Monday, November 29, 2010

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...Cupcakes

Thanksgiving has come and gone; Black Friday has come and gone; now it's time for some serious baking!  This weekend I noticed the drastic changes that has beseech us--Christmas lights are shining brightly on homes, trees wrapped and tied on automobiles, and catalogues stuffed in my postal box.  All of this signifies that the holiday season is definitely upon us.

Our little Madison celebrates her 2nd birthday today, although her "party" isn't until Sunday, I decided to bake up some cupcakes in her honor and the start of the baking season for me.
 The "cake" in the cupcake is my Red Velvet recipe.  I was born in Tennessee and that southern specialty is one of my favorites and let's face it, makes the perfect color for the season.  However, instead of making the usual cream cheese frosting, I decided to make a "cheesecake" filling and the icing is a rich buttercream.

The holly and berries reminded me of our home in Massachusetts where we had two beautiful holly bushes by our front door.  I loved to watch the cardinals and wax wings come and pluck the berries from the branches.  Additionally, during heavy snow storms in New England, small birds would take refuge in the interior of the holly.  I piped the leaves, but found the berries at Williams-Sonoma.  They are called Deco Drops and come in a number of colors, but this red is perfect to resemble actual berries.

Cupcakes are always perfect and if you're doing a holiday dessert table, these could be your centerpiece.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with a Cheesecake filling

1 recipe of Red Velvet Cake

Fill cupcake papers with batter, three-quarters full.  Bake in a Preheated 350F-degree oven for 15-18 minutes.  Don't over bake and test after 15 minutes.  Let cool completely.  I like to leave the cupcakes in the pans to cool.
Meanwhile make up the Buttercream frosting and the Cheesecake filling.

Cheesecake Filling:
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
4 T. heavy cream
In a medium bowl, using a hand-held mixer, beat the cream cheese.  Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and blend completely.  Add the heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time, and beat well.  The mixture should resemble a "set" cheesecake state. Set aside.

5 stick (2 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
7 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 T Vanilla Extract

6-7 drops of Green paste color
Deco drops

In the bowl of the KitchenAid, using the whisk attachment, beat the butter until fluffy.  Add half of the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and beat well to combine.  Add the remainder of the confectioners' sugar, one cup at a time until thoroughly combined and fluffy.
(If your bowl does not hold all the ingredients, you can make it in half batches)

When the cupcakes are cooled completely, use an apple corer to remove a center "plug" of cake for the filling.
Using a piping bag and a #7 round tip, pipe the cheesecake filling into the center hold.

Fill a large bag with the buttercream (before tinting it green) and a #808 tip and using a light pressure, swirl the top of the cupcake to coat.
Once all the cupcakes are iced, tint the remaining buttercream with the green paste color (to the color you like), I used about 7 drops.  With another piping bag and a #366 tip, create the holly leaves.

I created three leaves and then, added the Deco Drops in the center.

The cake was moist and the filling was delicious with a nice surprise in the middle, which is what I like to add with my cupcakes.
Happy Birthday, sweet little girl.  You've brought so much joy into all our lives and definitely will keep us on our toes. Love you, Mimi and PopPop


  1. She is too cute! Happy! Happy Birthday to sweet little Maddie and to Erin too : ) These cupcakes look both gorgeous and incredibly yummy! I think with all this talk of New England you need to move back that way! ; ) Love you xo

  2. I agree! I'm packing my bags :)

  3. Thanks for posting these. Just one look and I'm in holly jolly baking mode. Or at least, cupcake eating mode...

  4. Thanks Mom! Maddie would love the red deco drops on top. She kept picking off the red "ladybug" (M&Ms) on the cupcakes I made her today. It was fun skyping with you yesterday while Maddie played with her presents. Too bad you can't send those cupcakes over the internet!

  5. I would send them FedEx, but even when I put on the box fragile, this end up, they still toss them around like footballs. You all will just have to come here for cupcakes!

  6. Happy Birthday Sweet Maddie! You are certainly a "Cutie"! Susan, the cupcake looks so elegant on it's very own cupcake pedestal!

  7. I know. I just couldn't resist buying it to show off my cupcake creations! It's those little things that add so much.

  8. These look divine! So pretty too.
    Happy Birthday to Madison!

  9. Hello dear friend

    A happy Birthday to your Maddie. Two gorgeous grand children. I can just imagine myself being a granny like you. Always baking for someone~ or some celebration. Susan you have such talent in this department. You are so creative with your flavours and decoration. I look so forward to visiting here over this Season. You have so many wonderful ideas...I send my love to you .

    Love you

  10. happy belated birthday wishes to such alittle cutie, that smile is gorgeous and those cakes, oh my lady, you always make my mouth water, yum yum xx

  11. As usual, I'm catching up on the internet, but I always go to your site. I love red velvet and cream cheese and buttercream - sounds like the perfect cupcake to me! As for our little cupcake, Maddie, we had a glorious birthday celebration on Sunday! I'm sure Erin will fill you in on the festivities! Hope to see you around the holidays! Tess