Friday, December 9, 2011

In the mood for Cupcakes - Red Velvet and Chocolate Mud Cupcakes

After two bake-less weeks, it is time to ride on the baking mood. Somehow, I am very much into the making of cupcakes this week. It might come across as a little late for Aspiring Bakers, but I am enjoying myself to the brim nevertheless. So far the count is three, and I have a good feeling the number will be on the rise. 


Once again, I have been tasked to help with cupcake making. Due to my friend's relentless nagging for Red Velvet Cupcakes, I finally threw in the towel and decided to embark on this activity that somewhat spells 'Radioactivity', due to the awkwardly deep red colour of these cupped treats. The colour of my cupcakes did not turn out as truly red as I only had 'Xmas red' Wilton gel colour on hand. 

Using the recipe from my newly arrived Martha Stewart Cupcakes from Amazon, the texture turned out to be amazingly fluffy even though there is no creaming of butter involved in the entire mixing process. Texture wise, it is definitely a yes from me. Taste-wise, I wished it had been richer or more vibrant. Then again, I have not had much encounters with Red Velvet cakes hence little room for comparison to know what is considered to be a good one. Perhaps the cream cheese frosting will give it a more rounded flavour on the whole. 

For the cream cheese frosting, I confirmed my hypothesis that Tatura cream cheese (from Phoon Huat) is indeed not a good brand for use in frostings. It created a messy lump when I tried to do peanut butter cream cheese frosting and the cream cheese frosting for the red velvet cupcakes looked kind of lumpy/ somewhat curdled/ loose (a little dough like) and did not pipe out as ideally as I would like it to be, compared to when I was using Elle & Vire cream cheese. However, when doing cheesecakes using Tatura cream cheese, the results are not too shabby.

I made a astounding discovery relating to these red velvet cupcakes. When eaten straight from the fridge chilled, the cupcakes remained tender and fluffy like they just came out of the oven. Because of the chilling, the cream cheese frosting has a nice firm texture, almost like a cheesecake layer which makes the cupcake even more so enticing.  

Besides acceding to my friend's request for red velvet, I managed to convince him that these Chocolate Mud Cupcakes are truly to die for. The texture is moist, fudgy and it resembles a cross between a fluffy cupcake and a souffle, due to its flour-less nature and the incorporation of beaten egg whites. To go along with the chocolate cupcakes, I piped 'piles of chocolate dung' and spooned spiked piles (for a simple homemade look) onto them, which are actually Dark Chocolate Frosting from Martha Stewart Cupcakes.

Comparing this Dark Chocolate Frosting with the Bittersweet Chocolate Frosting, the former is a dark chocolate buttercream that holds its shape well when piped while the latter (much higher chocolate content) is a fudge-like chocolate goodness that spells awfully chocolate.

Hmm.. After taking a bite into one of the chocolate mud cupcakes, I realised the frosting layer is too thick and it overshadowed the richness of the chocolate mud cupcakes. The frosting by itself is actually not too shabby. However, the morale of the story - keep these chocolate mud cupcakes unfrosted and frost other less rich cupcakes instead. Lesson learnt. Apparently, stacking one rich flavour onto another rich flavour doesn't quite work out!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting ( recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes)
Serving size: Makes 9 standard size cupcakes
Taste and texture: Fluffy and moist cake texture.
Equipment and Materials:
  • Standard size muffin tin
  • Cupcake liners to fit
  • Flexible spatula
  • Handheld beater/ stand beater
  • Wire rack
  • Wooden skewer/ toothpick/ cake tester
  • Flour sieve
  • Piping bag
  • Large round piping tip
  • Mixing bowls

Red Velvet Cupcakes
  • 150g cake flour
  • 1 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 180 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, at room temperature (55g to 60g with shell)
  • 1/4 tsp red colour (gel)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 125ml buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp + 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp distilled white vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 120g unsalted butter, softened
  • 240g cream cheese, straight from the fridge
  • 100g - 200g icing sugar (or add more if desired to obtain firmer but sweeter frosting)
  • 1/2 tsp + 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Making the cupcakes

Prepare oven and muffin tin - Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Prepare flour mixture - Sift cake flour, cocoa powder and salt into a large bowl. Using a balloon whisk, whisk to combine and allow the dry ingredients to be evenly distributed.

Mixing oil, sugar and egg- In a mixing bowl, beat oil and sugar until combined on med-high speed. Add in the egg and continue beating until mixture is smooth, for about 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl well with a flexible spatula.
Alternating flour mixture and buttermilk - Turning the mixer to low speed, add 1/3 portion of the flour mixture to the oil-sugar-egg mixture and beat until well combined. Next add in half the buttermilk and mix well. Continue the alternating addition of flour (3 additions) and buttermilk (2 additions), starting and ending with flour mixture. Batter should be well combined and smooth. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl well with a flexible spatula during the mixing process to incorporate loose ingredients.

