Sarah’s EZ Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Sarah’s EZ Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Red Velvet cupcakes always a hit without hitting you too hard in the pocketbook.  I start with Duncan Hines red velvet cake mix (I just want to save my red food color for icings) which is super red through and through.  I use this recipe mostly for red velvet cupcakes, works everytime….and no sweat, mix few ingredients and you got a red thick batter in a flash.

1 box Duncan Hines red velvet cake mix
3 large eggs
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted (use only butter, no substitute)
2 tablespoons dried buttermilk powder (optional)
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well-combined.  Scoop or ladle in paperlined muffin tins (about 2/3 full).  Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until done.  Let cool completely.  Frost with store-bought cream cheese icing (not same as you prepared frosting from scratch — but good enough).

ready to travel!



Moist Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (from scratch, this time!)

It’s time to make this red cake from scratch…just because it’s V-day!   And yes, Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone (here, there and everywhere!).  I’d always rely on Duncan Hines for this red cake — and my only reason:  it bothers me to stir in 2 tablespoons of red food coloring, I just thought it’s too much, oh well.    And by using a cake box mix, I don’t have to see the addition of  “a lot, really a lot” red color in the cake batter.  But Valentine’s Day is screaming “red day”, so for just this day…I said yes.  But then I really didn’t have liquid red food color…I used Wilton’s red red icing colors…and color was off.   Guess, you can only use liquid red food color for red velvet cakes…lesson learned.


3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons buttermilk powder
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water
2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 box (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
3 to 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

For the cake:   Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line two regular muffin pans with cupcake liners.   In a medium  bowl, whisk to aerate the flour, baking soda, salt, buttermilk powder and cocoa; set aside.  In a large mixing bowl and using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together.  Add eggs one a time, beating well until light and fluffy.  Stir in flour mixture, water and red food coloring, mixing well.  Add vinegar last, and beat until thoroughly incorporated.  Divide cake batter into lined muffin pan holes.  Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden skewer inserted into  center of cake comes out clean.  Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

For the frosting:  Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter together.  Stir in whipping cream and continue beating until fluffy.  Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well until smooth and well-combined.

Using small offset spatula, ice baked cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  Finish off with a dusting  of Wilton red sugar sprinkles.  Enjoy!

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German Chocolate Cupcakes

My friends loved these cupcakes…a winner!


German chocolate cake mix (mix ingredients and bake in papercup-lined muffin pans according to directions at back of the box)

Coconut Pecan Frosting:

3 egg yolks
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup shredded coconut or coconut flakes
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional, for garnish on top)

Stir together sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks and butter in a medium saucepan.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly.  Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, coconut and walnuts.  Cool to room temperature and frost cupcakes.

BOB RECIPE: German Chocolate Cake

Just what I needed for German Chocolate Cupcakes am baking/decorating tomorrow.  Will bake in paper-lined muffin pans and pile some of this icing on top of baked muffins.  Then sprinkle some cocoa nibs.

from: Flavorite (Supervalu, Inc.)
Product:  Sweetened Coconut

BOB RECIPE:  German Chocolate Cake

Bake German Chocolate Cake mix according to directions.  Cool & Frost with following icing.

2 eggyolks
3/4 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon margarine
1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat egg yolks; add milk, sugar and margarine.  Cook over medium heat for about 12 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and add coconut, nuts and vanilla.  Spread on cake.

Pistachio Walnut Cupcakes

You may want to add few drops of green food color to cake batter.

Pistachio Walnut Cupcakes

1 box (18.25 ounces) Betty Crocker’s Super-moist Vanilla Cake Mix (or any white/yellow cake mix)
1 package (3.4 ounces) instant Pistachio Pudding Mix
3 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 can (12 ounces) 7 Up or Sprite
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Lemon Glaze (optional)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
some liquid coffee creamer to thin glaze

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Line 2 regular muffin pans with paper liners.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat cake mix, pudding mix, eggs,  oil and lemon-lime soda until well-mixed.  Fold in chopped nuts.  Divide cake batter among 24 lined muffin holes.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in center of cupcakes comes out clean.    Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Prepare Glaze.   In a small mixing bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice.  Thin with few drops of liquid coffee creamer.  (I transfer this mixture to an empty catsup plastic container and push down glaze to dribble to cupcakes).

Makes 24 cupcakes.

Perfect for picnics!

Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes with Dried Mangoes

I have used ricotta cheese in the past — easy lasagna (ricotta cheese in place of bechamel sauce) or stuffed jumbo pasta shells (with either spinach of broccoli).  But I’ve never tried using ricotta cheese for sweets recipes.   A few browse of some published internet recipes made me decide to try one cake that stands out, Lemon Ricotta Cake.  With Calabro Cheese 3 lb Ricotta Cheese, there’s plenty of ricotta cheese for both savory and sweet creations.

