So, this is the red velvet test run. I used a recipe from Magnolia Bakery in NY, after seeing a video of Bobbie Lloyd of the bakery making these cupcakes on Epicurious. (You can watch the video if you click on the video tab... note: She says 1 1/2 cups of butter when she should have said 1 1/2 sticks of butter... BIG difference.) If you follow this recipe exactly, yes, a lot of separate bowls are needed. I wanted to follow the recipe precisely to see if the result warranted the tediousness... and it did produce a wonderfully light and airy cupcake. The cake wasn't too sweet and the icing stayed in place (I didn't make her creamy vanilla frosting...).
I'd probably mix the batter a bit more than I did, while still avoiding overmixing, to ensure that the colouring spread evenly through the batter. I had a bit of marbling, which didn't impact the taste and actually looks kinda cool, but I'd rather not have it in the next batch. (A note to myself for test run #2. :) ) I may actually sub out the vanilla in the icing and opt for coconut extract, with shaved coconut, for that extra bit of punch.
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
3 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons red food coloring*
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
*I couldn't find a large bottle of liquid red food colouring, so I opted to buy the gel/jarred colouring and mixed the colouring with 6 tablespoons of warm water. Seemed to work out well.
Heat oven to 350 F. Prepare your muffin tins.
Sift your flour in one bowl and set aside. In another bowl or in your mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add your eggs, one at a time. Mixing well between additions. In another bowl, mix together cocoa, vanilla and food colouring.
In a measuring cup, mix the buttermilk and salt. Alternating between the two, add the buttermilk mixture and sifted flour to the batter (egg-sugar-butter-colouring mix). Take care not to overbeat... you'll activate the gluten in the flour and make your cake heavier than you want it to be. In a small bowl, mix the baking soda and vinegar. Add to the cake. Mix well.
Now, divide your batter into your muffin tins and put into the oven for 20 minutes.** Cool for 10 minute in the pan, then completely on a rack (about another 15 minutes. While the cupcakes cool, you can make the icing.
**A few comments here:
- I made this recipe into 24 cupcakes and the cupcakes were a bit larger than I would have liked. I think that the batter could make about 28-30 cupcakes easily and not spill over the top as much.
- My muffin tins were not coordinated - one light and one dark. The dark tin cooked the cupcakes in 20 minutes. The light tin required an extra 5 minutes. Either way, I'd set your timer for 20 minutes and check the cupcakes.. you just may need to give them a few minutes longer to be sure that they are done.
(If you want to make this as a cake, the recipe says to grease and flour your cake tins. Then bake for 30-40 minutes. Cool for an hour in the pan, then completely on a rack.)
1 250g brick cream cheese
1/2 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
400g icing sugar (just shy of 1/2 2 kilo bag)
Cream the butter and cream cheese together. Add the vanilla, then slowly -unless looking forward to a white film over you and everything you own- incorporate the icing sugar into the cream/butter. Either pipe or slather on to your completely cooled cupcakes.
And the song! I nearly forgot! I was listening to John Mayer... so I'm going to go with Slow Dancing in a Burning Room.