Turn up the heat this Valentine’s Day with these red hot cream cheese cupcakes! See what I did there? Turn up the heat? Because the candies are hot. Anyway! A delicious cream cheese cupcake is sprinkled with spicy red hot candies and topped off with a pile of cream cheese buttercream. So good!
So the red hots don’t just sink to the bottom of the cupcakes, the trick is to let the mixed up batter (red hots and all) sit for about and hour or so, so they soften up and dissolve a little. Be sure to consider that when planning your baking/prep time. Here’s how to make them!
This will make 24 cupcakes.
For the cupcakes you’ll need:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 t. vanilla
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 1/3 c. whole milk
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. red hot candies
For the buttercream you’ll need:
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 c. powdered sugar
splash of whole milk
red food color or gel (if desired)
Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, combine the butter and the cream cheese together on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Mix in the sugar until the mixture is fluffy (about 20-30 seconds). Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until each egg is fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix on medium-high speed for another 20 seconds or so, until the batter is smooth. Add the vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Then mix in the milk and the flour, alternating between the two ingredients, mixing on medium speed until just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, to make sure everything is getting well-mixed—beat again on med-high speed for about a minute. It should be smooth and creamy. Fold in the red hots so they’re evenly distributed, taking care not to mix too much.
Now, leaving the batter in the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for an hour. What? YES. Put it in the fridge. If you don’t give the red hots a chance to soften and dissolve a little, they’ll just sink to the bottom of your cupcakes. Trust me.
After an hour, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees (F).
Fill 24 paper-lined cupcake tins about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the cake is set and the edges and tops of the cupcakes have turned golden brown. Allow them to cool in the cupcake tray for atleast 15 minutes before moving to a wire rack.
Once the cakes are cool, frost ‘em!
To make the buttercream, use the whisk attachment to cream together the butter and cream cheese until they’re well incorporated. Then whip in the powdered sugar, a cup at a time, until the mixture is fluffy. If the frosting is too thick, add a splash of milk. If it’s too thin, add a little more sugar. To get a pretty marbled look, put half the buttercream in a smaller bowl and use a little red or pink food coloring or gel to dye it the desired color. Then gently fold it back in with the white buttercream and pipe onto the cupcake. Garnish with a few red hot candies or small red sprinkles. Hot!