Sunday, June 25, 2017

Things I baked: Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting


Red velvet cake is one of those things that is wildly popular, yet I've never really understood the draw.  I've always cared more about taste then looks, so the excessive red coloring seems strange to me.  It also claims to be chocolate flavored, yet allows only a scant amount of cocoa to make sure the red color shines through.  However I find myself making it every few years by request (often for birthdays).  This recipe was very popular last week, especially the cream cheese frosting.  It makes a nice light and fluffy, barely chocolate, flavored cake. For the frosting I go heavy on the cream cheese, giving a tangy frosting that is not too sweet.




A note about the blog: 
When I initially started this blog I aspired to have my own mini-version of the food blogs that had inspired me, like Smitten Kitchen or Orangette.  I aimed to only post recipes that I had adapted myself and that I had made at least 2 or 3 times in that format, to ensure they were high quality recipes accompanied by quality photos to lure you in.  However these goals along with my work schedule, meant that I found myself posting a new recipe every other month or so, even though I bake 2-3 times a week.  As coworkers recently kept asking me if a  recipe was on my blog for my most recent creation, I realized that maybe I should change my blogging habits.

So I am going to try out a new category of blog posts called "things I baked."  These will be recipes that I haven't had time to perfect and maybe only tried once.  They will likely be accompanied by photos from my phone/ipad, in whatever lighting is available as I pull them from the oven.  But it means I will hopefully post more frequently, allowing us to find out if sometimes quantity is better than quality :).


Red Velvet Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
Mildly adapted from the NYT
makes 2 dozen cup cakes, or 2 round 9' layer cakes

Ingredients for cake:
1 cup milk
1 Tb vinegar
1/2 cup (113 grams) butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
Red food coloring (2 TB of liquid, or about 1 tsp gel)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cup flour

Ingredients for cream cheese frosting:
8 ounces/225 grams cream cheese - room temperature
1/4 cup (56 grams)  - room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar - sifted

Make the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350f / 165 c and line two muffin trays with cupcake liners

  1. Pour the milk into a small bowl or glass measuring cup, then add the vinegar.  Let this sit and curdle while you start making the batter.  (This is homemade buttermilk).
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl (this takes about 3-5 minutes, even w/ soft butter, longer if it is not soft)
  3. Add eggs and vanilla, and mix well, followed by the cocoa.
  4. Dissolve your food coloring in a few tablespoons of your milk (prepared above), then add it into the batter.  Add more food coloring if needed to make the desired color.
  5. Sift together the baking soda, salt, and flour (you could probably skip this step without repercussions)
  6. Add half the dry ingredients to the batter and mix well, then 1/2 the buttermilk (milk/vinegar) and mix well, then repeat with the rest of the dry then wet ingredients.  It may look curdled during this process, but it then should come together.
  7. Fill cup cake tins 3/4 full.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cupcakes spring back when pressed gently with your fingertip.  Cool on a wire rack.
Make the cream cheese frosting:
  1. Mix the cream cheese and butter well with an electric beater (or by hand), till soft and will mixed.  
  2. Slowly add in the sifted powdered sugar (NB: if you don't sift it, you will likely get a lumpy frosting!)
Once your cupcakes are cooled - frost them generously and enjoy.





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