Brown velvet is for cupcakes, red is for wine


Of course inspired by the usual red velvet cake in general, and by the recipe posted just recently by my lovely blogging-friend The Cooking Chook  in particular, I decided to make a batch of chocolate cupcakes. I particularly liked the sound of the white chocolate, cream cheese icing, so, with my devil-may-care bravado I threw away the red colouring and went for it to make brown velvet cupcakes.

The other thing I did was scale down the recipe. I know you are asking why, why why? Well two reasons, the first and most important being that the philadelphia cream cheese seems to only come in a 150g tub in my particular supermarket. This means scaling down the amount of icing I will have in a 250:150 ratio, or in other words in a 5:3 ratio… all of which means since I’ll only have 3/5 of the amount of philly, I’d better only make 3/5 of the amount of cake to go under the icing! The second reason is that TC and I don’t need any more cake, really. For the sake of our waistlines, less is better. Hmm, I could freeze the extras & take them to French class… there’s a thought.

Back to the scaling. Did you know Excel is very handy for this? Yes, the mathsy nerd in me comes out at times like this – as well as the sciency nerd who likes to be accurate – and using Excel is the quickest way to apply a formula to a list of things. Perfect for a recipe, haha!

I bet you are just dying to know what formula I used aren’t you? If you really want, I’ll tell you at the end.

So, with newly scaled quantities in hand, Chookie’s recipe and instructions (and some adaptations because you can’t actually get 1.2 eggs even if you tried really hard) off I set to bake some lovely cupcakes. IMG_3731

First mishap, dropped a bit of flour on the floor. OK… on with the show… next mishap, knocked a container out of the cupboard and voila, sweetener tabs all over the floor. Thankfully I had only cleaned and mopped the floor yesterday, otherwise all that flour and sweetener may have stuck to some greasy, unidentifiable spots on the floor. As it was, it was quick to clean up & power forward.

The next step involved combining all my dry ingredients, measuring out the butter, sugar and milk (for the buttermilk) and then letting the butter, milk and eggs sit for a while to come to room temperature. By this time I have decided it’s wine o’clock – it is Saturday night after all – so a glass of red is perfect for this waiting period. I did briefly hope that wouldn’t mean more mishaps to come. Ok, I know I have committed a writing crime and switched tenses mid-paragraph, but this post is now written in real-time and we are up to date. I’ll pour the 2nd glass of red while I check on the butter and eggs…

Melting chocolate is fun, I follow the rest of the directions and before I know it I have some icing. Oops, one more change, I decided to add 1/3 cup icing sugar, just because I like things sweet. IMG_3739 brown velvet cupcake

Put it all together…

… and voila, brown velvet cupcakes with white chocolate, cream cheese icing. Not bad at all, TC likes them too! IMG_3740

I have already frozen some, so will let you know if our fellow French students and teacher like them on Tuesday. If they last that long.

White on Brown Velvet Chocolate Cupcakes

1.5 cups sifted plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1.5 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

70g unsalted butter, softened

1 cup caster sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1/2 tsp white vinegar

1/2 tsp baking soda

White chocolate cream cheese frosting

150g cream cheese, at room temperature

70g unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

110g white cooking chocolate, broken into small pieces

1/3 cup icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180C

Combine flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa, set aside. Cream butter and sugar until pale & smooth. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time & continue beating. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture & 1/3 of the buttermilk, mix and repeat until all of the ingredients are combined. In a glass, combine the vinegar and baking soda, quickly add to the cake batter & stir through. Divide mixture between prepared cupcake papers. Bake for 20 min, checking after 15 minutes & remove when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over gently boiling water, stirring with a metal spoon. When melted, set aside.

Whip butter until pale & smooth, set aside.

Combine cream cheese, salt and vanilla and icing sugar, beat for about 3 minutes until smooth & light. Slowly add the while chocolate, mixing to combine. Add the butter, 1/3 at a time & mix until combined.

Ice the cupcakes and enjoy!

Ok, the Excel formula because I knew someone was busting to know… with the quantity of each ingredient in column B (numbers only, descriptions in column C) enter in cell A1 “=B1*3/5, enter, then use the fill handle to drag down for the entire list of ingredients, then round to practical amounts.



  1. Interesting. Don’t like the black background of your website; feels like I’ve descended into the dark, but I like your writing style very much–though much as I like cake, I’m not a crazed fan of cupcakes one ah or another.


    1. Thankyou – hmm, “descended into the dark”… somehow I like that idea 😀 I am a fan of all kinds of foods, cupcakes just being one of them… I still haven’t got the hang of icing them beautifully yet though.

  2. I am so glad you left out the red food coloring. I’ve never understood the need to tart up a perfectly good chocolate cake, just for the sake of appearances. If you want to eat color – eat beets! The recipe program I use – Pepperplate – scales recipes for you, though I’m not sure about 3/5’s. Personally I’d just scale the cake down to 3/4 and guestimate the icing. Your cupcakes do look pretty yummy!

      1. Love this post! I always keep a decent supply of those pantry items too. It’s a pretty unique taste, isn’t it? I’m definitely using this recipe again, and like you, will omit the food colouring.

      2. It is a unique taste – I’m still deciding how much I like it at this stage. I’ve heard red velvet cake is even better after refrigerating, so I’ll see what that does to the cupcakes 🙂

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