i get all girly this time of year. suddenly pink and red are my favorite colors again, i heart hearts, and i make cupcakes. love is in the air. i’m not referring to the commercial-boxed candy-outrageously expensive flowers kind of love. but the sweet, homemade, and special kind that can only come from time spent making someone feel loved (see above photo, which really needs no explaining). this not only made me and everyone else who drove by smile, but i bet bubba felt pretty good about it, too.
i think it’s time to make some cupcakes, don’t you? i decided to try my hand at those perfectly retro beauties, red velvets. after you see how much food coloring is in them, you might cringe. but then, like me, you’ll probably eat them anyway. so bad yet….so good. i made them, then gave them away to everyone i knew. give ’em a try and spread the love.
red velvet cupcakes (adapted from “the confetti cakes cookbook” by elisa strauss)
try these with a glass of sparkling from these folks–it’s all good!
3½ cups cake flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch process)
1½ teaspoons salt
2 cups canola oil
2¼ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) red food coloring*
1½ teaspoons real vanilla extract
1¼ cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking soda
2½ teaspoons white vinegar.
1. preheat oven to 350 degrees. place cupcake liners in muffin pans.
2. whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl.
3. place oil and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well-blended. beat in eggs one at a time. with machine on low, VERY slowly add red food coloring. (take care: it may splash.) add vanilla. add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two batches. scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine.
4. place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running. beat for 10 seconds. this is super fun science-experiment cooking stuff!
5. fill cupcake liners about 1/2-1/3 full, place in oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 18 to 25 minutes. rotate pans 1/2 way through cooking (this is a good habit to get into while baking anything–it allows for anyone’s oven to provide even heat and doneness). let cool in pans for a few minutes. then remove from pans and cool completely before frosting.
* yes–it is a shocking amount of food coloring. i started to read the ingredients on the food color label, then decided not to so i could enjoy them. i have heard of other methods of getting the red hue (beets, strawberries) but i believe none are as effective.
yield: 30-35 cupcakes (or 3 cake layers).
cream cheese frosting
1 stick unsalted butter (12 TBSP), room temperature
1 block cream cheese (8ounces), room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-3 cups powdered sugar
beat cream cheese and butter in a bowl with a hand mixer until fully combined, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl as needed. add vanilla. slowly add powdered sugar, about 1/2 at a time until desired sweetness. i highly recommend that you do NOT dump all the sugar in at once–it becomes too sweet (yes, there such a thing) fast. this is the cool thing about making your own food–you can control the quality of your ingredients and season or sweeten how you like! i ended up using about 2 1/2 cups to mine.
pre-baking (yes–they really are that red!):