May was a weird month. I’ve mentioned already how busy it was, which caused me to neglect my updating, but there was also a random element that kept popping up, again and again. What was this, you ask? Red velvet cupcakes. How weird is that?
From the very first day of May, when my husband and I went out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary, until the last weekend when we were out of town to visit family, red velvet cupcakes were a continuing theme throughout the month. It included everything from samples, to a freebie on our anniversary dinner, to mentions on tv and even in books. So, I took it upon myself to find a recipe and give them a try. Obviously something was trying to tell me something, right?
I decided to try Paula Deen’s recipe, because hers was one of the above-mentioned TV shows that aired during the month. In the review section it’s suggested to use less oil, which I did, and I also added in a full tablespoon of cocoa since a teaspoon just seemed useless to me.
The cupcakes were good, not too oily thanks to cutting the amount of oil in half, but I’m still not sure what the appeal of red velvet is other than the cool color. They tasted like plain cupcakes, despite the cocoa, though the cream cheese frosting is delicious. I also used chopped walnuts instead of pecans because that’s what I had on-hand.
Red Velvet Cupcakes
adapted from Paula Deen
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 Tb cocoa powder
3/4 c vegetable oil
1 c buttermilk, room temperature (or use one cup of milk with a tablespoon of vinegar added, stir)
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 Tbs liquid red food coloring (one entire small bottle)
1 tsp white distilled vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 lb cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 c sifted confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.
Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.
Garnish with chopped pecans and a fresh raspberry or strawberry.