Other ricotta manufacturers use the whey that has been drained off when making other cheeses, in a way, making it a cheese by-product.  Ricotta in Italy means “cooked again, recooked or cooked twice”.  Per Morena Febbo of Calabro Cheese,  Calabro ricotta is made from the very best fresh milk instead of leftover whey, gum, or stabilizers that most manufactures use.

Ricotta has mild, slightly sweet flavor and is creamy and has somewhat grainy texture.   It’s great with sweet berries, croissants, muffins, and can be used as stuffings, spreads and fillings.

I gave up on 2 recipes I tried after I got the same results — the middle of the baked cake sank down.   Could be one of these — too much wet ingredients, oven temperature too low, type of flour used (cake vs. all-purpose flour), and so on.   Finally I had much better results with my 3rd try, guess, it’s another case of 3rd times a charm.  And here’s the recipe…


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup Calabro ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 cup sour milk (1 tablespoon lemon juice plus enough milk to equal one cup)
1 cup snipped dried mangoes (available at Costco or Sam’s Club)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line 12 texan muffin pans with paper liners.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt using low speed of electric mixer to aerate.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar  and ricotta cheese until light and fluffy.   Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.   Stir in vanilla extract, almond extract and lemon zest.  Add flour mixture and  sour milk, beating until just combined (don’t overmix).  Fold in snipped dried mangoes.

Divide the cake batter in 12 prepared muffin pan holes.  Bake in the preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until done (wooden skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean).  Place in a wire rack to cool.  Either dust with confectioners’ sugar or drizzle lemon glaze (1 cup of confectioners’ sugar thinned with enough fresh lemon juice).

Yummy….Morena Febbo, Vice President of Sales of Calabro Cheese gave this recipe a thumbs-up.

“Bunny-yummy” Carrot Cupcakes

My “Easter-ready” bunnies (cute kids on the block) are well-prepared for the egg-hunt tomorrow; so I’m making these cupcakes for them to enjoy after all the “runnin’ n screamin’ yo”. This is a much easy to fix carrot cupcakes and it starts with a box of cake mix and “from-the-fridge” mayonnaise.   Light cupcakes made more refreshing with the addition of crushed pineapple.  Makes 24 cupcakes.

2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup canned crushed pineapple
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 box (18.25 oz) super moist yellow cake mix (pudding in the mix)
1 cup regular mayonnaise
4 large eggs
1/4 cup water

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, softened
1/4 cup Crisco vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ or powdered sugar
1-2 Tablespoon milk or liquid coffee creamer, enough to thin frosting

Garnish:  toasted shredded sweetened coconut and colored “egg-shaped” milk chocolate candies

Preheat oven to 350 F.   Prepare 24 cupcake tins with paper liners; set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, mayonnaise, eggs and water, using medium speed of electric mixer.  Scrape down sides of bowl.   Add shredded carrots, crushed pineapple and walnuts; mix until well blended.

Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake tins (use ice cream scooper).  Bake for 23 to 25 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean.  Cool completely on wire racks before frosting.

For frosting:  beat softened cream cheese, butter and shortening together using medium speed of electric mixer until soft and creamy.  Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating until smooth and fluffy.  Add vanilla extract and enough milk to thin frosting and achieve a spreading consistency.  Frost and decorate cupcakes.  Happy Easter!

Light and Moist Lemon Cupcakes

For a cupcake recipe to be successful, the baked cupcakes must be moist, light, just sweet-enough and really delicious.   Finish the cooled cupcakes with  just a dusting of confectioner’s sugar or a dollop of whipped cream frosting, and you can very well expect each one to consume at least 2 cupcakes.   I normally use a boxed cake mix and a small box of instand pudding mix for my cupcakes.  Baking then  is a breeze and results are always consistent.

Here’s sharing a really good lemon cupcake recipe from my recipe files.

Light and Moist Lemon Cupcakes

1 box (18.25 oz) lemon-flavored cake mix (with pudding in the mix; I use Betty Crocker)
1  small box (3.4 oz) vanilla instant pudding mix
grated zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup corn or canola oil
3/4 cup water
1 cup sour cream
4 large eggs
few drops of lemon yellow food color (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line 2 regular muffin pans (24 holes) with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl and using an electric mixer, blend all ingredients until smooth and well-combined.   (Don’t worry, there is no overmixing when using a boxed cake mix).

Fill the prepared cupcake liners with cupcake batter, about 3/4 full (you can use large ice cream scooper).  Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before transferring them to finish cooling on a wire rack.

I will use this recipe again for my Easter cupcakes.