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Friday, July 18, 2008

Rolling Out the Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes: they’re everywhere!

You know how something isn’t in your consciousness at all and then one day, you discover it, and suddenly they seem to be everywhere? That’s how it was for me and Red Velvet cupcakes. The first time I ever heard of red velvet cupcakes was when a friend recently told me about the most amazing red velvet cupcakes she had in Chicago. It still didn’t really register in my mind then because I had not really had any opportunity to try them.

Then on my birthday, my friend Jessica brought me a red velvet cupcake from Sugar Butter Flour (no, not the blogger), a local bakery that she had just discovered and loved. I took one bite of the cupcake... and the next thing I knew, all that was left were crumbs on the table. That cupcake was amazingly good. I started going back to Sugar, Butter, Flour often, just to get my red velvet cupcake fix.

I was hooked on red velvet cupcakes!

Sugar Butter Flour red velvet cupcake

Then I decided it was time to try to make this on my own. And yes, just around the time I started looking up recipes, pictures of these cupcakes started to appear in more blogs and food picture sites. It was like a signpost telling me, “Jump on the bandwagon, Annie, and get on with it.”

Jumping on the bandwagon

So last week, I had guests over and decided to try a recipe. It didn’t look too hard. I had almost everything needed including red food coloring (all 2 Tbsp of it!). I also figured, I had a flavor standard (the Sugar, Butter Flour cupcakes that I devoured so much of to feed my addiction) that I could use as my benchmark.

9 red velvet cupcakes

For my first attempt, I tried the recipe posted on Em’s blog. It was a very simple recipe and didn’t take too much time at all.

9 red velvet cupcakes in a diamond

Frosting to die for

I found the cupcake recipe itself to be not moist enough (it wasn’t a bad recipe but not quite what I am looking for). But the killer in this recipe had to be the frosting—it was SO GOOD!

Seriously, that frosting—TO DIE FOR! And when I served it after our Killer Kalbi meal, even my overstuffed friends found room to eat a cupcake. One friend who doesn’t care too much for cakes said she would share with her hubby and took one bite then took another and then another. She said the frosting was really good. So Em, thank you so much for the incredible frosting. I don’t think I need to look for any other frosting.

Em's Magnificent Cream Cheese Icing

Adapted from the 06/98 Cream Cheese Icing recipe

1 8oz pkg of cream cheese - room temperature, divided in three parts
2 tablespoons unsalted butter - COLD
1 tablespoon shortening
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar

Beat sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and combine very well. Add the first third of the cream cheese and combine very well. Add the shortening and combine very well. Add the remaining cream cheese one piece at a time, combining very well after each. Combine thoroughly until light and fluffy.

red velvet with cream cheese frosting

Coming back to the cake itself, I’m still on my search. The next recipe I try will be one I found on the Food Network website. Do you have a red velvet recipe that you'd like to share?

Cheers, Annie

Popular Baking posts: Pandan Waffles, Rotiboy Butter Buns, The Best Cream Scones Ever, Third Aunt's Butter Cake

More food porn


tigerfish said...

Cupcakes are the IN thing now...even in Hong Kong.

P.S The celery shreds - they were done using a fruit shredder! :)

Unknown said...

So glad the icing worked out for you :)

Have a delicious day!

Avory said...

This is my great aunt's recipe (we're from NC, so it's authentic and all that):

1) Sift together two cups of flour, a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of baking soda, and two tablespoons cocoa.
2) Cream 1-1/2 cups sugar and two cups oil. Make sure it's well blended.
3) Beat in a couple of eggs. Again, make sure it's well blended.
4) Add a teaspoon of distilled white vinegar and about half a bottle of red food colouring (the recipe says two bottles, but I find that slightly silly). Blend that in, then drop your mixer speed down to low. 5) Alternate the dry ingredients and a cup of buttermilk. Start with flour, then buttermilk, flour, buttermilk, flour. Make sure to blend the dry ingredients all the way in before going to the next addition. 6) Finally, add a teaspoon of vanilla, blend it in, and then pour your batter into two greased 9" round cake pans. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until it tests done.

If you do it in cake pans, you cool fully on racks before turning out and frosting. I'm sure it would work in cupcake tins too, though! You might adjust the time a little. I have no idea what the red velvet cupcake craze is, but it's fun to watch :-)

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@Tigerfish - hm, I wonder if the cupcake craze here started the trend over in Asia, or is it the other way around?

@Em - Your frosting is the bomb! Thanks again!

@Judith - I am honored that you shared your great aunt's recipe with me! We will definitely try it out.

Anyone else feel like sharing their tried-and-true red velvet recipes?

My Sweet & Saucy said...

The frosting does look amazing!

ana dane said...

your frosting does sound delicious, but for a more authentic version (at least according to my outspoken birmingham, alabama, grandmother), try this variation. it is truly to die for:

mix together 6 tablespoons flour and 1 cup milk in a small saucepan. bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes. let cool at room temp for 2 hours.

in a separate bowl, cream together 1 cup unsalted butter and 1 cup granulated sugar. add in flour mixture and beat until light and fluffy.

Unknown said...

Those are some mighty fine cupcakes!

Jeanine - The Baking Beauties said...

Wow, they look amazing! I should try to find a gluten free're right, they are everywhere now!

Nic said...

I've not made red velvet cakes before, but you make them look mighty good! Love that last photo with the frosting.

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@Sweet & Saucy - thanks!

@ana dane - really, there's no cream cheese involved in your grandmother's frosting?

@snag - thanks!

@Jeanine - hm, a gf version sounds interesting.

@nicisme - thanks. You should try it out too.

SteamyKitchen said...

wow - look at the awesome vibrant red!

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@Steamy - We got the industrial-size bottle of red food coloring LOL.

@Alysia - Oops, I accidentally deleted your comment. Please email your red velvet recipe to me. See the About Us link for our email address.

(Gotta get that contact page up mutter mutter mutter)

Susan said...

So stylish and professionally decorated.
You give me courage to try again. My last attempt tasted horribly of chemicals, too much red dye, no doubt, yet they wouldn't color up.

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@Susan - thanks! Good luck with your next attempt.

Alyssa & Ethan's Mommy said...

Ever since I saw your post, I have been wanting to make these cupcakes. I finally did using your cream cheese icing recipe and red velvet recipe (found here they were a hit!! The recipe I found was an adapted version of a Paula Deen's red velvet cupcake recipe and very flavorful and moist. Yum!

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@Alyssa - thank you so much for the red velvet recipe suggestion!

* said...

Your cupcakes look heavenly. I'll have to try your recipe. Thanks for sharing!

Nurit "1 family. friendly. food." said...

these look sooo good. I never had this treat before. (but I am a food-coloring phobic...)

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@Nurit - what's wrong with food coloring?

Anonymous said...

What tip was used for the one frosted with the nuts on top?

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@Anonymous - don't know...that one was from Sugar Butter Flour!

Gerry said...

I tried this recipe first and liked it so I made it as party favours for 50 people! From the feedback I got from friends, they liked it.

The colour of the batter after you add the red food colouring is amazing! I just could not stop admiring the slightly reddish chrome colour.

I filled the cupcake holders till about 1cm from the top for the first batch but they didn't rise very much. Certainly not as nice as the ones that you made. So I filled it up more for the rest but still... I used the icing liberally to decorate so it was very pretty and did hide the slight gap at the edge of the holders.

The taste is nice but I by the 2nd day, the cupcake was a little dense. Still, I will definitely make it again.