Spicy Red Velvet Cupcakes with Spiced Rum Cream Cheese Frosting - Valentine's Day Treats!

I've been watching The Cupcake Wars a little too much lately... and today they had a special Valentine's day episode. In the episode, Florian Bellanger says he's tired of Red Velvet Cupcakes so I decided to create one that I think he would change his mind over. I've been obsessed with Mexican hot chocolate lately and I couldn't resist a little bit of spice in these cupcakes. Once again, I created this recipe by combining & altering a few different ones. Also, I didn't have any red food coloring (thus why they are light brown...), but I didn't mind. I'd rather my cupcakes be more natural anyway. P.S. These are delicious.

P.P.S. I WILL own a cupcake shop one day....

Red Velvet Cupcakes 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 1 cup sugar 1/4 cup butter, room temperature 1 large egg 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted 3/4 tsp red food coloring (or smaller amount gel food coloring) 1 cup buttermilk (if you don't have buttermilk, just mix 1 cup of milk with 1 tbsp vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes. Voila!) 1/4 tsp red cayenne pepper (or 1/2 tsp if you love spicy treats like I do)

1. Preheat oven to 350F 2. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners. 3. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. 4. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract. Sift in the cocoa powder and cayenne pepper, add in red food coloring and stir. 5. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add one third of the flour mixture followed by half of the buttermilk. Add another third of the flour mixture, followed by the remaining buttermilk and the last of the flour. Mix gently until there are no clumps.

Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Spiced Rum Cream Cheese Frosting 8-oz cream cheese, room temperature 1/2 cup butter, room temperature 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 1 and 1/2 to 2  mini bottles of spiced rum, to taste - 50 mL each (i used Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum) 2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar 1/4 cup  brown sugar Add spoonfuls of flour to thicken

In a large bowl, beat all ingredients except the confectioners’ sugar and flour. Gradually blend in the sugar until the icing is smooth and creamy. Add spoonfuls of flour and mix until desired consistency is reached. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Dash with red cayenne pepper.