|Mini Red & Blue Velvet Cheesecake-filled Cupcakes
||[Jun. 29th, 2010|10:56 pm]
When I got wind of a Fourth of July themed baking contest over at All Through The Year Cheer three thoughts went through my mind. 1) They should be red, white, and blue, obviously. Followed by 2) what do Americans love? Answer: Red Velvet cake. And 3) what do they love even more than that? Answer: Cheesecake. So, drawing upon rainbow cupcakes and black bottom cupcakes as inspiration, these culinary monsters were born. I pored over probably some two dozen different red velvet recipes in preperation and eventually came to this conclusion: all red velvet recipes are essentially exactly the same save for four small things, most coming down to a matter of personal preference:
-Cake flour vs All Purpose flour.
I went with cake flour but I've heard of people using AP just as successfully, if you're looking to pinch a few pennies.
-More or less cocoa powder.
I saw anywhere from 1 teaspoon to 4 tablespoons. I prefer a chocolatey red velvet cake, so I obviously went with more. But if you like less, go with less.
-Some, if not most, exclude baking powder.
I'm not sure how much of a difference including it really made in mine. But I figured if at least a handful had added it and I had it on hand any way, might as well put it in.
-Quantity and type of fat.
Nearly all called for either 1/2 or 1 cup. I went with the compromise of 3/4 cup. These came out nicely moist, in my opinion, but I don't think they'd get too dry or wet with more or less. So, there's room to play around if you want. The recipes varied from using oil, shortening, or butter. I went with butter flavored Crisco because I love a buttery flavor, but like the way Crisco doesn't seem to spread as much when baking. But if you hate shortening or love butter or what have you, feel free to go with your gut.
In regards to my cheesecake filling, I added a little sour cream because I think it adds a nice tang to cut through the sweetness, but I've seen many recipes that leave it out. If you have a go-to cheesecake recipe you love, it should substitute in just fine, I imagine.
Lastly, a note: While I wouldn't call these complex, like in the way macarons are complex, they are a bit labor intensive. They're definitely not something you can whip up in a snap. Because you're working with two colors of batter and a filling you'll need several clean bowls, spoons, measuring utensils, three spatulas, and three sets of beaters (else you'll have to clean in between). All of which will create quite a pile of dirty dishes at the end of the baking process. Careful working with food coloring, as well. I, personally, don't think I've ever been able to bake with it without getting it on something I didn't intend to. So, don't pull a June Cleaver and attempt to bake these in your Sunday best! That said, these are pretty darn delicious (and adorable!) perfect two-bite sized desserts well worth all the effort that they take.
Mini Red & Blue Velvet Cheesecake-filled Cupcakes
makes approx. five to six dozen mini cupcakes
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 oz. red food coloring
1 oz. blue food coloring
3/4 cup butter flavored Crisco, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp clear vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp baking soda
16 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 tsp clear vanilla extract
2/3 cup sugar
4 tbsp sour cream
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put mini cupcake liners into mini muffin pan.
2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.
3. Divide cocoa powder into two small bowls, 2 tbsp each. Add red food color to one bowl and blue to the other. Mix each till paste forms and no large lumps remain.
4. In a medium bowl, cream shortening and sugar together. Some grain will remain, just whip as much as possible. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. At this point, put half the batter into another medium bowl. Add red cocoa paste to one bowl and blue cocoa paste to the other. Scrape down the bowls with spatulas as you go. Add half of the flour mixture gradually to each bowl, beating well. Finally then beat in half of the buttermilk to each bowl, again making sure to scrape down the bowls with spatulas. Set aside.
5. At this point, prepare the cheesecake filling. In a large bowl cream together cream cheese and sugar. Then beat in egg, vanilla, and sour cream til combined.
6. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Once it finishes fizzing and is mixed, divide equally between the two bowls of cake batter and stir well.
7. Using teaspoons, working as quickly as possible, alternate adding red and blue batter to liners, finishing with a healthy dollop of cheesecake til just over half full. Be careful to not overfill, as these will easily puff up and spread into a mess. Place into a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
8. Once cool, remove from pan, place onto plate/dish, and cool in fridge for preferably at least an hour to allow cheesecake to set and firm up (if you can't wait that long though, I don't blame you). These are best eaten chilled and are sweet enough they don't need frosting, making them easy to transport!
You can also make regular-sized cupcakes, instead of mini ones, just add about 10 minutes to your bake time.
x-posted to bakebakebake