Red Velvet Cupcakes … the sweet simple way

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing … a favorite for so many people.

I love cream cheese icing … can you see the flecks of vanilla bean in the photo above?  I love, love, love it :)

Now, true confession time … I don’t know how to say this, so I’ll just get straight to the point … Red Velvet is not my favorite cake.  There, I said it!

We are all entitled to our own opinion … right?

Please don’t hate me … I realize that I may be the only person on earth that feels this way.

Let me clarify, I don’t dislike red velvet … I find to be OK … it’s just not my first pick.

I have tried to love it … I’ve had red velvet at several bakeries, made by friends, etc. … but honestly, I found all of them to be OK, but they didn’t turn me into a lover.  It’s my problem … no one’s fault.

I swear … I am not a cake snob … maybe I’m just weird ;)

I have used red velvet cake mixes several times and thought the results were fine … they didn’t turn me into a red velvet lover.

I really want to fit in .. and be a red velvet lover.

I really hate all these sentences that begin with “I” … but I’m voicing only my opinions :)

I gave it another try …  made a few changes to a cake mix, which created a moister and more flavorful cake.

I’m on my way to be a red velvet lover … I’m not going to give up!

RED VELVET CUPCAKES … the sweet simple way

  • 1 Red Velvet Cake Mix (I use Duncan-Hines)
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk
  • 4 Eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1/3 Cup Canola Oil
  • 24 paper cupcake paper liners
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Place paper liners in cupcake pans.
  2. Using a large mixing bowl, beat eggs slightly with an electric mixer.  Add buttermilk and oil, stir to combine.
  3. Add cake mix and cocoa powder.  Break up any large lumps of cake mix.
  4. Beat on low for 30 seconds or until moistened.  Scrape sides of bowl.  Beat on medium speed for 2 more minutes.
  5. Fill prepared cupcake pans.
  6. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes.  Cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. Frost with cream cheese icing.  Enjoy!      Makes 24 cupcakes

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1/4 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 – 8 ounce package of light (or regular) cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
  • 1 pound (4 1/2 cups) confectioners powdered sugar
  1. Using and electric mixer – beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla until combined well.
  2. Add 1/2 of the sugar and beat well.
  3. Add remaining sugar and beat on medium speed until creamy.

Enough of my opinions … what’s your opinion?  Are you a RED VELVET lover?



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Only 3 days left until Halloween!

I can’t believe that October has come … and is almost gone!  All the other holidays will be here before we know it.  Time sure does fly when you are having fun!  I certainly have had fun sharing my ideas with you … and there are more to come :)

Here is a quick summary of Halloween …

   Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops

   Eyeball Marshmallow Pops

   Textured Halloween Bark

   Witch Hat Cupcakes

   The Witch is Dead … Cupcakes

   The Bride of Frankenstein Pops

   Tangerine Jack-o-lanterns

   Black bottom cupcakes with spider webs

And for fall … this is what I have made so far …

   Peanut butter & chocolate acorns

   Candy corn popcorn


Now I am off to the kitchen …



Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Peanut butter cupcakes + peanut butter frosting = one happy hubby!  But I made these cupcakes for his brother’s birthday … and he was happy.

I made a few small adjustments to this recipe, but do not remember where it came from … so I can’t give credit to the creator … sorry.

Line your cupcake pans with 20 paper or foil liners …

In a medium-size bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt … set aside …

This is my favorite measuring cup for peanut butter … it’s from Pampered Chef, but there are others available.  I like the fact that it is clear and easy to tell if you have air pockets.   Then you just push the peanut butter out and don’t have to keep scooping and scraping …

In large mixing bowl and paddle attachment, beat together peanut butter and butter until smooth …

Add sugar gradually and beat until totally combined …

Continue beating for about 3 minutes or until mixture is a light tan color …

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, about 2 minutes total …

Add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture …

Stir in the vanilla …

Scoop the batter into the lined cupcake pans … about 1/4 to 1/3 cup each … and bake …

For the frosting … in a medium size bowl, beat peanut butter and butter until smooth …

Mix in half of the confectioners’ sugar …

Alternate with milk …

Beat until smooth and no lumps remain …

Frost your cooled cupcakes …

Then roll the edges in chopped peanuts …

 Tomorrow I will show you how I “wrote” Happy Birthday on these cupcakes.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting


1-3/4 cups unbleached flour (or all-purpose)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (salted is OK)

1-1/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

3/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened (salted is OK)

2-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup milk

1/2 cup chopped lightly salted peanuts, for garnish

1.  Heat oven to 350°.  Line cupcake pans with 20 foil or paper liners.

2.  Cupcakes:  In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

3.  In a large mixer bowl with paddle attachment, beat together peanut butter and butter until smooth.  Add sugar gradually: beat until thoroughly combined, and mixture is a light tan color, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, about 2 minutes total.

