Black velvet cupcakes with a cream cheese orange frosting and filling are perfect for Halloween parties! Full of autumn spices and a totally unexpected heat
I thought that black velvet would be elegant with snowy white frosting at a formal event, and look very contemporary with pink frosting for a birthday…. Since neither of those things were on my calendar I decided on Black Velvet Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Filling and Frosting. They’d be perfect for a Halloween party.
I always sort of struggle with variations on red velvet cake… I mean, to me red velvet is one flavor and pink velvet should be another..and black velvet should be another..they shouldn’t taste the same with different colors, you know?
So I began to think about black velvet… sophisticated, sultry, sexy, elegant, unpredictable…these were words that came to my mind… I wanted it to be spicy, rich, and intense in flavor.
This black velvet is all of that. Tender, spicy, complex… and it is a deep, rich, black.. not a dark chocolate color… black.
The spicy flavor comes from a mix of cardamom, cloves, balsamic vinegar and habenero/New Mexico chile mix. It is sweet but not too sweet and the flavors change on your palate from one to another, ending with that familiar burn in the back of your throat — which is immediately cooled by the cream cheese. There’s a little chocolate flavor in there, too.
All of that flavor serves to cover up the potential aftertaste of food coloring. I hate tasting food coloring in any cake. Blech!
The frosting and filling is rich and creamy with a bright orange flavor.
This, my friends, is good stuff. Feel free to make this recipe into cupcakes or a two layer cake. I don’t think you can go wrong with this – it is super easy.
Black Velvet Cupcakes with Orange Filling
- 2 1/4 c sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)
- 2 tbs Hershey’s extra dark cocoa
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1 dried habenero
- 1 dried New Mexico chile
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 c full fat buttermilk , room temperature
- 2 tbs black food coloring (one 4 oz bottle)
- 1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 c pure cane sugar
- 3/4 c pure cane brown sugar
- 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs , room temperature
For Filling and Frosting
- 8 oz Philadelphia cream cheese
- 1/2 stick of butter (1/4 c)
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
- 1 tsp orange flavoring
- Orange food color (or yellow and red)
- 1 tsp finely grated orange zest
- 2 c Imperial confectioner’s sugar , or your favorite sugar cane brand (more to achieve the correct consistency)
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350
- Line muffin tins with cupcake papers
- Mix the sifted cake flour, cocoa, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, baking powder and salt in a bowl
- Grind up a mixture of the chilies in an herb grinder and add about 1/2 tsp of the powder to the dry ingredients (you may substitute cayenne but the flavor will not be as complex..)
- Beat the butter with sugars until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time
- Add vanilla
- Beat until well blended
- Mix balsamic vinegar the black food color, the baking soda, and the buttermilk in a bowl
- Add the flour alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour
- Taste batter and add more ground chilies if desired for more heat
- Spoon into cupcake papers and bake for 20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out with just a little crumb on it
- Let cool
- Meanwhile mix the remaining butter and cream cheese
- Add orange flavor, vanilla, salt and orange zest
- Beat in confectioners until smooth and creamy
- Add orange food color until it is the color you desire
- Cut the center out of the cupcakes and use a pastry tube to fill the hollows with the cream cheese
- Frost tops with remaining frosting.
- Refrigerate if not using within a few hours