Sunday, February 14, 2010

V is for Velvet: Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe

Red Velvet Cupcake.

Just in time for Valentine's Day - some rich red velvet cupcakes to spark a smile on your sweetie's face. I took a cue from Paula Deen.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe Courtesy Paula Deen, 2007

Cook Time: 20 min
Prep: 20 min
Total: 40 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 24 frosted cupcakes

* 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
* 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
* 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
* 2 large eggs, room temperature
* 2 tablespoons red food coloring
* 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
* 1 pound cream cheese, softened
* 2 sticks butter, softened
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
* Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish [Optional]

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
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.

Garnish with chopped pecans and a fresh raspberry or strawberry. [Note: I just used whatever I had on hand - sprinkles]

Cook's Note: Frost the cupcakes with a butter knife or pipe it on with a big star tip.

All Frosted Up.

With Sprinkles.

I modified the ingredients a bit after perusing the reader's comments, which proved to be a good move. Namely, I reduced the amount of vegetable oil from 1.5 cup to 1 cup and increased the buttermilk from 1 c. to 1.5 c. The original amount made the cupcakes much too oily, and grease leaked through the cupcake tins. I would use more cocoa powder in the future since I really like chocolate...and for more of a Sugar Sweet Sunshine taste rather than something out of Betty Crocker's book.

Oh, and go for regular cream cheese - none of that low-fat nonsense! The frosting will wow you. Even thought it was my first time making red velvet cupcakes, I was quite pleased with the results. [Note to self: use electric mixer next time. My arm ached from the manual mixer, but it sure made the frosting one smooth operator.]

First Bite.

My family was the first to test these babies out, and by the way they were gulfing them down, I take that as a good sign. All in all, a good first effort!

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