4.  Add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Stir in vanilla extract.  Divide batter evenly among prepared cups, about 1/4 – 1/3 cup for each.

5.  Bake at 350° for 25-27 minutes, or until lightly browned on tops.  Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

6.  Frosting:  In a medium bowl, beat peanut butter and butter until smooth.  Add half of the confectioners’ sugar, alternating with milk.  Beat until smooth and no lumps remain.  Spread over cupcakes.  Garnish with chopped peanuts.

Makes 20 cupcakes.

I ♥ comments!           Hoosier Homemade - Making Your House a Home

Cheesecake Bars with Sugar Cookie Crust

Summer time is birthday time for our family.  In a five-week span we celebrate the following birthdays … my hubby (the peanut butter addict), son #2, son #3, one nephew, one brother-in-law, one sister-in-law and mine!   My two sons’ birthdays are one day apart … not good planning on our part.  If we aren’t careful, we could suffer from birthday cake overload.  We have learned to have birthday dessert … not always cake.  This is one of those desserts!

Before we start … let me explain that I sometimes use mixes for cakes or brownies.  But, I always make cookies from scratch … never a mix … never ready made cookie dough … except for this recipe.  I have had this recipe for many years, it calls for ready made refrigerated sugar cookie dough.  After making these cheesecake bars several times, I thought it was silly to buy sugar cookie dough … so I made my own dough.  I don’t know why … but the cookies made with the ready made refrigerated dough won the contest.   I felt defeated … the Pillsbury Doughboy won … well, at least he’s cute!

I have altered the recipe to fit our family’s tastes … I live with picky people! Today we have one half blueberry and one half chocolate chip.

This is what you will need … sugar cookie dough, cream cheese, sugar, an egg, blueberry pie filling, chocolate chips and oil spray …

Spray a 9″ x 13″ pan … then press the room temperature sugar cookie dough on the bottom and slightly up the sides of the pan …

Beat the softened cream cheese and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer …

Add the egg and beat until smooth …

It should look smooth like this … if you didn’t drop it on the floor like I did!  Good news … the mixer survived and it didn’t even crack a floor tile!

Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the crust …

Sprinkle chocolate chips over half of the pan to make Son #2 happy …

I can’t forget Son #3 … so dollop (that’s a technical term) blueberry pie filling on the other half …

Using a butter or dinner knife, swirl the pie filling with the cream cheese and press the chocolate chips in the cream cheese a little …

Bake … and cool completely before cutting …

The original recipe called for blueberry pie filling only … I like to add a little lemon zest in the cream cheese.  I am giving you the recipe for the way I made it … one half blueberry and one half chocolate chip.  This is one of those recipes that can be changed to fit your needs.  Have fun with it!

Cheesecake Bars with Sugar Cookie Crust

1 16.5 ounce package of refrigerated sugar cookie dough (room temperature)

8 ounces cream cheese (softened)

1 egg

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup blueberry pie filling (1-1/2 cups if making all blueberry)

3/4 cup chocolate chips (1-1/2 cups if making all chocolate chip)

1.  Press dough evenly in a greased 9″ x 13″ baking pan.

2.  In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar.  Add egg and beat until smooth.

3.  Spread cream cheese mixture over cookie dough.

4.  Dollop pie filling on half of the cheese mixture and sprinkle chocolate chips on the other half.

5.  Using a knife, swirl the pie filling and cream cheese mixture.  Press the chocolate in the cream cheese mixture.

6.  Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until edges of crust are golden brown.

7.  Cool completely, cut into bars, refrigerate.

I enjoy comments!   Please leave one below …

Sweet Slider Cupcakes

Sliders … teeny weenie hamburgers … on cupcakes?  My sliders aren’t hamburgers at all … but I’m sure you knew that.  They are made with Nilla Wafers, York peppermint patties and candy coating.  The cupcakes … well, it is summer … I’m lazy … I used a mix … but I did make my favorite decorator icing (recipe above – all butter version).

