Gluten Free Red Velvet Valentines Cupcakes filled with chocolate ganache and topped with a perfectly smooth cream cheese frosting.
Love is in the air people! That is, if the amount of love in the air is measured by the aroma of Red Velvet Valentine Cupcakes baking in the oven. If that’s the case, move over Cupid cuz I’m madly in love!!!
No joke, these cupcakes really do scream love especially since I made them out of love for…well, not Ben (or any other man for that matter), but for my sassy little stinker Braelyn.
Let me tell you how this went down.
Braelyn turned 5 about a month ago, but just like every year her birthday gets jumbled around with all the other December festivities. Every year I tell myself that we will plan a birthday party the beginning of December before the Christmas chaos begins.
Every year I lie to myself.
And then I am stuck, exhausted from the holidays, having to plan a birthday party in January. Yawn, groan, ugh. But, of course, she’s worth it. So off I go planning a party.
This year was a little different. Instead of a full blown birthday party, I told her that she could invite 4 friends over for an “unslumber” birthday party. We would make pizza, play games, watch a movie, and eat some cupcakes. Box mix cupcakes. Betty Crocker Gluten Free Devil’s Food Cake Mix cupcakes to be exact.
After some negotiating, the amount of friends increased to 5, and she was happy to have this special late night birthday bash.
I told myself I wasn’t going to decorate, nor was I going to plan a bunch of activities. They were old enough to roam free playing throughout the house.
Fast forward to the day of the party:
- I couldn’t bear to open a box mix for my little girl’s big day, so within an hour I had 2 dozen homemade red velvet cupcakes ready to be filled with chocolate ganache and frosting with the best cream cheese frosting you’ll ever have.
- I found a bin of old party décor and began frantically decorating away, anticipating the look on Braelyn’s face when she came home from school to find the house decked out in pink.
- I discovered an unused piñata back from Halloween up in the guest bedroom closet, so I rounded up some string and a wooden dowel for a surprise party game.
- I found the “Pin the Crown on the Princess” game I had made for Braelyn’s birthday 2 years ago and taped that to the wall for another surprise party game.
- I gathered up unused stickers and pencils throughout the house, along with just enough unused party bags from last year, to make party favors for the kids that were coming.
Sit back and relax??? I guess not.
But let me tell you, the joy I saw in Braelyn’s smile when she walked in the front door was worth every hectic minute of prepping for a last minute party. It truly was priceless.
And the giggle she made when she eyed the “pink” cupcakes on the counter was just too darn cute. Who knew a cupcake could be so important?
Not only were these Red Velvet Valentine Cupcakes absolutely adorable, but they were downright delicious; almost too good to serve to a crazy bunch of 5 year olds. They were perfectly soft, rich in chocolaty flavor, and tenderly moist. Aw, a perfect cupcake indeed.
And the frosting was amazing! If the frosting being licked clean from every child’s cupcake is an indicator of how good this frosting was, well then it was a crowd pleaser indeed!
The secret to a delicious cream cheese frosting is to use a splash of lemon juice instead of vanilla. It intensifies the cream cheese flavor without adding a lemony flavor. Plus, you want to use heavy whipping cream instead of milk to thin the frosting. It helps the frosting create volume and hold its shape without having to use an obscene amount of sugar.
And, of course, I had to add some kind of filling to make this the best red velvet cupcake around, so I whipped up some chocolate ganache and added it to the middle of each cupcake.
Adding fillings to cupcakes is really quite simple, especially if you have an apple corer to remove the middles. If not, just cut a small cone out of the tops of each cupcake. A cupcake just isn’t a cupcake without some kind of filling!
All in all, I would say that Braelyn’s birthday bash was quite the success. From the cupcakes to the games. From the food to the friends. This girl is one lucky diva.
Happy Birthday Braelyn Boo!
- For the Cake:
- 1½ sticks butter, room temperature
- 1⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon red food coloring
- ¾ cup nonfat Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup milk
- ½ cup potato starch
- ½ cup gluten free oat flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- ¼ cup white rice flour
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon plus ⅛ teaspoon xanthan gum
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- For Chocolate Ganache:
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- ¾ cup milk chocolate chips
- For Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
- 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tins with paper liners. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl begin making cupcake batter by creaming together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 5 mins). Add eggs in one at a time and beat for 30 seconds after each addition. Add vanilla and food coloring and beat until combined. In a separate smaller bowl, mix together milk and Greek yogurt until smooth. Set aside.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together potato starch, oat flour, cocoa powder, coconut flour, white rice flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt. Whisk until dry mix is thoroughly blended.
- Add half of dry mix to butter mixture. Beat on low until combined. Add milk/yogurt mixture and beat on low until combined. Add remaining dry mixture and beat until well blended.
- Fill cupcake liners ⅔ way full and bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes or until tops bounce back at touch of a finger and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove cool pan on cooling rack for 5 mins. Remove cupcakes and continue cooling directly on rack until completely cool.
- Using an apple corer, remove middles of cupcakes, ⅔ of the way down. Or cut little cones out of the tops of the cupcakes.
- Make ganache filling by heating ¼ cup heavy whipping cream in microwave for 30 seconds. Dump in chocolate chips. Allow to sit for one minute and stir until mixture is smooth. You may need to heat for an additional 10-15 seconds in the microwave. Fill centers of cupcakes with ganache.
- Make cream cheese frosting by beating cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Beat until smooth. Add lemon juice, pinch of salt, and heavy whipping cream. Beat until smooth. Add additional 2 cups of powdered sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add more cream to thin or more sugar to thicken.
- Frost cupcakes and decorate as desired. Store extra cupcakes in airtight container for up to 3 days in fridge or up to 2 months in freezer. Serve at room temperature.