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Sunday, January 24, 2010

red velvet goodness



it's birthday weekend around our house for a certain almost 9-year-old (the actual b-day is tomorrow), so i'm working on my second  batch of red velvet cupcakes. i made the first batch, thinking the child would want to take some to her saturday and sunday riding lessons, but when it came down to it, she was so afraid they would sing to her or that someone would think she was bringing treats because she fell off the last time (which you must do), she refused to let us take the cupcakes along. in the end, we didn't really mind, because that meant there were more for us.



we had an extensive discussion around here as to the completely wrongheaded labeling of these cupcakes as muffins. that discussion extended to twitter, where it was agreed by those in the know, that these are indeed cupcakes. muffins, in some sense, purport to be healthy, whereas these red velvety little fellas are pure sin and have no redeeming nutritional value. if the frosting has nearly 500grams of butter in it, it's not a muffin. in fact, if it has frosting, in my book, it's not a muffin (a lemony glaze doesn't count as frosting).



now we're making a second batch of them since there are no longer enough left for the child to take to school tomorrow to share with her class. the recipe below makes 40 cupcakes. there are about a dozen left, but there are 20 in her class, so that's not enough. it seems that with teenagers around the house, you can go through a lotta cupcakes.

red velvet cupcakes

3-1/2 cups of flour
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
6 T red food coloring
3 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 C buttermilk
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 recipe creamy vanilla frosting (below)

preheat your oven to 175°C/350°F. prepare your muffin tins by lining with cupcake papers.

in a small bowl, sift the flour  and baking powder and set aside. in the large bowl of your electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. in  a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, vanilla and cocoa. add to the batter and beat well.

in a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. with each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are blended and smooth.

divide the batter among the prepared pans. bake for 15-20 minutes. remove them from the tins and allow them to cool completely before frosting.

creamy vanilla frosting

as i have written on this one, "this frosting is da bizness." i used to use a martha stewart buttercream, but this one just behaves so beautifully and tastes so divine that i use it now for all my cakes. i think i found it originally on epicurious.com, but i'm not actually sure anymore, as it's one of those i've hand-written into a little notebook.

6 T flour
2 C milk
2 C butter, softened
2 C sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

in a medium-sized saucepan, whisk the flour into the milk until smooth. place over medium heat and, while stirring constantly, cook until the mixture becomes thick and begins to bubble (10-15 minutes). cover with waxed paper, placed directly on the surface, and cool to room temperature. this takes about 30 minutes.

using your electric mixer, beat the butter for 3 minutes until it's creamy and smooth. gradually add the sugar, beating continuously until it's fluffy. add the vanilla and beat well.

add the cooled, cooked milk mixture and continue to beat on high speed for 5 minutes, until it's very smooth and noticeably whiter in color. i used organic sugar, which isn't very white and if you whip long enough, it becomes quite white anyway. cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

put it in a piping bag and pipe it onto the well-cooled cupcakes (or use a knife and spread it - i just think it looks prettier if you pipe it on). sprinkle with the sprinkles of your choice.



a note on measurements: we discussed extensively at blog camp the conversion of american cups into grams and vice versa. we have discovered that there are vast differences in the weights of flour especially, so we're going to provide the recipes in their original measurements, rather than doing any conversion. i recommend googling a converter and using your best cooking judgement. that, and get your hands on some US measuring cups. lots of recipes out there use the american measurements, so you won't go wrong owning your own set, no matter where you live. we'll be putting some links to some of the converters we've used along the sidebar, but trust your own good cooking instincts. you surely know your own ingredients best.

16 comments:

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

My daughter has a birthday in February--I will make these for her to take to her school.

Thanks for sharing your recipe!

Best
Tracy :)

Char said...

it's my brother's favorite cake!

T Opdycke said...

Red velvet is a family favorite and your recipe for frosting is exactly like mine, a recipe that has been in the family for several generations. It's the creamiest frosting I know of.

dogimo said...

These are clearly nutritious! These look as nutritious to me as the top of a cumulous cloud, as the hard diamond glints scattered across a blueblack sea seen from the top of a cliff on a brilliant day. As nutritious as winter's first snow, or it's spring melt, and the new grass peeking up.

The soul's nutritional needs are different.

Molly said...

Love dogimo's comment :)

Thanks for this - I plan to copy it very soon, do you think you could use the same measurements and bake it in 2 cake tins?
Pleased that I'm on the right track with the white frosting too. That flour and milk mix is brilliant for colour but also cutting through the butteryness a bit - I've also thought plain buttercream icing a bit over the top.
Yummo - thank you!

Molly said...

and Happy Birthday Sabin!

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

Mmmm! Those look delicious. We've a birthday here this week too. Hmmm....

kristina said...

Oh yum! I've never actually made red velvet cupcakes. Now on my cupcake to-do list!

And I agree about measurements. Conversions never work. Just better to own a scale and a set of cups and measuring spoons, so you're covered for every eventuality!

Although there are still some funny ones, like American vs. British egg sizes and American vs. Australian tablespoons, when two things that are called the same thing are actually different...ack!

K x

Nimble said...

So I guess if you (forgive me) leave out the red food coloring they'd just be light brownish cupcakes? And my mind is a bit blown by thinking of just beating in regular granulated sugar. I bet it tastes better than confectioner's sugar. Thanks for the sweet recipes!

The pale observer said...

Happy Birthday to your girl! Those cupcakes look like works of art!!! If only I could bake... :)

Lucy said...

All the food shots here are so delectable!

Do you know you can put blitzed beetroot in cakes? (Not pickled of course!) I've only done it in chocolate cake, so the colour gets rather lost, just darkening the chocolate, but it makes it very moist and rich. Perhaps that could work like red food colouring?

Magpie said...

That icing sounds fascinating. The simple butter + confectioner's sugar never does it for me, and a real buttercream is such a production.

Anne said...

These look lovely! I adore red velvet cake, and your cupcakes are a beautiful color. I completely agree with you about the muffin v. cupcake distinction, by the way. :)

And good for Sabin for getting back on the horse!

jorg wobblington lopez said...

Misleading blog title

Bee said...

Is there anyone who doesn't who have a birthday this week? (I had to make carrot cake AGAIN last night.) I do think that red velvet cupcakes are the perfect thing for anyone in the 9-12 range, though. I might have to make these for Valentine's Day.

Dogimo's comment was so poetic . . . but Nimble, without the red food coloring, these cupcakes will definitely be an unappetizing shade of brown (not rich enough to be properly chocolate looking). As for Lucy's beetroot suggestion, has anyone tried that? I wonder if it would give a purplish tinge?

Jorg - What were you looking for, I wonder?

Julochka - I'm looking forward to trying this frosting. Does it need to be refrigerated?

AscenderRisesAbove said...

visiting from soul aperature; this really caught my attention; my mom used to make this cake all the time; and I was in contact with a friend who i have not seen in a very long time; she said she had a dream of me and this cake... so could not help but say hello.
ascenderrisesabove.com

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