Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I brag about my sweet tooth all the time, but I rarely get a chance to tout my stove top victories. Yesterday, I baked Pinch My Salt's red velvet cupcake recipe for my loved ones OK, for myself. These suckers were moist with the right amount of cocoa. I added more powdered sugar, vanilla extract and food coloring where I saw fit. Surprisingly, wasn't as messy as I thought. I tried to prep prior to baking (that's a stretch for me)!

I have yet to meet one person that doesn't like red velvet, but its great for birthdays and Valentine's Day.
Read on for the recipe for the cupcakes and frosting:

Red Velvet Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz. red food coloring (two bottles)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.
2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste (I added an additional 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and food coloring), scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.

4. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Yes, it will fizz (that was kinda cool)! Add vinegar mixture to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Using an ice cream scoop, fill cupcake cups with cake batter - they should be 2/3 – 3/4 full - (You may not fill all the cups, I ended up with 21 cupcakes). Place muffin tins on the middle rack of a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for approximately 20-22 minutes (mine took a little longer, about 25 minutes), rotating pans halfway through. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Check early and (and often so you) don’t overbake!
5. Cool the cupcakes in their tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove and allow to cool completely before frosting.  Frost cupcakes with cream cheese icing (recipe below)

Cream Cheese Frosting
16 oz. cream cheese (2 packages), softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Turn mixer to low speed and blend in powdered sugar (I added an additional 1/2 cup), salt and vanilla extract.  Turn mixer on high and beat until light and fluffy. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.  If refrigerated, the frosting will need to be brought to room temperature before using (after frosting softens up, beat with mixer until smooth).

 Lesson learned:
  • I took Pinch My Salt author, Nicole's suggestion and used a ice cream scoop to evenly distribute batter into the cupcake tin
  • Tablespoon=tbsp, teaspoon=tsp. Mishap averted, almost added a tablespoon of salt and vinegar, which could have been bad

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