The first time I baked red velvet cupcakes, I brought them into work and my naturopath co-worker asked me if I used beets to color the batter red.
I looked at him in confusion, "what? Beets?"
He looked at me just as shocked and asked, "what? Chemicals?"
Interestingly, the week before I was to bake these cupcakes Martha featured a pastry chef who made a beet-chocolate cake on the show, and a few days later Raiuchka left me a comment telling me she and her son made beet-velvet cupcakes for Valentines Day.
Okay Universe, I get it. I'LL TRY THE BEETS.
But not just yet.
February 15, 2009
Name of cupcake: Red Velvet Cupcakes
Occasion: Baby shower!
Constituents: Red Velvet Cupcakes (chemically colored) with (chemically colored) cream cheese frosting and (chemically colored) sprinkles
The recipe I use for red velvet cupcakes comes from someplace on the internet. I heard that RLB's new cake book will have a red velvet recipe and I am pretty curious to see if she calls for beets or chemicals. Either way, I'm sure it will be delicious.
This recipe is pretty darn good, too. The cake is light and springy, moist and faintly chocolate, just like a red velvet cake ought to be. There are a few extra steps when making red velvet cake but all in all the mixing and baking are fairly smooth and quick. And tasty.
The colors for the baby shower were pink and green, so I tinted the cream cheese frosting pink and green to match. I also decided to try and fancy up the cupcakes by piping on the frosting. Now, unlike smart people who would practice piping before actually doing it on the real cupcakes, of which there was only one to spare, I dove right in and taught myself how to pipe icing on the actual cupcakes I would be serving. I think I have a sort of naive arrogance about my ability to learn new skills, but don't tell anyone I said that.
Of course, the piping job was passable--maybe even a little comical--but nobody pointed and laughed or shamed me for my frosting problems, so everything came out all right in the end.
Everything also came out quite red--fingers, mouths, you name it. Gotta love those chemicals.
Red Velvet Cake, pilfered from somewhere on the Internet
I have a wonderful recipe from my Aunt Mildred in Florida... I have not thought much about this cake that I just ADORED as a child!*
- 1/2 c butter
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 TBSP (heaping) cocoa
- 2 1/4 c of cake flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 TBSP white vinegar
- 1 1/2 c sugar
- 2 ounces (1/4 c) red food coloring
- 1 c buttermilk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking soda
Cream butter and sugar, then add eggs. Make a paste of food coloring and cocoa and add to the creamed mixture. Add alternate buttermilk with flour and salt, then add the vanilla. Add soda to the vinegar.
HOLD OVER THE BOWL, AS IT FOAMS! Then add the soda and vinegar to the mixture, blending instead of beating. Bake 25 to 30 mins. at 350 degrees in two 8-inch greased and floured round cake pans. Cool on racks. Using very sharp knife, or dental floss (yes, dental floss!) split each layer into 2 layers.
*From ECL: Thanks Catperson and Aunt Mildred!
PS--the baby has since been born and mom and babe are doing well!