Monday, February 7, 2011

For the Love of Red

A few weeks ago a friend of mine asked if I'd make a dessert for a fundraiser she would be attending.  I jumped at the chance and immediately began sifting through my recipes to find the perfect dessert.  The theme of the night was red, so what better choice is there than red velvet cake?  I thought cupcakes would be perfect since they're portable, portioned controlled (which makes it easier to serve) and just too cute!

I went to my go-to blog for cupcakes - Annie's Eats and found the perfect recipe for red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  If you've never made red velvet before (this was my first time), you should know that it contains a lot (a LOT) of red food coloring.  After all, they're not called pink velvet cupcakes.  :)  I was concerned all of the red food coloring would make the cupcakes taste a bit off (as it tends to do), but I could barely taste it.  I baked these in red foil liners and frosted them using a large star tip.  I topped them off with cute little red paper heart picks.  I had originally planned on decorating the cupcakes using large red heart quins (sprinkles).  Unfortunately, due to a blizzard in the midwest, my package from Fancy Flours was held hostage in a Chicago FedEx warehouse!  They arrived today, so I suppose I could just bake these for Valentine's (twist my arm!).

The cupcakes were a hit, as was the fundraiser.  It was a great night and I felt proud of my little cupcakes for being eaten for such a good cause!  :)  Below is a picture of three of my friends, Alison, Christine and Lainey enjoying their evening.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Yield: about 24 cupcakes
For the cake:
2½ cups cake flour
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1½ cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp. (1 oz.) liquid red food coloring
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. distilled white vinegar
For the frosting:*
8 oz. cream cheese
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt; whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar.  Beat on medium speed until well blended.  Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes.  Let cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired. (I used a large, unlabeled star tip to frost these cupcakes.)

*If you are big on frosting as I am, you may want to increase the quantities by 50%.  That is what I typically do for a batch of 24 cupcakes.  I usually end up with some left over, but I would rather have too much frosting than not enough!

Source: Annie's Eats

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