Now, this is not a cooking blog, but lately, I’ve noticed a rise in popularity of the bogus notion that red velvet cupcakes are merely yellow-batter cake with red food coloring. Not naming names, but you famous pastry chefs peddling this travesty know who you are. I say this with love: you’re wrong and I can help you.
To me, four key ingredients constitute red velvet: buttermilk, cocoa, vinegar, and the red food coloring. Here’s my favorite recipe, modified from one that appeared in the December 2009 Cooking Light. I altered it slightly by increasing the amount of vanilla, using whole buttermilk, and mixing the vinegar, vanilla, and food coloring together before pouring those ingredients into the batter. Whole buttermilk can be tough to find; if I couldn’t find it I would make buttermilk from whole sweet milk instead of using the non-fat buttermilk.
Large bowl for butter-sugar mixture, medium bowl for dry ingredients, medium bowl for icing, cupcake liners, cupcake tray, electric mixer, dry measuring cups, liquid measuring cups, measuring spoons, whisk, spoon, spatulas, icing bag w/tips,wire racks for cooling, kitchen music – like Sharon Jones, Teddy Thompson, Jamie Lidell, or my boyfriend, Dave Matthews.
2 ½ cups cake flour
3 T unsweetened cocoa
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 ½ cups regular sugar
6 T butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 ¼ cups whole buttermilk
1 ½ t white vinegar
2 t vanilla extract
2 T (1 ounce) red food coloring, actually I just use the entire bottle. One of the small, regular sized bottles.
4 t whole buttermilk
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 lb. (about 3 ½ cups) powdered sugar
1 ½ t vanilla extract
2. Place 24 cupcake liners in cooking tray and spray with Pam.
3. Lightly spoon cake flour into measuring cups. In the medium bowl combine cake flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir with your whisk.
4. In the large bowl, mix the sugar and butter on medium for about three minutes until well-blended. Add one egg; beat well. Add egg number two; beat well.
5. Beginning with the flour mixture, alternate blending flour mixture then buttermilk to the butter-cream mixture in the large bowl. End with the flour mixture.
6. Into a clean liquid measuring cup, measure out the white vinegar, food coloring, and vanilla. Pour this into the batter mixture in the large bowl and beat well.
7. Spoon batter into the cupcake liners. Bake for about 20 minutes until the top bounces back at the touch or a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before icing.
8. Make the frosting by beating the butter, buttermilk, and cream cheese with a mixer at a high-speed until fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add vanilla and beat well.
9. Spoon the frosting into a piping bag and ice the cupcakes as you like.
These cupcakes are pretty small, so it’s fine to eat two. Or three. And, Happy birthday Nylce’s Jack!