Friday, February 10, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Someone accidentally drops a bottle of food coloring into chocolate cake batter, and it's supposed to be the greatest thing ever?

Sorry, I'm still not a huge fan of cake.  And that's not how this recipe originated.  Cocoa powder has a slightly reddish tint under certain baking circumstances.  Someone decided to heighten that with food coloring and call it Red Velvet.

The difference between cakes and cupcakes, or quick breads and muffins, is the size.  They are the same thing, using the same batter.  Any cake recipe can be make as cupcakes, and vice-versa.  What I do find interesting is that most layer cakes say they serve 12-14, while the batter makes 24 cupcakes.  A bit of a tip for people trying to cut back on sweets.

Cupcakes have become very popular, elaborate, and expensive.  $5 each?  They're a bit larger than the ones you make at home, but still...  When I took them to work, they disappeared much faster than the cookies usually do, even though cookies are much easier to snack on.  To make these extra fancy, top the icing with sprinkles, candies, or store-bought cake decorations.

This is the Joy of Baking recipe.  I chose it because it had butter instead of shortening and uses less food coloring.  You should have seen me handling the food coloring.  You would think it was toxic waste!  Don't use wooden utensils with it, and everything will come out.  Actually, I didn't get the color on anything, and it doesn't have to make a mess.

I discovered a substitute for buttermilk.  To just shy of one cup of regular milk, add one tablespoon of white vinegar.  Let sit for five minutes, and it's buttermilk.  I know, this sounds just like the cottage cheese recipe.  If you don't heat the milk first, like for the cheese, what you get is buttermilk.

2-1/2 C cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tb cocoa powder
1/2 C unsalted butter
1-1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 C buttermilk
2 Tb red food coloring (1 oz)
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp baking soda

1.  Sift together flour, salt, and cocoa.  Set aside.

2.  Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Beat in vanilla.

3.  Preheat oven to 350º.  Stir together buttermilk and food color.  Add to butter mix alternately with flour, mixing well after each addition.  Beat batter for one minute.

4. In a small cup, combine vinegar and baking soda to make it fizz.  Quickly stir into batter.

5.  Portion into lined muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack to cool completely before icing.

Makes 2 dozen

Cream Cheese Frosting from The Food Network

1/2 C unsalted butter
1/2 C cream cheese
2 C powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla

1.  Beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth.

2.  Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla.  Beat until fluffy.  If necessary, refrigerate for a few minutes before using.

Difficulty rating  :)

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