I had to include this photo because it struck me as kind of gruesome – the cupcake massacre of Easter 2012! The bunny’s eyebrows make him look demented and the dripping icing looks like fangs! lol “Take another bite outta my cupcake and I’m gonna mess you up!”
My daughter is not quite 8 months old so she can’t partake of Easter goodies just yet, but I felt as if I should make something because it’s a holiday and all. I ate so much chocolate this past week so I actually wanted something else, something I hadn’t tried making before, and I settled on Red Velvet Cupcakes. I’d never heard of red velvet until I took a trip to NY City a few years ago and had them at Buttercup Bake Shop. They were fabulous! And this Martha Stewart recipe is a winner as well. I didn’t want to use too much food colouring so they’re more like pink velvet cupcakes. The cake is so light and airy but holds together well, and the icing is out of this world – sweet and cream cheesy just like it should be. I’ve tried a couple of red velvet cupcakes here in town and I find they don’t have enough cream cheese flavour. I suspect they use shortening or maybe even marshmallow fluff? This recipe is pure butter, cheese, and icing sugar. It would be perfect for carrot cake as well.
Red Velvet Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food color
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla.
Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers. To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting.
Cook’s Note: Gel-paste food color is much more concentrated than the supermarket liquid variety; if you substitute the liquid, you may need to add an entire bottle (1.5 ounces) to achieve the desired shade.
Cream Cheese Icing
(Makes 4 cups)
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, and then vanilla; mix until smooth.