Red Velvet Cheesecake Filled Cupcakes

Red velvet cake is my husband’s favorite cake! Growing up, his mother made him red velvet cake for his birthday. When I was growing up, my mom always made red velvet cake only for Valentine’s day & would use a coolwhip type frosting on top. As an adult, I have experienced the joy that is THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY!!! So, I wanted to make a red velvet cheesecake dessert and was all set on making a Red Velvet Cheesecake recipe from Willow Bird Baking blog. However, I wanted the dessert to be in a smaller, “shareable” form, so I wouldn’t be tempted with a giant cake around the house all week.

Therefore, I decided to combine a few different recipes and create these Red Velvet Cheesecake Filled Cupcakes. The cake recipe is from Willow Bird Baking, and the filling and frosting are family recipes. I was a little hesitant as I know that sometimes each element may taste fine on their own, but when paired they may need some tweaking. However, this was not the case and it all tasted amazing together! These are the Best Cupcakes I Have Ever Had!!!-says me and everyone else who tried one! (Now you can too!)

Bought a 1M Wilton decorating tip to make these beautiful roses like a pro! :)

Bought a 1M Wilton decorating tip to make these beautiful roses like a pro! 🙂

Red Velvet Cupcakes

A view of the cheesecake filling on the inside, complete with mini chocolate chips!

A view of the cheesecake filling on the inside, complete with mini chocolate chips!

Red Velvet Cake: 

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1 egg

1 Tablespoon cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup buttermilk (using powdered is fine)

1 & 1/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 Tablespoon white vinegar

1 ounce red food coloring (liquid)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream shortening, sugar, and eggs. Add the cocoa (Next time I might try adding 1 or 2 Tbsp. more cocoa powder to give it a bit more chocolate flavor-but it was fabulous anyway) and food coloring to the mixture. Add salt and vanilla. Add buttermilk alternately with the flour, beginning and ending with the flour. *If using dry buttermilk, follow the directions on the package and mix the powdered buttermilk with the dry ingredients and then use the 1/2 cup of water as the liquid buttermilk (wet ingredient).

My mom taught me a trick to maximize every drop of food coloring in the bottle. After dumping in the food coloring, carefully, so as not to splash yourself. 🙂  Save the bottle, and then measure out the 1/2 cup of wet ingredients (water if using powder) in a measuring cup, then pour some of the liquid into the red food coloring bottle & then into the cake to wash out any remaining dye to help give your cake a nice vibrant red color.

Then mix the vinegar and soda together in a little bowl before adding to the cake mixture (this will cause the soda to foam). Thoroughly mix into the batter and begin to partially fill your lined cupcake tins. Then make the filling below and spoon that in the lined tins next, then top with a bit of remaining red velvet batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-25 minutes (know your oven, if it cooks hot-set it for less time). Use a toothpick inserted into the center to test the doneness of the cake-should come out clean.

Cheesecake Filling: 

1-8 oz. cream cheese (softened)

1/3 c. sugar

1 egg

1/4 c. Canola oil

1-6 oz. pkg chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips in this case)

Cream the sugar and cream cheese until smooth (very important so you don’t get a lumpy cream cheese filling). Then combine the egg and canola oil and mix thoroughly. Then stir in the chocolate chips. This filling is great with a German chocolate cake! Typically you fill your cupcake tins with the cupcake batter, then drop in a rounded tsp. of filling in each cupcake tin- it sinks to the middle of the cupcake as it bakes. However, for this recipe, I wasn’t sure if the batter would sink to the middle, so I spooned a bit of the red velvet cake batter in all the cupcake liners, then a rounded tsp of filling in all the liners, then more red velvet cake batter on top. The cake did not rise much during baking, so filling the liners about 3/4 full worked well.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1-8 oz. cream cheese (1/3 less fat Philadelphia cream cheese) (room temp)

1 stick butter (room temp)

1 lb powdered sugar (This would be half a 2lb bag)

1 tsp vanilla

Cream butter and cream cheese until smooth (using the whisk attachment to your stand mixer), then add vanilla and powdered sugar & mix some more, adding a little powdered sugar at a time using low speed so as not to create a mess! Taste the frosting as you go, if you think it is sweet enough without the full 1 lb of powdered sugar, stop there, just make sure it is the right consistency for piping/spreading. If you accidentally put in too much powdered sugar (which has happened to me on occasion) feel free to thin it with a splash of milk.

Traditionally, this frosting is for my family’s carrot cake recipe (I’ll have to do a post on that another time), but it pairs amazingly with this red velvet cake! I found an amazing tutorial from Glory over at “Glorious Treats” on how to frost cupcakes like a pro. Her tutorial helped me “up my game” immensely! Link to her quick video tutorial on frosting cupcakes: http://www.glorioustreats.com/2011/08/cupcake-basics-how-to-frost-cupcakes.html

I used a Wilton 1M tip ($3 at Walmart) and a plastic frosting bag. I also used her “cup method” to fill the bag, by placing the tip inside a large cup and putting the frosting bag ends over the top of the cup to create an open pocket to spoon in your frosting. I frosted the cupcakes in a spiral motion beginning in the center of each cupcake and piping the frosting from directly over the top of the cupcake (not from the side, or anything difficult) to create the beautiful rose. Then I topped with some pretty pearl white ball sprinkles (from Walmart). I think they turned out beautiful.

I figured each of these cupcakes to be 11 WW points, so I found it best to stick with my plan by cutting a cupcake in half and only taking half of it to work for my dessert at lunch, then I would eat the other half at lunch the next day. This gave me something great to look forward to and gave me more of an opportunity to burn it off throughout the day. I hope you love them as much as I do!

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