes 2 to 3 minutes
  • At this point you can add one or two more drops of food coloring to the buttercream. You can also add more icing sugar, one quarter cup at a time till you arrive at your desired level of sweetness
  • Keep in mind that the color of the buttercream deepens gradually over time. So aim for a deep terracotta color and keep it covered in an airtight container in the fridge for a few hours (preferably overnight)  and the color will turn a true bright red as you see in the pictures

Frosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days. For anything longer than that they will need to be refrigerated.

Notes – To make these cupcakes egg free use 6 tbsp (3 tbsp = 1 egg) of aquafaba. Whip it in a bowl till it turns frothy. Proceed with the rest of the recipe instructions as given. The egg free cupcakes will be a little more tender than those made with eggs but will taste just as fabulous! 

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The cupcake recipe is adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction and the buttercream recipe is adapted from Wicked Good Kitchen

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Eggless Orange Cranberry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream

There are so many versions of Orange Cranberry cupcakes out there. Normally I would thumb my nose at every one of them. I was convinced that this flavour combination belonged firmly in the muffin category. And what do you mean by white chocolate buttercream? White chocolate is an oxymoron in my opinion. That stuff can either be white or chocolate, not both!

So why did I make these at all, you ask?

Because that’s what you do when you’re feeling particularly reckless and adventurous at 11 in the night. You throw caution to the winds, use up the husband’s precious bar of white chocolate and take risks.

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Not too shabby eh? Easy to make and surprisingly easy to eat – white chocolate and all – these were pretty good! I might even think about making a second batch.

Don’t let the instructions scare you. The entire process takes about a hour from start to finish. I promise!

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • All purpose flour – 1 and 1/3 cups + 1 tbsp
  • Baking soda – 3/4 tsp
  • Baking powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Sugar – 3/4 cup
  • Milk – 3/4 cup
  • White vinegar – 1 tsp
  • Oil – 1/3 cup (use a neutral flavored oil such as sunflower or canola)
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Orange juice – 1/4 cup
  • Dried cranberries – 3/4 cup
  • Zest from one orange

White Chocolate Buttercream

  • White chocolate chips (or a bar or white chocolate chopped up) – 1/3 cup
  • Butter – 1 cup
  • Confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar)  – 3 to 4 cups
  • Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
  • Milk – 1 to 2 tsp

Method

Cupcakes

  • Preheat your oven to 160 degree Celsius. Line and prepare your cupcake pan.
  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk vinegar into milk and set aside to curdle. This takes about 15 minutes.
  • Sift together 1 and 1/3 cup flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl whisk the sugar and oil together till it becomes a little fluffy and pale. It will NOT be as fluffy or pale as a butter-sugar mixture. I recommend using a hand blender or stand mixer.
  • Add vanilla extract, orange juice and milk to the oil-sugar mixture and whisk till it becomes frothy.
  • Add the sifted flour mixture into the liquid mixture in two batches, each time mixing only until it is combined. Do not over mix.
  • Toss the dried cranberries with the remaining 1 tbsp flour and stir it into the cupcake batter with a spatula. DO NOT stir it too vigorously.
  • Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners. Fill each till it is about 3/4th full.
  • Bake cupcakes for about 12 to 15 minutes. Turn the pan around once in between to ensure even heating.
  • The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool the cupcakes completely.

Buttercream frosting

  • Melt white chocolate over a double boiler. You can also melt chocolate in the microwave in short 10 seconds bursts. Set it aside till it comes down to room temperature
  • In a separate bowl beat butter using a hand blender or stand mixer for about 5 to 7 minutes till it becomes pale
  • Now add the melted and cooled white chocolate  and vanilla essence and whip together till it becomes light and fluffy.
  • Add icing sugar one half cup at a time. Whip after each addition till it is thoroughly combined.
  • After the addition of one cup of icing sugar, make sure you taste your buttercream after every subsequent addition of icing sugar to avoid making it too sweet. I found the white chocolate to be pretty sweet by itself so I limited my icing sugar to 2.5 cups
  • Whip the buttercream well for about 7 minutes more on medium speed till the sugar is well incorporated and the texture becomes smooth.
  • If the buttercream is too stiff add 1 tsp of milk at a time and whip till it reaches the desired consistency. If it is too runny, add icing sugar (if your taste permits) or pop it into the fridge till it stiffens up.
  • Transfer to a piping bag

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