Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Red (velvet), white and blue

For our July 4th BBQ, I wanted to make some sort of patriotic-looking dessert. I'd also recently discovered a love of red velvet when I made these cookies. Red velvet cake... white cream cheese icing... blue sprinkles... perfect!

I went in search of a good recipe. As I often do, I perused, found a popular red velvet cupcake recipe and then spent a good half hour reading the comments for suggestions on how to tweak the recipe to make it especially awesome. Then, using commenters' suggestions, I found a frosting recipe and repeated the process.

In the end, here's what I made:

Red Velvet Cupcakes


1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 fluid ounce red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with 20 paper baking cups.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, red food coloring and vanilla. Stir in the baking soda and vinegar. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt; stir into the batter just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.

3. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter and frost with desired frosting.

My notes:

*I only used about .75 oz of food coloring, and the color looked great. I didn't want to overdo it because some commenters said you could taste the food coloring if you used too much.

*I only used about two tablespoons of cocoa because some commenters said it tasted too chocolatey.

*I used about 3/4 teaspoon of salt instead of a full teaspoon, per suggestions.

*I made mostly mini-cupcakes (until I ran out of mini cupcake paper baking cups, and then I made four regular sized cupcakes, hehe). The little guys only took about 12 minutes to bake.

Cream Cheese Frosting


2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.

More notes:

*For chocolate frosting, the author of this recipe, Janni, suggests adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup cocoa, depending on how rich you like your frosting.

*I have about 1-1/2 to 2 cups of frosting left over, which I am very excited about. I'm thinking I might make some spice cookies or a carrot cake to use up the rest up.

Anyway, the cupcakes were a hit. I think these are my new annual July 4th dessert!


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