My Sweet Boy’s sweet girlfriend Taylor is over tonight again to bake. We picked out a recipe for red velvet cake and decided to bake it into little baby cakes decorated with cream cheese frosting tinted pink. Our first batch erupted like so many little red cocoa volcanoes, and it looks like an ode to all sentiments anti-Valentine’s Day sitting on the stove right now, pockmarked and sunken and Vesuvial. We had a good laugh when we pulled them from the oven. When you’re improvising an adaptation, these things happen sometimes. Our second batch came out perfectly. (Now, that’s more like it!) We couldn’t bring ourselves to put a third of a cup of red dye into the batter, so our red velvet is decidedly more cocoa in hue, but if the color is paramount to you, go all in. It’s Valentine’s Day after all!
Heart-shaped Red Velvet Baby Cakes with Pink Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: about 3 dozen baby cakes
1 batch red velvet cake batter (recipe below)
1 batch pink cream cheese frosting (recipe below)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Divide the red velvet batter into about 36 mini heart-shaped pans. Do not fill them more than half full.
- Bake the cakes for about 20 minutes, rotating them 180 degrees halfway through, until they spring back when pressed lightly in the center.
- Allow them to cool completely.
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with the frosting. Twist the bag at the top and apply gentle pressure at the twist to frost the cakes.
- Decorate with edible pearls. A tweezer is helpful here.
Red Velvet Cake Batter
From Confetti Cakes by Elisa Strauss
Yield: enough for about 3 dozen baby cakes
3 ½ c. cake flour
½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ t. salt
2 c. canola oil
2 ¼ c. sugar
3 large eggs
1/3 c. red food coloring (We used only 1 T.)
1 ½ t. vanilla extract
1 ¼ c. buttermilk
2 t. baking soda
2 ½ t. white vinegar
- In a large bowl whisk together the cake flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the oil and the sugar. Beat on medium speed until they are incorporated.
- Add the eggs one at a time at low speed, mixing well between each addition.
- Add the red food coloring and vanilla in a slow stream and mix to combine.
- Scrape down the bottom of the bowl.
- Alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk in two batches, starting with the flour. Beat until well combined.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the baking soda and vinegar. With the mixer on medium speed, add the mixture and beat for 10 seconds.
Pink Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: enough to modestly frost about 3 dozen baby cakes
16 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
¾ pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 t. vanilla extract
4 drops pink food coloring
1 ½ pounds confectioners’ sugar
- Beat together the cream cheese and the butter until they are smooth.
- Add the vanilla and the food coloring and mix to incorporate.
- Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix on low speed until the frosting is smooth and creamy.