Last night at Kyna and Lucas’s Fourth of July party, I launched into an explanation of the inspiration for these cupcakes prefacing it with when I lived in Long Beach, California – not Washington which was followed by strange looks and then comments such as I didn’t know there was a Long Beach in Washington or I wouldn’t have assumed you meant Washington. So now that we have that out of the way…
When I lived in Long Beach there was this pizzeria off Broadway that I frequented quite often – especially when my dad was in town. I lived off Linden Avenue, right by an Albertson’s, the Wal-Mart and Pine Avenue. Within walking distance were many great restaurants, coffee shops and even a Regal Movie Theater. Not to mention the Pacific Ocean. If I was going on a food tour of Long Beach I would stop for the nachos at Alegria on Pine. I took all of my friends and visiting family members there. Then I would have the Triple Nickel Burger at 555. And finally, I would pick up a cupcake at Broadway Pizza on Broadway. One time when my dad was there getting cupcakes for us, Steve Carrell – who was filming nearby, was picking up pizzas.
When I lived in Long Beach it was at the height of the cupcake craze. Broadway Pizza usually offered a few flavors of cupcakes (a few = up to three, if I remember correctly), the best of which was a red velvet cupcake, on top of a brownie with a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in the middle. I’m not kidding you, my dad and I couldn’t get enough of these cupcakes. When they didn’t serve them we would request them.
About four or five years ago I tried to recreated these in my kitchen in Long Beach. It was disaster. I thought the cupcakes were cooked thoroughly but they weren’t. It was like an unintentional molten lava cupcake when you bit into one. I couldn’t serve them and, sadly, had to dump them.
I knew when Kyna suggested that I bring a red, white and blue themed dessert to their party that I wanted to recreate these cupcakes. At the party, I forced people into eating them. I admit it. I’m a food bully. I targeted David first. David, who after meeting me once and having fantastic conversation with me, didn’t remember me the next time we saw each other. (This has been brought up every subsequent time that I’ve seen him.) David only ate three-fourths of the cupcake and threw the remaining fourth away. (Something I can bring up the next time I see him.)
Then I targeted Jason who stole my meatballs after I told him he couldn’t eat any of them while we surrounded the food table. All throughout the night I kept asking Jason if he’d had one of my cupcakes and he kept replying, yes, Nathan and I shared a cupcake. (What can I say, I was having short-term memory loss that night.) When I left the party at 2 am only two cupcakes remained. I deemed that a success.
Today I brought one to work for Coleen (I had promised to save her one). She heated it up and ate it from a bowl with a spoon, oohing and aahing as she ate. So yes, they were a success. However, there is one thing wrong with them. The freaking brownie stuck to the liner! I sprayed the crap out of the liners with some cooking spray too. To no available. The brownie caramelized in the oven. I might have to try a different brownie recipe next time.
- 1 ½ c. unsalted butter
- 4 T. corn syrup
- ⅔ c. good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 c. dark brown sugar, packed
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 large eggs
- 1 c. cake flour
- mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
red velvet cupcake ingredients.
*Recipe borrowed from Portuguese Girl Cooks; incidentally, this may have been the best red velvet cupcake I’ve ever had or made.
- 3 ¼c. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 12 T. (1 ½ sticks) butter, at room temperature
- 1 ¾ c. granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 4 T. liquid or gel food color
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 ½ T. cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 ½ c. whole milk, at room temperature
- 1 ½ tsp. baking soda
- 1 ½ tsp. apple cider vinegar
cream cheese frosting ingredients.
- 16 T. butter, room temperature
- 4 to 8 c. confectioners sugar
- 8 oz cream cheese (1 bar), at room temperature
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Start with the brownie batter. In a medium-size pan, heat butter over medium-low heat, swirling the butter in the pan over the heat.Cook the butter continuing to swirl the butter around in the pan. The butter will foam and then slowly settle. The butter should be turning a golden color and you’ll see specks of brown forming.
- Stir in corn syrup. Remove from heat. Stir in cocoa. Stir in salt, vanilla and sugar. Stir in egg and egg yolks until well blended. Stir in flour and blend well. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffins tins with paper liners, spray with cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and the sugar and cream on medium speed, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- In a small bowl, whisk the food coloring, cocoa powder, and vanilla together until thoroughly combined and no lumps remain. Very slowly add to the mixer, mixing at low speed until well combined.
- Add in one-third of the flour mixture, mix until combined. Add in one-third of the milk, mix until combined. Repeat adding in the flour then milk, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
- In a small bowl, add the baking soda to the vinegar. Mix well and add to the batter. Mix until just incorporated, about 10 seconds.
- Scoop brownie batter into the muffin tin, filling it one-third full. Place a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in the middle of the brownie. Fill with cupcake batter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost when completely cool.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream butter and cream cheese until well combined. Add salt and vanilla and mix until combined.
- On low speed add powdered sugar together. Turn speed to medium speed and beat until light and fluffy. Use immediately, or refrigerate until ready to use.