El Diablo Red Velvet Saigon Cinnamon Brownies

El Diablo Brownie 2

Pink is a “Pink”

(a lovely flower, aptly named)
but it is also juxtaposed with its cousin
the lascivious…

Scarlet Red

The transparent white blends purity and grace with red
to temper its raw passion
and soften its
wanton hue

It somehow becomes more palate-able…

But on Valentine’s Day
we have permission to
run amok and romp with shades of
Scarlet Lake
Venetian Red
Permanent Rose
Cadmium Red

Red brings to mind..



“El Diablo”

 “El Diablo” has been appearing everywhere lately,
In conversation, music, the radio, orchestra, in print.

Even a friend wants to name her dog

“El Diablo!”

Thus… Red takes the “blush” out of pink and emboldens it to become

Brazen and besmirched
Naughty and Feverish
Resplendent in all its fiery,
intoxicating feisty crimson temptation…


“El Diablo”
Perhaps it is time to become a little


Ahhh… settle down, settle down!
On second thought, create a…

A Scarlet Red Velvet Brownie
Heart ♥ Shaped

besmirched and incensed with the passionate bite of
Vietnamese Saigon cinnamon

Flooded with a pool of frosting…
Strewn about with a splatter of

Crushed Cinnamon Hearts
In a tumultuous crimson disarray..

If you’re lucky, you’ll find them resting in a pool of Blood Orange Black Framboise Coulis
… with an orb of frozen ice cream

These brownies were definitely a little bit of pretty fun to make… they didn’t acquire the heat I was going for, so I’ve written in a suggested “optional” dash of chili powder and/or cayenne. When I make them again, I would add a pinch at a time until I get the subtle heat that I was going for here. Others thought the cinnamon could have been cranked up a bit as well. Again, taste and add the spices as you go…

El Diablo Red Velvet Saigon Cinnamon Brownies

El Diablo Red Velvet Saigon Cinnamon Brownies
Cook time
Total time
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp + red food gel
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp ++ Vietnamese Saigon Cassia Cinnamon
  • Optional: 3/4 tsp chili powder, dash of cayenne… if you like to heat things up… perhaps start with just pinch, taste and add as you go…
  • Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)
  • Valentine’s Cinnamon Heart Candies, crushed
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Butter a 9×13” glass baking pan.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, blend together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Remove from heat, then stir in cocoa powder until blended. Stir in sugar. Mix in red food coloring, blend thoroughly. *If using liquid food coloring, you’ll need much more than this. Keep adding to reach the desired shade of red. Then stir in 4 eggs until blended. Do not over mix. Add vanilla and cinnamon.
  5. Blend in dry ingredients. Taste and adjust cinnamon as needed.
  6. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Smooth top.
  7. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool on a wire rack. Move to countertop, using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out heart shapes. Alternate the heart cutter up then down to make fewer scraps.
  9. Put a sheet of parchment or waxed paper under the wire rack. Make the frosting (recipe below) and pour over the brownies.
  10. Crush cinnamon hearts in a plastic bag, smashing with a rolling-pin. While icing is still moist, sprinkle crushed cinnamon valentine’s hearts over top.

 Cream Cheese Frosting

El Diablo Red Velvet Saigon Cinnamon Brownies
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 1 -2 cups + powdered icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp + milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla, clear vanilla if you have it
  1. In a large bowl, cream together the cream cheese and 1 cup icing sugar at a low speed. Add milk and vanilla and blend. Add additional icing sugar until you reach the volume needed for your brownies… about another cup. Drizzle small amounts of milk in until the frosting is thick yet easily runs off a spoon dipped in.

Blood Orange Black Framboise Coulis

El Diablo Red Velvet Saigon Cinnamon Brownies
  • 3 – 6 oz packages fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tbsp blood orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • (juice from two oranges)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp Royal Chambord Liqueur (Black Raspberry Liqueur)
  1. In a large saucepan, mix together raspberries and sugar. Add orange juice.
  2. Mix cornstarch into one cup of water and add to the saucepan.
  3. Bring to a simmer and boil for about 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
  4. Cool then blend with a blender or immersion blender. Strain to remove seeds.
  5. Stir in Black Raspberry Royal Chambord liqueur to taste.

