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Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Funny Valentine

I've done Red Velvet before with little success. The cake tends to be dry and not have a lot of flavor. It's crumbly instead of moist. But what can I say, I try and try again. I look for recipes and see what is different about them. Usually nothing is different. They most always have buttermilk, the most always have a touch of white vinegar. But finally I found one that was a little bit different so I decided to give it a try. I was NOT sorry!!! This recipe made moist and delicious Red Velvet cupcakes.

You start out like you do many cakes... cream the butter and the sugar together. When that is nice and fluffy.... wait, let's back track. Have you ever creamed butter and sugar and had it come out looking fluffy? Depending the ratios of butter to sugar, I really haven't. As much as I bake, I would not call butter and sugar mixed together fluffy. Yet most recipes say that's how it should look. I'd call it creamy or silky, maybe even velvety... but fluffy? No. So anyway blend until the butter and sugar looks velvety. Add eggs and mix well. Here's where one of the different things comes in. Take your red food coloring and make a paste out of it and the cocoa powder. I use Ghirardelli Cocoa Powder and would never use anything else. It's fantastic! But if you use Hershey's or whatever, knock yourself out.

Add the paste to the velvety butter, sugar and egg mixture. A lot of recipes I've come across call for 2 bottles of red food coloring. Believe me when I say, one bottle is enough! See, it's plenty red! I really don't think you need two bottles! That's just kooky talk.

Then you add your flour and salt. From there you add, one at a time, buttermilk, vanilla and then water. Water was one of those ingredients I don't often find in a red velvet recipe. But here's the kicker. When that is all mixed, stop the mixer and take the bowl off. Then mix together baking soda and white vinegar. It bubbles and effervesces. When it's doing that, fold it into your batter. Make sure it's mixed in, but by hand only, not the mixer.

Then pour the batter into your cupcake cups. About three quarters full (a little more than I am showing here). And bake for 15-20 minutes.

When they are completely cool, it's time for that oh so delish cream cheese icing. You need cream cheese and butter at room temperature, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. In the mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until... what? Say it with me... CREAMY. Screw this fluffy nonsense! Then sift your powdered sugar and add to the butter mixture. Then the vanilla. Beat until you have a nice smooth and velvety consistency. And then ice away!!!

These cupcakes are absolutely incredible. Of course I'm a little bias because I think just about anything is delish when it has cream cheese icing slapped on top of it. But it's true, these are way better than any of the red velvet cake recipes I have tried. Give them a go and let me know how you like them!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2 ounces water
1 ounce red food coloring (1 bottle)
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream Cheese Icing

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake papers. Cream butter and sugar until (ugh) fluffy. Add eggs and blend well. Make a paste of cocoa and food coloring and then add to the butter mixture. Sift flour and salt together and then add to butter mixture. One at a time, add buttermilk, vanilla and water. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and white vinegar then fold it into cake batter. Make sure it's all incorporated by hand, not with the mixer. Pour the batter into the cupcake cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove to a cooling rack.

For the frosting, blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth then add sifted powder sugar and vanilla. Beat until well blended and smooth. Ice as you like! I like to pipe it out into a nice swirl. Enjoy!

1 comment:

dgili84 said...

I can vouch for these cupcakes! They are amazing! The cake is moist and doesn't crumble and the frosting is oh so creamy and flavorful!