Chocolate Cupcakes & Red Velvet Soufflé

by Shirl

These scrumptious cupcakes were supposed to be red velvet cakes with cream cheese frosting. Well, I can explain...

It all started with ham.

chocolate cupcakes
Not just any ham but the long-anticipated Cinco Jotas Jamon from Jabugo. The good news about it is that the jamon is finally arriving stateside! In my mind I would do almost anything to secure a leg in my kitchen. One small detail to deal with – how am I going to justify spending $1800 on ham alone? Now I’m not much of a carnivore, but I surely enjoy an occasional slab of wagyu beef or berkshire pork on my dinner plate. To be able to carve a couple of thin slices of the 5J ham on a whim and let that melt in your mouth, now that’s priceless! Well, pricey, to be true. So can I earmark this pork spending and still balance my budget? If not, what am I to give up? Or trade down? My favorite olive oil? The gourmet chocolates and coffee beans? Manchego? Haagen Daz? When did they stop being luxuries and start posing themselves as necessities in my pantry? What is indispensable? What is over the top? Is it possible to forgo the indulgence and go back to the basics where essence matters?

In short, that’s what happened to the red velvet cake recipe. I decided to strip it down to the essential ingredients. No decoratng or garnishing (a luxury I could skip); just pure cake (a necessity if you ask me!). My house baking chocolate is Valrhona Manjari 64% and Valrhona cocoa powder (yes, I admit it's luxury). With other mainstay pantry ingredients, I whipped up the batter in about fifteen minutes, and zipped the filled muffin pan into the oven right away. Twenty minutes later, the gorgeous-looking chocolate cakes peeked out of the muffin tins and I knew a satisfying coffee break (necessity!) was now written in my near future. No need for a brownie run to Le Pain Quotidien from now on.

A word of thanks is in order to Chef Christopher S. Witzel of The Edge Restaurant & Lounge in Temecula, California, for sharing with us his versatile Red Velvet Soufflé recipe, which readily transforms itself from decadent to rustic! Marjan, I also want to thank you for directing my attention to a great easy recipe!

Now would anyone like to share that leg of ham with me?

Want more sweetness in your life? Take a look at our Chocolate and Almond Biscotti, Panna Cotta, or if you are more adventurous, try Sweet Mini Dumplings Soup.


Courtesy of Christopher S. Witzel

7 oz. (200g) Red Vanilla Chocolate Discs
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
4 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
2 Tablespoons Red Food Coloring
1 ½ Teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
3 Large Egg Yolks
3 Tablespoons Warm Water
½ Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
8 Large Egg Whites
2 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar

  1. Melt chocolate, butter, food coloring, and cocoa powder in double boiler
  2. Add vanilla.
  3. Combine egg yolks & warm water in mixer until frothy.
  4. Gradually add 2 T of sugar, continue beating until ribbons form.
  5. Fold yolk mixture into the chocolate.
  6. Sift flour into chocolate mixture.
  7. Beat egg whites in mixer with vinegar.
  8. Beat on medium until frothy.
  9. Gradually add the remaining ½ cup sugar.
  10. Increase speed to high.
  11. Whip until stiff peaks (like meringue).
  12. Fold into chocolate mixture (in 3 parts).
  13. Place mixture into buttered & sugared ramekin. (Level mixture with the top of ramekin.)
  14. Bake @ 375°F (190C) for 25 minutes.

*For a cake or cupcake, don’t whip the egg whites into meringue. Rather, keep eggs together (whole; do not separate) and add to all other ingredients (Cake method - All dry add to wet. Then fold.) Pour into mold or cupcake papers/pans.

For the cream cheese frosting:
Whip cream cheese and powdered sugar (in mixer with paddle attachment) with a little vanilla extract. Add heavy cream (if desired) for lighter/fluffier frosting and add more sugar (if desired).


Adapted from Christopher S. Witzel’s Red Velvet Soufflé Recipe
(Makes 12 cupcakes)

4 oz Bittersweet Chocolate
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
3 Large Eggs
½ Cups plus 2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
4 Tablespoons Dutch-processed Cocoa Powder
1 ½ Teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

  1. Preheat Oven at 350F/180C. Place rack in the middle of oven.
  2. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
  3. Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Set aside at room temperature.
  4. Sift flour and cocoa powder; blend well together.
  5. Beat eggs and sugar at high speed until thick and airy enough when ribbons form on the surface of batter. It takes several minutes.
  6. Using spatula, gently fold in sifted flour and cocoa powder.
  7. Add vanilla extract to the melted chocolate. Thin the chocolate mixture with a spoonful of the cake batter. Then gently fold the thinned mixture into the cake batter.
  8. Spoon batter into lined muffin pan. Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

From our partner: LO+JUNE

From our partner: LO+JUNE
Artisanal French products in our Swiss fine food boutique