Surprise Red Cupcakes Recipe
Surprise Red Cupcakes Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Surprise Red Cupcakes Recipe

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Catch your honey red-handed this Valentine's Day with a batch of these confections. Our family loves these filled cupcakes. They disappear in a day. —Betty B. Claycomb, Alverton, Pennsylvania
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 1 hour Bake: 20 min. + cooling
MAKES:24 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 1 hour Bake: 20 min. + cooling
MAKES: 24 servings


  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup shortening, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bottle (1 ounce) red food coloring
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 3 tablespoons baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 to 3 teaspoons evaporated milk, divided
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Nutritional Facts

1 each: 288 calories, 14g fat (6g saturated fat), 30mg cholesterol, 114mg sodium, 40g carbohydrate (29g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein


  1. In a heavy saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons flour and milk until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; cool.
  2. In a large bowl, cream 1/2 cup shortening and remaining sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the food coloring, vinegar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Combine the cocoa, baking soda and remaining flour; gradually add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.
  3. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick insert near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. In a small bowl, beat butter and remaining shortening until smooth. Beat in the confectioners' sugar, cooled sugar mixture and remaining vanilla until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Insert a large round tip into a pastry or plastic bag; fill with filling. Insert the tip halfway into the center of each cupcake and fill with a small amount of filling.
  5. For frosting, in a heavy saucepan, melt chips with 1/3 cup evaporated milk over low heat; stir until smooth. Remove from the heat. Beat in confectioners' sugar. Add enough remaining milk to achieve spreading consistency. Frost cupcakes. Yield: 2 dozen.
Originally published as Surprise Red Cupcakes in Country Woman January/February 2007, p34

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Reviewed Feb. 20, 2015

"Used only 1 cup of confectioner's sugar in frosting to make frosting less sweet. These cup cakes are awesome!!!"

Reviewed Feb. 5, 2015

"I didn't make these, but I am giving 5 stars to offset the other people that didn't make the cake and didn't make it. PEOPLE stop doing that. So irritating. The only reason I am not making it is because the prep sounds to time consuming and I bake a lot everyday. I need quick things."

Reviewed Feb. 3, 2015

"I make red velvet cake every year for my husbands Christmas birthday and this recipe is almost identical to the one I use. It was amazing and I may have to switch to this recipe for my husbands birthday! I thought it was explained very well, although I still, even after 45 years of baking, read through the entire recipe before I start it just to make sure I understand what I need to do."

Reviewed Feb. 3, 2015

"blechcupcakes, sorry the cupcakes could NOT be as bad as you say. The ingredients alone would make a good cake unless you don't know how to bake and screwed up the way you mixed it. How do you get rocks from a smooth batter?? The review you gave was unkind and Unnecessary, You could have just said the it was not good, too much work, and you wouldn't try it again. It does have a lot of steps, but my Grandkids as worth it and it was fun to make something new."

Reviewed Feb. 3, 2015

"THese were great cupcakes; nice batter and the filling was a nice treat. I also find it strange that people would make a comment without baking the item and give it a negative rating. My only guess is that blechcupcakes didn't follow the recipe correctly or to be honest, it sounds like she added the confectioner's sugar to the mix, which would certainly make it lumpy and dry. Again, baker error is the only think I can find from her statement as she only complained, not explained what she had done."

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