Cupcakes, Poppers, and Trifles…oh my! Yup! 3 Red Velvet desserts from ONE Red Velvet recipe–all at once! Red Velvet Cake is such a classic dessert; it’s a favorite of mine from childhood. The cake part of this recipe tastes just as I remember–smooth, moist, hint of chocolate. The frosting is a fresh take on the traditional cream cheese.
My good friend, Cupcake Sue, made these cute little cupcake poppers and posted them on Facebook. I was already thinking Red Velvet for Valentine’s Day, saw the poppers and thought, “How adorable would Red Velvet Poppers be?!” Inspired by Sue, here they are, plus a couple bonus Red Velvet treats.
Here’s what you’ll need for the cake part:
2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 TBSP cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup canola oil (or any light vegetable oil)
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBSP red food coloring (This is an entire 1 ounce bottle!)
24 cupcake liners (if you plan to make the entire batch into cupcakes)
Here’s what you need for the frosting:
2 cups room temperature mascapone cheese (An Italian cream cheese–find it in the deli section of your grocery if it’s not in the dairy section. You could use cream cheese, but your frosting will not be as light in texture.)
1/2 cup cream
zest of 1 lemon (yellow part only–the white part is bitter)
1 cup powdered sugar
Ready? Here we go! Preheat your oven to 350.
Spray mini-muffin pans with spray oil–I’d recommend the kind with a little flour already in it–my little muffin cakes stuck, which is no problem for the poppers, since you only need the tops to be whole, but would have made them come out cleaner and faster.
If you plan to make JUST poppers, the recipe will fill 60 mini-muffins. I have enough pans to make 48, so I planned to make some cupcakes as well–I had enough batter left over to make 6 cupcakes in addition to the 48 mini-muffins. Line cupcake tins with liners–I got some cute Valentine-y ones!
Sift all the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt) into a bowl and set aside.
Add all the wet ingredients (sugar, eggs, oil, yogurt, vinegar, vanilla, food coloring) to a mixing bowl and blend until smooth. You can use a whisk, electric mixer or stand mixer for this. BTW, sugar is included with wet ingredients because it dissolves in them.
Wow is that RED! Next, add the dry ingredients to the wet and once again, blend until smooth.
Fill each mini-muffin with 1 TBSP of batter. I used a measuring spoon to scoop with, and a small spatula to level the spoon and scrape out the batter. You could use your finger to level and scrape, but you’ll end up with a red finger! Keeping the amount in each mini consistant will keep your popper size consistant–making them easier to match up.
Continue to fill minis and/or cupcakes until batter is gone. Here are my 48 minis and 6 cupcakes:
Bake minis for 10-12 minutes, cupcakes for 25-30 minutes. Times vary with different ovens. Mine were done at 10 and 25 minutes respectively. I baked in batches so I wouldn’t have to move pans around for even baking. If you have a convection oven, you could bake everything at once, leaving the cupcakes for their entire time, of course.
Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out cleanly–no raw batter clinging to it.
Cool minis in the pans for 5 minutes. Remove them from pans and cool completely on racks–another 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from their pans as soon as they are cool enough to handle; cool completely on racks.
While your cakes cool, make the frosting. Put everything in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
To zest the lemon, use the tiny holes of a box-style grater or a microplane. I like the microplane–I find it easier to use and clean, plus I seem to end up with more zest in the bowl, where a box grater tends to “capture” it and keep some in those little hard-to-clean holes!
Be careful to grate off ONLY the yellow part of the lemon peel.
Using a whisk or electric mixer, beat the frosting ingredients until they are smooth and well blended.
Now the fun part! To make the poppers, cut off the tops of the mini-muffins, spread frosting on one and top with another to make a little tiny “moon pie.” Save the bottoms to make trifles with.
I put all of my poppers on a cake stand and then dusted them with powdered sugar to make them extra pretty! (I brushed out the sieve I used to sift the dry ingredients and used it to dust the powdered sugar over the poppers.)
Oh my gosh aren’t they pretty?! I just frosted the cupcakes and put little Valentine picks in them.
And then! I had a wee bit of frosting left over. Fold whipped cream into it to make a trifle filling. I used pilsner glasses, but any tall, clear glass will do. Using the bottoms from the minis, I layered cake, then whipped cream/frosting, then more cake and then whipped cream/frosting until the glass was filled. I topped with a final bit of the frosting cream, sliced almonds and dark chocolate shavings.
Wow! That’s a lot of Valentine Yumminess! You’ve just made romantic trifles as dessert for you and your sweetie, cupcakes for the kids, and poppers to give as Valentines for your friends!
I started feeling like a pastry chef as these beautiful desserts all came together–and all from ONE cake recipe, in a matter of a couple hours! I found the cute little Valentine picks packaged with matching cupcake liners in the baking aisle of my grocery store. You can even find a mix for Red Velvet cake there, but this cake is truly so easy, why not try it from scratch?! For sure make the frosting from scratch. The lemon zest and mascapone make for a light, bright topping to the moist cake. YUMMY!