Chocolate Decadence 1

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to spoil your sweetie with a delicious dessert, and nothing says I Love You more than a sweet homemade treat. Although this recipe may taste decadent and difficult, it’s actually incredibly easy to make; so even non-cooks can quickly impress a special love.

Oozing with moist, molten chocolate centers, these beautiful red velvet cupcakes are visually stunning and delicious. This updated version of the classic red velvet cake makes it look like you’ve worked all day in the kitchen, but is simple to create. Use a heart-shaped cake mold for an added Valentine touch of love. Impressive and very romantic!

Chocolate Filled Red Velvet Buttermilk Cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons cocoa powder

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 large egg

1 tablespoon red food coloring

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup buttermilk

½ teaspoon vinegar

½ teaspoon baking soda

Filling Ingredients:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Skinny Cream Cheese Frosting:

12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel), room temperature

3 tablespoons low-fat Greek yogurt (plain)

2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions (Filling):

Combine chocolate, cream and butter in small saucepan. Stir over low heat until chocolate melts. Remove from heat; pour mixture into small bowl. Cool for 20 minutes. Cover and freeze for about an hour, or until mixture is thickened to a fudge consistency. Divide into 12 equal portions (or 24 if making mini cupcakes) and roll into balls. Place balls on baking pan and freeze until ready to use.

Instructions (Cupcakes):

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two mini-muffin pans (12-cavity each) with cupcake liners (or one standard 12-cavity cupcake tin) and set aside.

In a small bowl, sift together flour, cocoa and salt; then set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar; then beat on medium until light and well-mixed, about 2 minutes. Turn mixer to low; add egg, red food coloring and vanilla. Then, add a small portion of flour (about a third), alternating with portions of buttermilk, mixing slightly after each addition. Gently stir in baking soda and vinegar. Divide half the batter among the cupcake tins. Then, place a chocolate ball in the center of each cupcake. Top evenly with remaining batter. Bake until tops spring back when touched lightly (do not overbake), about 13-17 minutes. Serve warm, or let cool completely, then frost. Store covered in airtight container for up to three days.

Instructions (Frosting):

In a large mixing bowl, stir together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed, until frosting becomes smooth and thick. Stir in vanilla. Spread frosting on cooled cupcakes. Refrigerate any leftover cupcakes and frosting.

Yield: 24 mini cupcakes. Calories (per cupcake): 68; Fat: 1.9g; Protein: .9g Cost Per Serving: $.11.

Suzette Zara is an author, nutritionist, a frequent speaker on low-fat healthy cooking and creator of Satan’s Salsa (