What's Cooking: A Chocolate Surprise for Your Sweetheart 1

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to spoil your sweetie with a sweet dessert! Nothing says “Love” like a delicious homemade treat. This recipe tastes decadent and difficult, but it is incredibly easy, so even non-cooks can quickly impress a special love. These romantic red velvet cupcakes are filled with a sweet surprise: a creamy chocolate filling!

Chocolate Filled Red Velvet 
Buttermilk Cupcakes

Oozing with moist, molten chocolate centers, these beautiful red cupcakes are visually stunning and delicious! This updated version of the classic red velvet cake, which was originally created by the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York in the 1940’s, looks like you worked all day in the kitchen, but it is simple to create. The smooth cream cheese frosting is deceptively guilt-free, using reduced-fat cream cheese and Greek yogurt to cut calories, to help keep you looking great for your Valentine all year long! The dense batter bakes up best as a mini-cupcake or cupcake, but beware to not overbake to maintain moistness. Use a heart-shaped cake mold for an added Valentine touch of love. Impressive, easy and very romantic!

Cupcake Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons cocoa powder

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 large egg

1 tablespoon red food coloring

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup buttermilk

½ teaspoon vinegar

½ teaspoon baking soda

Filling Ingredients:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Skinny Cream Cheese Frosting

12 ounces reduced-fat cream
 cheese (Neufchatel), 
 room temperature

3 tablespoons low-fat 
 Greek yogurt (plain)

2/3 cup confectioners sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions (filling):

Combine chocolate, cream and butter in small saucepan. Stir over low heat until chocolate melts. Remove from heat; pour mixture into small bowl. Cool for 20 minutes. Cover; freeze for about an hour, or until mixture is thickened to a fudge consistency. Divide into 12 equal portions (or 24, if making mini cupcakes), and roll into balls. Place balls on baking pan; freeze until ready to use.

Instructions (cupcakes):

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two mini-muffin pans (12-cavity each) with cupcake liners (or one standard 12-cavity cupcake tin); set aside.

In a small bowl, sift together flour, cocoa and salt; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar; beat on medium until light and well mixed, about 2 minutes. Turn mixer to low; add egg, red food coloring and vanilla. Then, add small portion of flour (about a third), alternating with portions of buttermilk, mixing slightly after each addition. Gently stir in baking soda and vinegar. Divide half the batter among the cupcake tins. Then, place a chocolate ball in center of each cupcake. Top evenly with remaining batter. Bake until tops spring back when touched lightly (do not overbake), about 13-17 minutes. Serve warm, or let cool completely, then frost. Store covered, in airtight container for up to 3 days.

Frosting Instructions:

In a large mixing bowl, stir together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Beat with electric mixer on medium, until frosting becomes smooth and thick. Stir in vanilla. Spread frosting on cooled cupcakes. Refrigerate any leftover cupcakes and frosting.

Yield: 24 mini cupcakes. Calories (per cupcake): 68; 
Fat: 1.9g; Protein: .9g Cost Per Serving: $.11.

Suzette Zara is an author, nutritionist, a frequent speaker on low-fat healthy cooking and creator of Satan’s Salsa (SatansSalsa.com).