Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes

Red velvet cinnamon and chili cupcakes infused with Red Hots syrup topped with Red Hots buttercream make these Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes a spicy, sweet treat perfect for Valentine’s Day… or any day!

Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes |

I haven’t made a cupcake in a while… so I wanted to make something that I had never done before! And since it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought why not make it a themed cupcake… Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes!

Red Hots or Cinnamon Imperials candies are the prefect little spicy red candy to decorate cupcakes or cookies with but often times are used only at Christmas.  I know I’ve used them for years to decorate our holiday cookies with.  But since they’re red in color, I knew they’d be a great addition to any Valentine dessert!

Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes |

I didn’t just want to toss the candies into the batter and call it good… I wanted really get the spicy flavor of the candies into the cake.  So, I made a simple syrup out of the cinnamon candies and drizzled it over the cupcakes.  This way the spicy flavor would soak into the cupcake and would be a prominent flavor! I also used that same syrup in the buttercream frosting and added a bit of chili powder for more of a spicy kick!

Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes |

These are some seriously unique cupcakes.  And they definitely aren’t for the faint of heart… they’ve got a kick with all the chili powder and cinnamon red hots in them!

If you’re looking for something unique and different, then these are the cupcakes for you.  Flavor wise, they truly are one of the most different cupcakes I’ve ever made.  They aren’t really chocolate… they aren’t really red velvet… they pack a punch of spice and there’s this syrup glaze on top that leaves your mouth going WOOOAAAAAH!

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes |

Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 18 cupcakes
Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ cups vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 oz liquid red food coloring
  • 1 cup milk + 2 tsp vinegar (let sit for 5 minutes before using)
Red Hot Syrup
  • 1 cup cinnamon imperials or Red Hots candies
  • ½ cup water
Red Hot Buttercream
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2lbs powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¼ cup Red Hots syrup
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ cup - ½ cup Heavy Cream
  • pinch of salt
Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line cupcake pan with liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, chili powder and cinnamon.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and vegetable oil.
  4. One at a time, add the eggs and whisk together until smooth.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the vanilla extract, red food coloring and cocoa powder until it makes a paste. Add this to the batter and whisk until completely combined.
  6. Mix in the milk and whisk until incorporated.
  7. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the wet. Using a spoon or rubber spatula, fold/stir gently until no more flour is visible, but not completely mixed. Do not overmix!
  8. Fill cupcake liners ⅔ full with batter.
  9. Bake for 17-19 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Red Hot Syrup
  1. In a small sauce pan, bring the water and candies to a boil, stirring constantly until all the candies have dissolved.
  2. Reduce to low-medium heat and simmer until the syrup has reduced and is thick.
Red Hot Buttercream
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream butter until smooth.
  2. Add half the powdered sugar and mix on high until smooth.
  3. Add the chili powder, salt, and Red Hots syrup and beat until incorporated.
  4. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix on high until smooth.
  5. Start with ¼ cup of heavy cream and mix until combined. Add up to ¼ cup (or more) until you reach your desired consistency.
  6. Beat buttercream on high for 2 minutes.
  1. After cupcakes have cooled, pokes several holes in the top of each cupcake with a toothpick.
  2. Spoon over a few teaspoons of Red Hots syrup on the top of each cupcake allowing the syrup to soak into the cake and holes.
  3. Pipe swirls of frosting onto each cupcake.
  4. Top with a Red Hots candy.

12 Days of Cookies – Day 7: Lebkuchen

Lebkuchen, a popular treat during the holidays and Christmas,  is a traditional German cookie filled with almonds, spices, honey and candied orange peel.

Lebkuchen - a traditional German holiday cookie made with almonds, spices and honey |

I knew I had to at least once make this traditional German cookie while I lived in Germany.  Every holiday season beginning in October, these cookies begin showing up on the shelves in the grocery stores.  They are so incredibly popular that the stores keep their shelves fully stocked because Germans love their Lebkuchen!  And with that being said, I made traditional German Lebkuchen Day 7 of my 12 Days of Cookies!

As I was reading up on the history of Lebkuchen, I learned that they were made as far back as the 1200’s in Ulm, Germany and the 1300’s in Nurnberg, Germany.  Nürnberg currently makes one of the most popular varieties of Lebkuchen made and you can get them fresh at the Christmas Markets there.

