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Red velvet surprise cupcakes

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The Runaway Spoon

(Read caption) This is a nifty twist on a classic recipe, a combination of black bottom cupcakes, and red velvet cupcakes. The 'surprise' is the cream cheese layer that substitutes frosting.

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Last year, I posted a recipe for peppermint black bottom cupcakes, a nifty seasonal twist on a classic recipe and family favorite. Well, as I started to think about Christmas treats for this season, I decided to take that classic recipe and try another twist – fun, rich, colorful red velvet. Red velvet black bottom is not a great name, so I call these surprise cupcakes because of the creamy white chocolate bits hidden in the center. A delicious, prettily wrapped Christmas present.

Yes, you really do need the whole bottle of food coloring to get the vivid red, otherwise it will be a muddy, dull shade. Be careful of a fresh manicure with the food coloring though, it is hard to get off. And yes, these may turn your tongue a little crimson, but that’s half the fun.

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Kids and adults alike love these festive treats, and they are a perfect make-ahead, portable party delight. Stored in an airtight container, they will last for days. I can see these as a lovely gift, wrapped in cellophane, tied with a green ribbon. The cupcakes are pretty enough to serve as decoration on their own.

Recommended:Christmas cookies for everyone on your list

Red velvet surprise cupcakes
Makes 16 cupcakes 

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1-1/3 cups sugar, divided

1 large egg

1 cup white chocolate morsels

1-1/2 cup flour

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1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (1-ounce) bottle red food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 16 muffin cups with paper liners.

Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until creamy and smooth. Gradually beat in 1/3 cup sugar until thoroughly combined. Add the egg and beat until smooth. Fold in the white chocolate morsels. Set aside

In a large bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup of sugar, the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Stir together the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla and red food coloring in a measuring jug, then pour into the well. Stir just until the batter is mixed. Spoon the batter evenly between the 16 muffin cups, filling each half-full. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the cream cheese filling over the batter in the cups.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle of a cake comes out clean and the cream cheese filling is set. Cool for 5 minutes in the tins, then remove to cool completely on a wire rack.