Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I love Red Velvet cake. I'm not sure what it is about it, exactly, that I love so much (the cream cheese butter cream frosting, perhaps?), but boy howdy, is it good. The name "red velvet" comes from the reaction that happens between the vinegar and buttermilk in the recipe, which turns the cocoa a reddish color. However, cocoa nowadays is more alkaline, so you really have to add red food coloring to get that deep red color that makes it so lovely.

I had the urge to make some cupcakes yesterday, so I did a little online research, found some recipes that I liked, and then tweaked a couple to come up with these. You'll want to make sure you use butter (not margarine) and regular cream cheese (not reduced fat) in the icing, because it will really mess with the consistency. Plus, if you are going to eat a red velvet cupcake, you might as well go all-out, right?

Red Velvet Cupcakes (makes 1 dozen)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with cupcake papers.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl, beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer (be sure to use a "low" setting when mixing so that you don't spatter red food coloring all over the walls!). Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined. Fill each muffin tin about 2/3 filled. Bake for about 20 to 22 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Buttercream Icing
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (add more in 1/2 cup increments for stiffer icing)

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

*Updated to add: Melissa asked me what kind of cupcake papers I used for these - - some of them were regular liners, but in the first photo, those cupcakes are in Wilton Nut & Party cups - - I recently saw some cupcakes made in these and liked how they look. You can find them wherever Wilton cake decorating supplies are sold.


Cheryl said...

Dang those cupcakes look good...I wonder how many Weight Watchers points I would have to use for one of those-oh heck, who cares!

Kate said...

I've wanted to try red velvet cake since Steel Magnolias came out-remembers the grooms cake was "bleeding red". Maybe this will be my excuse to finally make it.

Margaret said...

Its not proper to drool, but I am over these cupcakes, they look delish! I'll definately make them and "Sissy" you'll have to come and eat them with me!!

Heather said...

Kate that's so funny that you mentioned Steel Magnolias...I was thinking of that "Bleedin' Armadilla" groom's cake when I was making them. That is one of my favorite scenes in the movie...when Shirley MacLean gives Tom Skerrit the armadillo's "hind quarters".

kirsten said...

Cupcakes look fabulous! As one of your long time devoted fans, I have "readers questions"- How do you find the time to make all these amazing desserts with two young kids? How do you keep them distracted while you cook? do you bake late at night? And how often do you bake?
PS. I'm so glad your tests came back fine!

Heather said...

Hi Kirsten! I baked these cupcakes last night after the boys went to bed, but decorated them this a.m. . I usually bake during the day and either the boys "help" me or they are playing together. It doesn't always work out so smoothly but we have a pretty set schedule that we follow during the day that allows me to do things like baking.

Melissa said...

Holy camoley Heather those look delicious!! I looove red velvet - and Steel Magnolias. :)

Those don't look like the usual muffin liners - are they?

Mum said...

Yummy! I just want to lick the screen!

Mark said...

It is funny, I had never heard of red velvet cake until I got to Texas. Seems like you have known about the cake style for many years!

The cake is so good!!

Keep sending the recipes!


Emily said...

I have yet to find a gluten-free red velvet cake. If you know of one, pls. share the wealth!

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