Lebkuchen - a traditional German holiday cookie made with almonds, spices and honey | JavaCupcake.comLebkuchen comes is several varieties.  Some have a wafer on the bottom, others are covered in chocolate and some even have fruit, honey or other mix-ins inside.   Most traditionally, Lebkuchen is not too sweet,  but is spiced with a very thin glaze on top.  It’s said lebkuchen tastes a lot like gingerbread because of all the spices, but it’s not a gingerbread!  The Starbucks here sells a Lebkuchen coffee and to the Americans that order it, they call it Gingerbread… but let me tell you, this cookie is far from gingerbread!   Gingerbread typically has molasses in it, but these cookies don’t!  Made with ground almonds, Lebkuchen is a light, crumby cookie full of delicious spiced flavor! 

The version I made is a honey based Lebkuchen made with candied orange peel and almond flour.  I added a basic glaze to the top that wasn’t too thick because I wanted to candied orange peel to be seen on the top through the glaze.

Lebkuchen - a traditional German holiday cookie made with almonds, spices and honey |

Since I’m allergic to nuts, I asked my German friend, Mareile, to taste test  them for me and give me her honest feedback.  Since she’s German, she’s had her share of these cookies her entire life and she’d know if they weren’t up to German cookie standards!  Luckily for me, she said my recipe was  delish and tasted exactly like they should for a sweet, candied version of the cookie!  Awesome!

So, if you’ve ever been to Germany or have had Lebkuchen before and want to recreate them at home, my recipe will do the trick!


Prep time
Cook time
Serves: 2 dozen cookies
  • 250g all-purpose flour (about 1¾ cup + 2 Tbsp)
  • 85g ground almonds (about 9/10 cup)
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp ground cloves
  • ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 200ml honey
  • 85g unsalted butter (about 6 Tbsp)
  • 100g candied orange peel, finely chopped (about ⅔ cup)
  • 100g powdered sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1-2 Tbsp water
  1. Whisk the flour, almonds, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, pepper, baking soda, baking powder, lemon zest together in a large bowl. Fold in the candied orange peel.
  2. In a small sauce pan, heat the honey and butter together over low heat just until the butter has melted.
  3. Pour the honey and butter and mix together until all ingredients have been incorporated.
  4. Cover and chill for 1 hour or until the dough is no longer warm.
  5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Using your hands, roll 2-3 Tbsp of dough into a ball. Flatten the ball slightly into a disc. Place each disc of dough 2" apart on the cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Cool on pan for 1 minute before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, egg white and water. You want a smooth, runny glaze.
  2. Dip the top of each cookie in the glaze. Shake off the extra and use the back of a spoon to spread to the edges if necessary.
  3. Let the cookies set until the glaze has hardened.
  4. Store in an airtight container.

Want more cookies?

Check out the main page for the 12 Days of Cookies and you’ll find the links to all the recipes! Next cookie will be posted tomorrow!

Day 7 - 12 Days of Cookies |

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

A few days ago I picked up a new cookie jar.  But, not just any cookie jar.  An owl cookie jar!! It’s probably one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen!! Not only will it be great during the Fall season, but it’s gonna look adorable in my kitchen all year round!

So to fill my cookie jar, I needed an awesome Fall cookie!  I’ve been craving snickerdoodles for a while now… something about the bite they have and that cinnamon on the outside that I just can’t get enough of.  BUT… it’s Fall so I suppose I should add some pumpkin to the recipe too, right?!!  So yup… that’s what I did.  Pumpkin Snickerdoodles.

I did a little research and read a bunch of other recipes and the comments on them for this cookie on some of my favorite blogs.   Most other people who said they made these cookies said they were a little dull in the pumpkin flavor and too cake/muffin like…  but overall were really super yummy.  So, I set out to make mine heavy on the pumpkin flavor and more chewy like a cookie, not a muffin.

I took my go-to snickerdoodle recipe and tweaked it to accommodate the extra moisture of the pumpkin and added some spices to bring out the pumpkin flavor in the topping.  I think they turned out spectacular! A must-make every Fall!

Let me know how they turn out for you!!!


5 from 1 reviews
Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The perfect soft & chewy, spiced pumpkin snickerdoodle cookie.
Serves: 4-5 dozen cookies
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened but not quite to room temp
  • 1½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¾ tsp ground allspice
  1. Sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars on high until incorporated.
  3. One at time, add the eggs, mixing after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Beat on high 2-3 minutes.
  4. Mix in the vanilla and pumpkin. Beat on high for 1 minute.
  5. Add the flour mixture and mix on medium speed until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix 30 seconds.
  6. Cover and freeze for at least an hour or until the dough firms... or until ready to make cookies. NOTE: This batter is very sticky and it works so much easier when you have firm dough to roll the balls.
  7. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Prepare the topping by whisking together all ingredients in a small bowl.
  9. Drop 1in balls of dough into the sugar. Roll ball around until completely covered. Place on a cookie sheet. 12 balls per sheet. Freeze unused dough between batches.
  10. Bake on the center rack for 10 minutes.
  11. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes and an Owl Tutorial

Fun for the family, these Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes and Owl Tutorial make a sweet treat for your Fall party!

