Red Velvet Cupcakes Try #1

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My brother and his wife are expecting in March… did I tell you that already? So, I am thinking about making the desserts for the baby shower that’s coming up soon. I was sick all weekend with the flu and am losing my voice; however, I still managed to test out some recipes. This will be kind of a review of two different recipes. Two superstar, celebrity chefs if you will: Martha Stewart and Paula Deen (can I just say how ironic this is that they both have gotten bad publicity and I grouped them together?… yeah I guess it’s not that funny). Anyway, I tested out Paula Deen’s cream cheese frosting recipe and Martha Stewart’s red velvet cupcake recipe. Below I included both recipes and my review. If you have made either of these, any suggestions are welcome and wanted!

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Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe

Modified from Martha Stewart’s recipe
**Please note that red velvet is a chocolate cupcake and its coloring is not natural. To achieve the red coloring, you must use food dye.

2.5 c cake flour (this is lighter than all purpose flour)
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
1.5 c sugar
1.5 c vegetable or canola oil
2 lrg eggs room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c buttermilk
1.5 tsp baking soda
2 tsp distilled white vinegar
red gel food coloring dye (optional -use as much as needed to achieve desired coloring)

Step 1:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and put cupcake liners in a cupcake pan. Mix the cake flour and cocoa together.

Step 2:
With the mixer on medium high speed, mix the sugar and oil. Next, mix the eggs in one at a time and then add the vanilla.

Step 3:
Turn the mixer to low and add in the flour mixture in 3 steps:
1. 1/3 of flour mixture
2. half of buttermilk mixture
3. 1/3 of flour mixture
4. half of buttermilk mixture
5. 1/3 of flour mixture
Then add the baking soda and vinegar together, allowing it to foam. Add it to the flour mixture and beat for 10 seconds on medium speed.

Step 4:
Scoop batter into cupcake liners until 3/4 full. Bake for 14 – 16 minutes, rotating the cupcake tray halfway through. Do not frost them until they are completely cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
Modified from Paula Deen’s Recipe

1 pound of cream cheese softened (2 packages)
2 sticks of butter, softened
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
4 c powdered sugar, sifted (confectioner’s sugar)

Beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a mixer until smooth. Then add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time on low speed until fully mixed in. Bump the speed up to high until the frosting is light and fluffy.
*** Be careful because overmixing can make the cream cheese taste like butter… which means double the butter taste ick!

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My Suggestions:
For the red velvet cupcake, the original recipe suggested 20 minutes for baking time, but I cut it down to 18 and my cupcakes were still a little over baked. That is why I suggest 14 to 16 minutes above. Over baking cupcakes makes them very dry. Second, while the cupcakes are cooling, I suggest immediately wrapping them in saran wrap to lock in the moisture. I did not do this, but wish I had. Also, if you are going to add coloring, do not add it to the wet ingredients as the original recipe suggests. Add the coloring to the mixture once everything is fully incorporated. I tried to color the wet ingredients and the yellow yolks changed the coloring I wanted.

For the cream cheese frosting, be careful about over mixing as that can make the cream cheese taste more like butter; however, make sure that you mix it enough so the cream cheese tastes evenly distributed. Also, test the frosting until you like the taste. This may require more powdered sugar than is stated in the original recipe. It was a bit soft for my liking in terms of using decorating tips to frost the cupcakes. I think a stiffer consistency (achieved through using more powdered sugar) would have made the frosting easier to work with and would have looked better on the cupcakes.

***Don’t forget that cream cheese frosting has to be refrigerated so if you are making these in advance don’t ice them until that day!

Do you have any secrets to making cupcakes or cakes moist?
How do you make your cream cheese frosting?

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