This is what you will need to make the sliders … Nilla Wafers, small York peppermint patties and candy coating (frosting could also be used) – red/ketchup, orange/cheese and green/lettuce … I happened to have some candy in tubes (which is very handy, but not necessary) …

This is just like building a real burger … get your buns (Nilla wafers) and hamburger (York) patties ready … put some ketchup (red candy) on the bottom bun …


Then put the hamburger patty on the melted candy … add some melted cheddar cheese (orange candy) on top of the patty …


Don’t forget the lettuce (green candy) … and the top bun … your sliders are cooked!


Now, for the cupcakes … bake your favorite recipe or mix … make your icing … I used a bag and a plain round tip (#12) …

This is the voice of experience … do not make your icing and put it in the fridge … then try to pipe it out of a bag while it is still cold (like I did) … or this will happen … a hard skinny line of icing comes out of the tip … it breaks … it has some pretty big air bubbles … it is pretty ugly … let your icing come up to room temperature (or at least close) …

But help is on the way … sprinkles will save the day!   Sprinkles are a wonderful invention and cover a multitude of boo boos …

Place the sliders on top of the cupcakes …

I believe that if some sprinkles are good … more must be better!

Topless S’mores Bars

Do s’mores need graham crackers on the top and bottom?  I have been wanting to make a s’mores creation for some time … but I really wanted to see the golden marshmallow … the result is what you see … topless s’more bars.

Thank goodness for family … they are always willing to be members of  the “test kitchen” a.k.a. guinea pigs.   Normally I think of s’mores with warm marshmallows and melty chocolate … but the consensus was “refrigerate them to chill the chocolate” …  I agree.  I liked using the StackerMallows … they made perfect cutting lines for servings!

You will need StackerMallows, milk chocolate chips, graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter …

Mix the graham cracker crumbs and sugar …

Melt the butter … mix it well with the graham cracker crumbs and sugar …

Press the crumb mixture into a 9″ x 13″ pan …


Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the crust …

Lay the StackerMallows on the chocolate chips … don’t let the marshmallows touch the side of the pan … 30 marshmallows fit just right …

Pop them in the oven … s’mores need toasted marshmallows …

Topless S’mores Bars

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter (1-1/2 sticks)

2 cups milk chocolate chips

30 StackerMallows (about 1/2 of a bag)

Mix graham cracker crumbs and sugar.  Melt butter and stir into crumb mixture.  Spread mixture and press into bottom of 9″ x 13″ pan.  Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over crust.  Lay StackerMallows in a single layer over chocolate chips.  Bake at 400° for about 12 minutes or until marshmallows are golden.  Cool or chill and serve.    30 servings

Creamy Lemon Ice

In celebration of the first day of summer I made my first batch of lemon ice … cold, sweet, creamy and fat-free!  I have had this recipe for many years … it calls for half-and-half … wonderfully creamy half-and-half … not exactly Weight Watcher friendly.  Have you ever tried fat-free half-and-half?   I have used it in other recipes … even corn chowder … it works well and tastes good.  So … for the first time I used it to make lemon ice.  The results … wonderful … at least in my opinion.  Of course the real stuff is excellent … but my waistline needs all the help it can get.

The real inspiration for making this is … it is summer … it has been hot in southern California … we finished picking all the lemons off the tree … I had fat-free half-and-half in the fridge … and actually had ripe berries on the vine!

This is what you will need … lemons, sugar and fat-free (or regular) half-and-half … a zesting tool and a reamer are helpful …


Stir together the half-and-half and sugar until the sugar dissolves …

Zest your lemon … then juice it … I used 1 medium  and 1 small lemon (I have Meyer lemons which are very juicy) …

Stir in the lemon juice and zest …


Pour into a shallow 9″ x 13″ pan … cover tightly … pop in the freezer … try to wait patiently for 4 hours …  cut in squares or scoop …


Creamy Lemon Ice

2 cups (1 pint) half-and-half or fat-free half-and-half

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Berries (optional)

Stir together the half-and-half and sugar until the sugar dissolves.  Stir in lemon juice and zest.  Pour into a shallow 9″ x 13″ pan.  Cover tightly.  Freeze at least 4 hours.  Cut in squares or scoop.  Serve with berries if desired.

Visit Gooseberry Patch for more Sweet Treats!