Adding baking soda and vinegar mixture - In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar. The mixture will foam. Add it to the batter and mix for 20 seconds on medium speed. 

Baking the cupcakes - Spoon batter into cupcake liners until 4/5 filled. Bake the cupcakes for 25 minutes at 180 degrees C or until an inserted cake tester comes out clean. 

Preparing Cream Cheese Frosting

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy and smooth on medium speed. Turn to low speed and add in 100g of icing sugar. Mix to obtain a smooth frosting. To obtain a firmer frosting, add more icing sugar to desired firmness at the expense of sweetness. Add in vanilla and mix well. Frost red velvet cupcakes as desired. 

Chocolate Mud Cupcakes (recipe adapted from Tempt: Cupcakes to Excite by Betty Saw)
Taste and Texture: Tender, gooey with tiny bits of almonds.
Serving size: 9 standard size cupcakes
Recipe: Refer to Chocolate Mud Cupcakes

Dark Chocolate Frosting ( recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes)
Quantity: Makes enough to frost 16 cupcakes
Taste and texture: Chocolatey and buttercream-like. 

  • 30g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 80ml boiling water
  • 300g unsalted butter, softened
  • 70g icing sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 450g dark chocolate (50-60% cocoa mass), melted and cooled

Making the dark chocolate frosting:

In a small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder and boiling water to obtained a smooth cocoa liquid. In a large mixing bowl,  beat butter and icing sugar on medium-high speed until butter mixture is pale and fluffy. Turning to low speed, add the cooled melted chocolate and mix to obtain a smooth mixture. Lastly, add in cocoa mixture and beat well. Frost cupcakes as desired. 

  1. Red velvet cupcakes frosted with cream cheese frosting need to be kept refrigerated. 
  2. Leftover/unused cream cheese frosting and dark chocolate frosting should be kept refrigerated in freezer bags/ piping bags/ ziplock bags. 
  3. Serve red velvet cupcakes chilled. The cream cheese frosting will be firm and the cake will remain moist, soft and fluffy. However, allow the chocolate mud cupcakes to rest at room temperature for some time to allow it to soften before serving.
  4. Chocolate Mud Cupcakes will shrink in size when cooled, creating a sunken crater. This is perfectly normal. 


  1. Those red velvet cupcakes look divine. I'm sure they taste just as good as they look.

    Those chocolate mud cupcakes on the other hand... No comments. Don't think they will taste as good as red velvet.

  2. Hi Bakertan, I agree with u on Red Velvet. I too find the taste to be nothing exciting. The taste is neither here nor there. Except for the deathly red coloring, I really dunno what's the fuss about Red Velvet. About Tatura cream cheese, I've tried that and didn't find it lumpy at all. Contrary to yours, mine turned out quite loose (soft), this compared to Philadelphia cream cheese. Anyway, thanks for sharing. Hope to see more recipes from Martha Stewart Cupcakes book. I had been eyeing this book for sometime. The only thing stopping me from buying is the ones available in my local bookstore show cup measurement not metric. Cup measurement is just not consistent.

  3. Hi, Jeff. I would love to invite you to join Homebakers.Alliance. :)

    My mission is to
    - Unite every passionate homebakers in this planet.
    - Improve the branding and quality of homebaked goods.
    - Making them the preferred choice (compare to factory products) by the consumers.

    Please join us and revolutionize the baking industry.

  4. hi Bakertan,
    do you know where to buy Valrhona choc at resonable price? I dont mind buying in bulk like 3kg if it is cheaper? i have check out sunlik and shermay but i think they are too costly.
    Do you know other places? thks for help

  5. Nice pics, esp the one with choco frosting =) yup guess you are right - two strong flavors can overwhelm each other (something for me to note) when pairing flavors!

  6. Hi Sotong,

    I meant to say that the frosting looked lumpy. The texture is ok and yes it is rather soft as you said.

    I don't really like books that use cup measurements but so far my conversions have been rather successful. This book has its hits and misses, but I am enjoying the bakes that I am churning out from it.


    Hi Lala,

    Thanks! Yes, it is something I noticed/ learnt recently from this particular incident. Guess rich flavours need not necessarily work well all the time.

  7. Hi Belle,

    I heard that 3kg of valrhona is selling at $81 (rough estimate) from the supplier. Can't recall the name of the supplier though.

    I actually have not used any valrhona chocolates as of yet, except for the cocoa powder.

  8. Thanks for sharing your experiences, ZY. I would truly like to try the Red Velvet Cake. I'm slower than you to try this. Heehee...

  9. thks for your reply. Yes, that is what i read somewhere but again no one seems to know who is the supplier :(
    If you do know someday, pls share on your blog. Your readers will also be very keen to know about this mysterious supplier :P

  10. Hi,

    Can I know where can I buy the Elle & Vire cheese cream? Can I add colouring to it?

    1. Hi,

      you can get it at - sun lik. yes you can add colouring as you like.

  11. Hi
    Where can we get distilled white vinegar in Singapore ? Thank u


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