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I know that Valentine’s day calls for chocolate but I could not help sharing these cute red velvet cupcakes from The Recipe Critic. With a generous swirl of cream cheese frosting, they match perfectly with the red coloured theme of the day. While its popularity is gaining momentum in our chic and ridiculously expensive coffee shops, the red velvet cupcake is an easy 2-bowl recipe to make and enjoy at home. Its beautiful red colour comes from the reaction between the small amount of cocoa powder, buttermilk and vinegar, though it is now being enhanced with natural dyes or synthetic food colouring.



For the Red Velvet Cupcakes

3 1/3 cups cake flour, sifted

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 1/4 cups white caster sugar

3 large eggs, room temperature

2 tablespoons. liquid red food coloring

3 tablespoons. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon milk


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and spray with cooking spray.

  • In a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar and mix until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Whisk coloring, cocoa and vanilla together.

  • Add to butter-sugar mixture and mix well. Stir salt into buttermilk and add to batter in 3 parts.

  • Alternate with the flour, starting and ending with flour. In a bowl, stir vinegar and baking soda.

  • Add to batter and mix well. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter and bake in preheated oven.

  • Bake for 17 to 18 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of cupcakes comes out clean.

  • For the cream cheese frosting, mix together butter, cream cheese, salt and vanilla until smooth.

  • Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Pipe a swirl on top of each cupcake.

  • Cool the cupcakes completely and top with cream cheese frosting. Makes 3 1 /2 dozen cupcakes.

Happy Valentine’s!


After my first foray into gluten free baking with these coconut flour blueberry muffins, I have been curious to try more recipes with coconut flour, ground maize and nut flours. Being partial to almonds, I thought it was a good chance to test Smitten Kitchen’s chocolate financiers with my last bag of poudre d’amandes. While you can always go through the tedious process of blanching and grinding raw almonds, I find it easier to stock on 200g bags of Maitre Prunille’s powdered almonds though they might not be 100% gluten free. I have a good mind to swap some of the almond for hazelnuts next time I bake these along with a bit of Nutella in the centre to make them taste like Ferrero Rochers.



6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup almond flour or meal

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon kitchen salt

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup or 2 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon almond extract


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease and flour 15 financier molds or mini-muffin tins.
  • Melt the unsalted butter in a small saucepan and set aside till it reaches room temperature.

  • Mix the almond flour with the cocoa powder, salt, and powdered sugar. Stir the egg whites.
  • Then stir in the almond extract, and gradually stir in the melted butter until incorporated.

  • Spoon the batter into the molds, filling them three-quarters full. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • They should be slightly puffed and springy to the touch when done. Remove from the oven.

  • Cool completely before removing the financiers from molds. Makes 15 one-inch financiers.
  • The financiers can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Gluten Free Chocolate Financiers

I’m sure you must all have tried chocolate cupcakes at some point, either dark chocolate or milk chocolate or a combination of the two, with or without an additional handful of chocolate chips. White chocolate somehow never makes it to that list and I did not think that white chocolate cupcakes could also exist until I came across this beautiful recipe on Leite’s Culinaria. As white chocolate is not something I routinely keep in my pantry [unlike the huge stash of dark chocolate that I know I can throw into pretty much anything], I had to go out to get a couple of Lindt Excellence white chocolate bars specially for baking these little beauties. I always swear by Lindt when it comes to baking with chocolate so I cannot tell whether you can risk it with other brands and expect similar results. Instead of folding the melted white chocolate throughout the cake batter, I found it more interesting to give it a marbled effect so that I could have my cake as well as my chocolate and eat both of them at the same time.



For the White Chocolate Cupcakes

140g white chocolate, finely chopped

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unbleached cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt

1 cup  milk, room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup white granulated sugar

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

2 large eggs, room temperature

For the White Chocolate Ganache

110g white chocolate, finely chopped

100ml whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Position an oven rack in center, preheat oven to 350°F (176°C). Line twelve muffin cups with paper liners.

  • Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring a skillet of water to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off heat.

  • Place the bowl in hot water. Stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is completely melted and smooth.

  • Let cool until tepid. In a small bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

  • Stir together milk and vanilla. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter for about 3 minutes.

  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the tepid white chocolate.

  • Reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk mixture in 2 additions

  • Mix well until smooth. Scoop the batter into the prepared cups. The cups should not be more than 2/3 full.

  • Bake cakes until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

  • For the frosting, coarsely chop the white chocolate in a bowl. Bring cream to a simmer over medium heat.

  • Pour hot cream over chocolate and stir until completely melted. Beat in vanilla extract just until combined.

  • Frost the tops of white chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate ganache and leave to set for about 1 hour.

White Chocolate Cupcakes

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