Dark Chocolate Spiced Pumpkin Owl Cupcakes by JavaCupcake

The winds are blowing, the leaves are rustling around the streets and the rain is falling from the grey skies.  Fall is upon us here in Bavaria!

And what is better for Fall than another pumpkin recipe! This cupcake is a one bowl batter that tastes just like pumpkin pie! Because I wanted to decorate these with owls, I had to top them with a chocolate frosting.  Instead of my favorite chocolate fudge frosting that calls for melted butter and baking chocolate, I used a basic chocolate buttercream which used cocoa powder.  I needed something that I could easily pipe and spread and my chocolate fudge recipe can get a bit thick.  This buttercream worked perfectly!

Dark Chocolate Spiced Pumpkin Owl Cupcakes by JavaCupcake

I know these cute owls on top have been floating around the internet, but I just had to give them a try!  Especially since I kind of have this fascination with owls.  (Our son Matthew, now 7 months old, well his baby theme is owls!) Below the recipe, you’ll find a full tutorial on how I made them!



5 from 1 reviews
Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Cupcakes that taste like pumpkin pie topped with a spicy chocolate buttercream! Nothing better!
Serves: 12-16 cupcakes
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg
Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Frosting
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup Hershey's Dark Chocolate cocoa
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1lb powdered sugar, sifted
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • pinch of salt
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees and line cupcake pan with liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, melt the butter in your microwave.
  3. Whisk in the sugars, eggs, vanilla and pumpkin puree.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients onto the pumpkin mixture and whisk until just combined. It will still be lumpy at this point.
  5. Add the milk and whisk until smooth.
  6. Fill cupcake liners ¾ full. NOTE: Don't be afraid to fill these liners full! These cupcakes do better with more batter in the cups and puff up nicely!
  7. Bake 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Frosting
  1. Cream together the butter, cocoa, cinnamon and vanilla.
  2. One cup at a time, add the sugar and beat on high until smooth.
  3. With the mixer on low, slowly add the heavy cream until you reach your desired consistency. NOTE: If you're just going to basically frost your cupcakes, you'll want the frosting stiff enough to pipe onto your cupcakes. If you're making the owls, make it a little looser so that you can easily decorate your owls.
  4. Mix on high for 4-5 minutes or until fluffy.

Owl Cupcake Tutorial


  • 1 package OREO cookies
  • 1 box Junior Mints candy
  • 1 box Reese’s Pieces candy
  • Frosting (recipe above)
  • Spatula or knife


  1. Prepare the OREO cookies by separating one cookie layer from the cream center, leaving the center in tact.
  2. Pipe a drop of frosting onto each cream center and place a Junior Mint candy on top.  This will create the eyes for the owl.
  3. Separate out the orange Reese’s Pieces candies and set aside.
  4. Using the spatula or knife, frost cupcake creating a flat surface.  At the top of the cupcake, make two little points with the frosting for the owl ears.
  5. Place two eyes on the cupcake, making sure to leave room for the beak and not to cover the ears.
  6. Place an orange candy under and between the eyes for the beak.


Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes

I’ve made apple cupcakes a million times. I’m most known for my Tree Hugger Apple cupcakes which I debuted at Cupcake Camp Seattle a few years ago. I’ve made them dozens of times for family and friends. The only problem with these cupcakes is the amount of time they take and the number of steps needed to make them. I wanted to come up with a simpler, yet equally as delicious version of an apple cupcake that could be made in one bowl.

Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes-4

Now, there’s no getting around prepping the apples in butter, sugar and spices. That’s just a MUST for these cupcakes, especially if you want them filled. If you wanted to skip the filling step, you could add the cooked apples to your batter before baking and omit the raw apples from the batter. You’d have swirls of cinnamon and apple throughout the cupcake. YUM!

But, I wanted filled cupcakes this time so I chopped up half a large apple and put that in the batter. I’ll fill the cupcakes when they’re cool with the cooked apple mixture.

I topped these cupcakes with an apple, cinnamon and caramel buttercream… it took has chunks of apples running through it. Super good… super sweet!


Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 12 cupcakes
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup milk (you could use apple juice too)
  • ½ cup chopped apples
  • 1 large apple, chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp milk mixed with 1 heaping tbsp corn starch
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 lb powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 tbsp heavy cream
  • remaining apple mixture
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line your cupcake pan with liners.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugars.
  3. One at a time, mix in the eggs. Add the vanilla then beat on high for 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
  4. Sift into the batter the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Mix by hand about 5-6 strokes.
  5. Add the milk and mix only until all the flour and milk are incorporated.
  6. Gently fold in the apples. Do not over mix!
  7. Bake for 17-19 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Leave in pan for 3-4 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  1. In a medium pan, melt the butter on medium-high heat.
  2. Add the apples, sugars and vanilla and stir. Cook until bubbling, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the milk + cornstarch mixture and bring to a bubble. Cook for 1-2 minutes until thickens.
  4. Remove from heat and continue to stir for about 1 minute.
  5. Set aside to cool.
  6. Fill cupcakes and reserve remaining apple mixture for buttercream.
  1. Cream together the butter and shortening.
  2. Add about ½ the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
  3. Add 1-2 tbsp cream and mix until combined.
  4. Add all of the remaining apple mixture, cinnamon and salt. Mix until smooth.
  5. Add remaining powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
  6. Add enough cream until you get the consistency you desire.
  7. Scrape sides of bowl and mix on high for 1 minute.
  8. Frost cupcakes and drizzle your favorite caramel sauce over frosting.
  1. Core the center of your cupcakes out.
  2. Fill with apple filling.
  3. Top with apple cinnamon buttercream.
  4. Drizzle with your favorite caramel syrup.


Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Jenn and I planned to make caramel apple cupcakes without even chatting about it first!  I guess those Fall flavors are just in the air and we’re ready to get baking!! Apples, cinnamon, nutmeg… OH MY!

You may remember the Tree Hugger Apple cupcakes I made before!  I brought them to my first Cupcake Camp and they were a HUGE success!  My very first recipe I came up with on my own from scratch!  I knew I didn’t want to make these caramel apple cupcakes exactly the same, but some elements of it I knew were too good to pass up.

I started these Caramel Apple Cupcakes with the same pan cooked chopped apples that I used with my Tree Hugger Apple cupcakes.  Sugar, apples, lemon, and spices cooked on low heat to create a ooey gooey apple filling.  Seriously, I could eat it by the spoonful.

Apple Mixture
Makes about 2 cups apple mixture

3 Granny Smith apples, diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp hot water + 1 tbsp corn starch

  1. Over medium high heat,  mix together all the ingredients in a frying pan on the stove.
  2. Bring to a boil then reduce to low and cook for about 10 minutes.  Stirring frequently.
  3. Set aside to cool completely.

Apple Cream Cheese Filling

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup apple mixture
1 tbsp heavy cream (optional)

  1. Cream together the cream cheese and butter using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment.
  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
  3. Mix in the vanilla.
  4. Add the apple mixture and mix on low until just combined.
  5. If mixture is too thick, add a tbsp of heavy cream to smooth out.
Caramel Buttercream
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1lb powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 tbsp caramel syrup
  1. Cream the butter and brown sugar together.
  2. Mix in the vanilla.
  3. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
  4. Add the cream to loosen.
  5. Mix in the caramel syrup and mix until smooth.
  6. Beat on high for 30 seconds, scrape the sides of the bowl and beat again.
  7. EAT!

Apple Cupcakes
Makes 18 full size cupcakes and 24 mini cupcakes

2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup apple juice
1 tbsp vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

1 cup apple mixture

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.  Line cupcake pans with liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, oil, applesauce, juice and vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk/sift together the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. Add the flour to the wet mixture and mix together just until combined.
  5. Fold in the apple mixture.
  6. Fill regular size liners about 2/3 full.  Fill mini liners 1/2 full.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.  Rotate pan after 12 minutes of baking.
  8. Cool in pans for about 7 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  1. After cool, cut a cone out of the center of each regular size cupcake.  Trim off the bottom of the cone.
  2. Core out the center of each mini cupcake using an apple corer.
  3. Fill each cupcake with the cream cheese apple mixture.  Replace to tops of the regular size cupcakes only. (I used a small ice cream scoop to fill the regular size cupcakes and a piping bag to fill the mini’s)
  4. Top with caramel buttercream and then rim with your favorite topping. (Nuts, candy, sprinkles, caramel sauce)
  5. Insert popsicle stick or lollipop stick into center of cupcake.

Gingerbread Latte Cupcakes

I’ve never used molasses before, I’ve never made gingerbread before. To be honest, I don’t know if I’ve ever had more than maybe a couple gingerbread anythings in my life. So why am I making gingerbread cupcakes and cookies? Because it’s Christmas!! [Read more…]

Holiday Chex Mix

Every year growing up my grandmother made Chex Mix.  She’d make enough for every person in the family to have their own bucket full of this yummy snack. [Read more…]