Chocolate Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Meringue

Chocolate Red Velvet Cupcakes

Chocolate Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Meringue

From my story “Holiday On Ice”

Yield: Eight to Nine cupcakes.

The Ingredients

1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

¼ cup vegetable oil

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 egg

¾ cup all purpose flour

¾ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp kosher salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 ½ tbsp buttermilk or plain yogurt

½ cup hot water

1 tsp red food coloring

The Process

Preheat your oven to 350˚F and prepare a muffin tin by lining with paper muffin liners.

In a small saucepan over very low heat, carefully melt the chocolate and set aside to cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the sugar and oil until slushy, approximately 2 minutes.

Add the egg, and with the mixer on medium high beat until smooth.

Stop the mixer, and add the egg, vanilla, buttermilk or yogurt, and the melted chocolate. Beat on high speed until the ingredients are combined and smooth.

Sift in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Combine on the lowest speed just until combined. Combine the food coloring with the hot water. Add to the mixer, and continue mixing on lowest speed until the batter has just absorbed the water. (The batter will be very loose.)

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup about ½ to 2/3 full. Bake in the pre-heated oven for approximately 11 to 14 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow the cupcakes to cool in the tin for ten minutes. Remove to a cooling rack to continue cooling. When completely cooled, frost with Cream Cheese Meringue (below.)

Cream Cheese Meringue

The Ingredients

4 egg whites

1 cup sugar

½ cup water

¼ tsp salt

½ pkg. (4 oz.) low-fat cream cheese, softened

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp frozen concentrated orange juice (thawed)

1 tbsp confectioners’ sugar

The Process

Part One: Meringue

1)       In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the wire whisk attachment, place the egg whites and salt.

2)       In a small saucepan with a candy thermometer attached, bring the sugar and water to a boil.

3)       When sugar and water begin to boil, start mixer, whipping egg whites on high speed until soft peaks appear. If the egg whites reach soft peaks before the sugar has completed the next step below, turn off mixer.

4)       Continue boiling sugar until it reaches 238˚F (soft ball stage). Remove from heat. Very carefully pour the boiling sugar into a Pyrex glass measuring cup.

5)       Restart mixer. While continuing to whip egg whites on medium high speed, pour hot sugar from Pyrex cup in a steady thin stream into the mixing bowl.

6)       Continue to whip the meringue until outside of mixing bowl is completely cool to the touch.

Part Two: Buttercream

7)       Continuing to whip the meringue on medium speed, add the softened cream cheese one tablespoon at a time, allowing it to combine completely into the meringue before adding the next tablespoon.

8)       Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and thawed orange juice and mix until combined into the mixture completely.

To frost the Chocolate Red Velvet Cupcakes, invert the cooled cupcakes and gently dip them into the meringue coating the top. Allow the frosted cupcakes to set in the refrigerator.

Note: The cupcakes and the Cream Cheese Meringue can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator, but for best results they should not be assembled until the day you will be serving the cupcakes.

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