Birthdays. Birthdays? Birthdays! Today we’re going to take a quick detour on our series of pasta and focus on the one food item associated with birthdays–cakes! More specifically, let’s focus on mini cupcakes today. The reason why we’re focusing on mini cupcakes is primarily due to the fact that I catered my best friends birthday party today.
The menu consisted of quadruple chocolate chip cookie cupcakes, red velvet cupcake, and better than sex chocolate cupcakes. So in conjunction to our pasta series, l’m going to be sharing my recipes to the cupcakes that literally blew people’s mind away.
It starts with my red velvet cakes which were the “least” popular although no one seemed to want to tell me what the worst cupcake was. It is an adaptation of the Southern Red Velvet Cake recipe posted over at food network.
Red Velvet Cupcake
Yield: 24 regular cupcakes or 54 mini cupcakes
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons red food coloring (1 ounce)
- 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with liners.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.
Divide the cake batter, filling to the top for domed mini cupcakes, or 2/3 full for regular sized undomed cupcakes. place the cakes into the oven and allow them to bake for 16 to 18 minutes, rotating half way. Remove them when a cake tester comes out clean.
Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool for 3 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the baking pans and let cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 pound cream cheese, softened
- 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup), softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held electric mixer in a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and butter on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape the down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.)
Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the vanilla, raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using. May be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Yield: enough to frost a 3 layer (9-inch) cake, more than enough to frost 24 regular or 48 mini cupcakes.
A quick note on the yield of the frosting recipe: I would actually halve the recipe for cupcakes especially because it is designed to fully frost a three layer cake.
My primary modifications to the recipe lie in the cake. People frequently ask me what gives red velvet cake its red color and in modern culinary practice, people use red food coloring. What’s worth mentioning is the other question: What is, exactly, red velvet cake. The most typical answer is a simple red cake with a hint of cocoa. Well after numerous repetitions of this recipe, I have found that a simple teaspoon to be too little of a hint of cocoa so I have decreased the flour amount and increased the amount of cocoa that goes in.
After that, this recipe is actually relatively straight forward, despite having a crazily fancy connotation being connected to it. Red Velvet cake is actually hard to mess up, consisting of mostly combining the wet, the dry, and mixing the two together. I would definitely like to note the importance of sifting here. Sifting the dry ingredients together not only helps evenly distribute the flavors, it also helps producing that nice airy texture while maintaining a certain level of moistness in the cake.
A final note I’d like to make is not over mixing. A rule of thumb I keep is to avoid over mixing once the dry and the wet have married. Unless the goal is something like bread where the presence of gluten is a blessing, over mixing produces a tough undesirable product, which probably doesn’t taste horrible. Yes you read that right it doesn’t taste horrible…. but it could taste better.
Well, theres my post on red velvet! Any questions or comments? Let me know! We’ll pick up right where we left off tomorrow with the pasta and the cupcakes!