Written by Chris –
Our three miracles arrived in January, but they weren’t actually due until Valentine’s Day. So February 14th has always held a special place in my heart.
How we went from this…
To this… has been quite the (culinary) journey!
For the first time, they agreed on ONE birthday cake, Red Velvet! I am certain Sweet Arleen’s in Westlake Village, CA (our local bakery and recent winner of “Cupcake Wars”) had some influence. After Arleen won, we sampled all of her cupcakes and Red Velvet was the clear winner. But for this birthday, we couldn’t just stop with Red Velvet cupcakes. My daughter specifically asked that her cupcake have a chocolate ganache center. She was inspired by America’s Test Kitchen – the episode on Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Filling. So, I needed to try this ganache out (you can see a photo of it later in the post). Happy to report it worked beautifully.
It gets even tastier… My daughter and I recently attended a cupcake decorating workshop held by Dorothy Tong, another recent winner of “Cupcake Wars.” I listened as she described her specialties… cupcake-filled cookies and cookie-filled cupcakes. It reminded me of a cookie-filled blog post by Jenny from Picky Palate. Pretty cool, right?
I decided to make two filled-cupcake creations for the triplets’ birthday. I added our Nestlé Toll House Valentine Swirled Chocolate Chip cookie dough to the center of the red velvet cupcakes (have you seen the pink and red swirled morsels above? They are so perfect for Valentine’s Day!).
And, I used the Chocolate Ganache recipe (shown above) from America’s Test Kitchen for the ganache-filled cupcake request.
Ingredients for 22 Red Velvet Cupcakes:
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1/3 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Baking Cocoa
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 to 2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red gel-paste food coloring
- 1 cup lowfat buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
Preheat oven to 350° F. Paper-line 22 muffin cups.
Sift flour, baking cocoa and salt together into a medium bowl.
Whisk together sugar, oil and eggs in large mixer bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in food coloring. Gradually stir in flour mixture alternately with buttermilk (adding flour in three additions and buttermilk in two). Combine baking soda and vinegar in small bowl (it will foam); quickly fold into batter.
Divide batter between paper cups, filling about 2/3 full. If you are using ganache or cookie dough for the center as above, now is the time to drop about a ¼ to ½ teaspoon right into the middle (press in slightly).
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until cupcake springs back when touched. Cool in pan for 10 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely.
Above is a peek at the center of the cookie-filled cupcake.
And the Chocolate Ganache Filled Cupcakes above (it sank all the way to the bottom leaving a pool of deliciousness).
Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 4 ounces light cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- Candy sprinkles (optional)
Beat cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy, scraping bowl occasionally. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until light and fluffy.
To pipe, place desired star tip into pastry bag. I like to use a heavy-duty food storage bag in place of a pastry bag for convenience (just need to snip the tip off and push the tip through). Place prepared bag in glass and wrap the sides over the glass. Spoon the frosting into the bag. Holding the tip end of the bag with one hand, twist the opened end with the other hand until the frosting begins to come out the tip. Pipe onto cupcakes.
Top with sprinkles.
Happy Valentine’s Day! May your day be filled with lots of hugs and kisses!
Related cupcake recipes:
Chocolate Lover’s Cookies
Surprise Prize Cupcakes