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Recently I’ve been long on desire to bake and take pretty pictures of my creations, but short on time, energy, inspiration, and the willpower to blog about it.  The result?  I made these delicious Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes a week ago, they’ve all been consumed, but I’m only now posting about it:

The recipe popped up on Food Network earlier this month, presumably because Valentine’s is on the way.  The skinny?  Chocolate cake with cayenne pepper, and cream cheese frosting with cinnamon spice and cinnamon liqueur (the recipe calls for cinnamon schnapps, but I used After Shock because it’s what I had).

Believe it or not, these are red velvet cupcakes; I just don’t own five gallons of red food dye so they didn’t come out particularly red.  But the cake was delicious–moist and airy—and the frosting was too.  Together, they were magic.

For the most part, I followed the recipe linked above, but with the following changes:

  • Again, I used After Shock, not cinnamon schnapps, in the frosting.  My guess is cinnamon schnapps would be a little closer in flavor profile to the cinnamon spice used in the frosting and may be a bit better, but that’s only a guess.
  • I cut back the sugar in the frosting to 4 or 5 cups instead of the 5,672 cups the recipe calls for.  I hate super sweet frosting–I find it so cloying that I can’t eat it–so I just stopped adding powdered sugar once the frosting was stiff enough and tasted like if I added any more sugar, I’d instantly get diabetes.
  • For the decoration (my own fancy cupcake twist), I simply melted some semisweet chocolate chips, added some cayenne pepper, and piped hearts on a piece of aluminum foil (you can do this with by putting the melted chocolate in a sandwich baggy with the tip of the corner cut off).  I added a couple drops of red gel food dye to some turbinado sugar to get the red sugar crystals, which I sprinkled on the chocolate hearts after piping.  Placing them in the freezer for ten minutes helps them firm up.

All in all, I’d probably make these again. I took most of them to work and they were a huge hit, though because they are so spicy, I think they turned some folks off.  To be safe, I’d recommend only using half of the cayenne called for in the cake if you want the cupcakes to be palatable to a wider audience.

Personally though, I like it hot. ;)