  • You are the maven of gorgeous desserts Smidge! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Positively exquisite and utterly seductive!ReplyCancel

  • Naughty, naughty doing all this to your food — what the devil has got into you? First a blushing cake wrapped in ruffles and now a completely over-the-top brownie recipe with frosting and red hots and coulis.ReplyCancel

    • Haha, I think I got tired of being “pink” 😉 Thanks, I’d forgotten they are called “red hots”.. I could name a recipe after those!ReplyCancel

  • These look gorgeous. I love the evocative language you use to describe them.ReplyCancel

  • I love the combo of chocolate and heat! Lovely little desserts!ReplyCancel

    • Thanks so much, Eva. I think I picked a cutter that was a bit too small… now I have to eat two at once;)ReplyCancel

  • These look lovely! I love the combination of red white and brownReplyCancel

  • Wanton, red, petals? Grief we all need a cold shower!ReplyCancel

  • Your styling and photography are sooooo good! I love how you’ve gone from subtle pink to scarlet red in just two posts! These desserts look amazing. What a treat for all your family and guests.ReplyCancel

    • I love colors… thinking that I could post a million posts just looking at different shades of color…

  • “I’ll have what she’s having!” 😉
    1: YUM.
    2: I hope there was some Chambord left over for the sipping.
    3: How deeply appropriate that El Diablo requires the crushing of some hearts!! 😉

    • I think next time we should “collude” on a recipe… I’ll cook and photo.. you do the write up:) it would be sensational!!
      And, yes, sadly… there will always be crushing of hearts..
      xoxo SmidgeReplyCancel

  • Love all the gorgeous red and pink hues, especially in the brownies!ReplyCancel

  • These are so beautiful, so romantic, and yes, so delicious too! How much I love your beautiful posts… Whenever I visit, I fall in love once again with your creative world. Thank you, have a nice week, with my love, niaReplyCancel

  • Happy early Valentines Day to you. Im Feverishly in love with chocolate, cinnamon and chilies combination. Take Care, BAMReplyCancel

    • I am jumping the gun a bit with this post.. I think it’s the “school teacher” in me… as soon as Christmas winds up we’re decorating the room with hearts and making red Valentine’s Days crafts…ReplyCancel

  • Sarah

    Absolutely gorgeous. I love everything about this…ReplyCancel

  • “There’ll be a hot time in the old town tonight…” savoring those red hots and spice. Passionate dessert and elegant photography.ReplyCancel

  • Sometimes I feel like I need to read your posts aloud, to truly get the feel for your prose. It’s so beautifully written. And these brownies, a little spicy treat never hurt anyone. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • To think of you reading my words aloud, just gives me the biggest smile! That’s just the biggest compliment! Thanks so much Courtney!ReplyCancel

  • Did someone say brownies :). You know I come running when it comes to chocolate or cocoa powder :). And this recipe sounds so delectable and decadent. I can’t wait to try them. And viewing all your beautiful red flowers has definitely given me an idea for a table decoration 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Those brownies not just look delicious they are also an eye candyReplyCancel

  • What a wonderfu post with such beautiful pictures! I love the idea of the added heat of the pepper!ReplyCancel

  • So beautifully presented and photographed Smidge!
    🙂 MandyReplyCancel

  • So beautiful, so decadent, so naughty!ReplyCancel

  • Wow! Such a beautiful post, Smidge! Too hot, not hot enough, I don’t see anyone uttering anything but praise when presented with these beauties. And that coulis sounds just wonderful! Excellent post!ReplyCancel

  • Beautiful post and is putting me in the mood for Valentine’s Day:) Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Amongst many possibilities with your many talents, I think you could open a smashing bakery, Smidge. These last two rounds of baked goods are over the top beautiful and delicious sounding, too! I love a little heat with chocolate and cinnamon.ReplyCancel

  • Naughty and seductive – these are fantastic.ReplyCancel

  • Wow, what could top those. Probably nothing. They look so perfect for Valentine’s Day and really tasty too!ReplyCancel

  • Sinfully delicious…I am pinning this!ReplyCancel

  • Wow- I’ve never had anything like these before. What flavorful treats these must be!ReplyCancel

  • Fabulous! Your food is always so beautifully photographed. It postitively makes me drool. Gotta go get a tissue…ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous

    Perfectly wicked 😉ReplyCancel

  • Ooh, I wish I’d had those around for breakfast! Gorgeous post and blog. And that dog in your header… I’m melting! Thanks for the recipes – adding them to my stash. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Seriously, that is the best title for a dish. How could you not want to try something named…
    El Diablo Red Velvet Saigon Cinnamon Brownies.ReplyCancel

    • Hahaha, I do enjoy naming my recipes.. Almost as much as eating them. Well, maybe not! Lol! Xoxo Smidge


  • These are gorgeous and so decadent. Love your poetry and the beautiful photos. You are just so talented.ReplyCancel

  • This l;ooks too pretty to eat!ReplyCancel

  • Wow, Smidge! I’ve never seen dessert look so much like a tease! Move over Victoria’s Secret Angels, this one takes the cake!lol ~RuthReplyCancel

  • You’re such a wonderful story teller and photographer – I want to reach into the photos and take a bite !ReplyCancel

  • Chelsey

    Could you tell me how many brownies this recipe makes?ReplyCancel

    • Hi, Chelsey, it makes a 9×13″ pan.. so it would entirely depend on the size of the heart cutter you use.. smaller means more:) Also try to invert each heart (one up then one down, even a bit sideways) to minimize wasted brown between the hearts, you’ll get more that way. I hope that helps you! xxReplyCancel

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