Red Velvet Mini Cupcakes with Light Cream Cheese Frosting

Did you catch the mini cupcake episode of "Throwdown With Bobby Flay?" (I'm hooked on that show -- I think I've seen every episode since it began.) Those mini cupcakes looked so cute that I wanted to try making them the first chance I got. I made them for a dinner party that happened just before Valentine's Day.

When I checked out Bobby Flay's mini cupcake recipe, it looked like a lot of bother. Plus, I had people coming and the house needed cleaning! I turned to the recipe that served me well with the Big Top Cupcake. I figured if it worked well for a big cupcake, it would also work well small. And it did, for the most part.

The only problem I had was that I have three different mini muffin pans (I pick them up when I see them at a garage sale or thrift shop). Each pan is a little different.
The one on the top left was the deepest, and the liner nestled down in the cup. The pan on the right had the widest cups, so there was wiggle room around the liners. The one on the bottom left was shallow, so the liners extended above the top of the pan. They baked at different rates, so I had to take each pan out of the oven at different times. Which came out best?
The deepest pan produced cakes that were tall and skinny. The pan with the widest cups produced squat cupcakes, and the liners separated from the cupcakes in places. The shallow pan, in which the liners extended above the pan, produced cupcakes that were just the right shape and size.

Bear in mind that the pans you see above accommodated half of the dough. I didn't want to make 96 mini cupcakes, so I made the other half of the batch into a dozen regular cupcakes, which we enjoyed on Valentines Day.

I frosted the cupcakes with a lightened cream cheese icing. It's an amalgamation of a recipe from  The Best Light Recipe (my current favorite cookbook) and another I saw in Cooking Light. All the guys in the family were begging the lick the bowl -- shhhh, we won't tell them it's light.

If you're following Weight Watchers, each mini cupcake with a little dollop of cream cheese icing is 2 Points Plus.

Red Velvet Mini Cupcakes

(Makes 96 mini cupcakes - 1 Weight Watchers Points Plus each)

Vegetable spray
1 18.25-oz. pkg. red velvet cake mix
1 cup milk (I used 2%. If you're not watching your weight, whole tastes best.)
8 tbsp. (1 stick) butter, melted
3 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

Place the cake mix, milk, melted butter, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping the sides down again if needed. The batter should look well blended.

Scoop the batter into the liners. They should be about 3/4 full. (If you happen to have the Pampered Chef scoops, the smallest one is perfect for mini cupcakes). Bake the cakes until they spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, about 10-12 minutes for mini cupcakes. (If you are baking regular size cupcakes, start checking them at 18 minutes.)

Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 10 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
(Frosts 96 mini cupcakes - 1 Weight Watchers Points Plus per serving)

18 ounces Neufchatel (1/3 less fat) cream cheese, softened but still cool (This is a weird amount -- a bit over 2 packages -- because I increased the recipe by 1 1/2. You probably could get by with 2 packages, which is 16 oz.)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (9 ounces) confectioners (powdered) sugar

Combine cream cheese and vanilla in a stand mixer bowl. Mix on stir until just combined. Add sugar and mix until combined but still lumpy. Finish stirring with a rubber spatula. (If you mix too much with the stand mixer, it will become too soupy).

I frosted with pastry bag and large star tip (Wilton 6B).

For tons and tons of other sweets ideas, check out this post, from Sweet as Sugar Cookies.


Angela said...

Those look fabulous. I love the "three bears" visual, too--amazing how much difference the pan can make!

Cookie Madness said...

If you want to make another cake mix based red velvet, I recommend The Cake Mix Doctor's -- the one that begins with white cake mix. She has a red velvet cake recipe that uses a German Chocolate cake mix, but the white cake mix based on is better and has more of a tangy, distinctive, flavor. Here's a link. I posted it on Recipezaar long ago and people reviewed it.

Karen Harris said...

Just taking a break from my next blog post that is kicking my rear and saw yours and had to smile because I'm doing a red velvet post too. Love your recipe and photo! I'm a Throwdown junkie too.

Lisa said...

Those cupcakes look divine. Love how you lightened up the frosting. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog until tomorrow night and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link your cupcakes up.

Anonymous said...

These look YUMMY! I'm from Sunday Shutterbugs and I saw you visited us and left a link to view your photo on flickr, but it's a private photo so we can't see :) Wanna fix it and let us know so we can check it out? :)

Anonymous said...

2 WW points for those? Not bad at all!
They look scrumptious.