Posted on Friday, 27th August 2010 by Grace Massa Langlois
I am more than a little embarrassed to say that I had never heard of Red Velvet Cupcakes until I watched a repeat episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay a few months back. It’s been on my list to make ever since. With the weekend coming I thought it would be the perfect treat to have on hand. The house is always full on the weekends with my children’s friends visiting.
One thing I’ve learned over the years, teenagers love cupcakes! They disappear so quickly. Plus, they are easy to serve; I place them on the kitchen island, they walk in; grab one, no forks or plates required and clean up is a breeze, even the crumbs are gone!
The Red Velvet Cupcake has become quite popular over recent years but the history of the cake is still a bit of a mystery. Some say it was invented at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, others say it was invented in the South and there’s also been mention that it was invented in Canada at the Eaton’s department store restaurant.
The story surrounding the Waldorf-Astoria is that it was their signature dessert at the hotel in the 1920′s. Others doubt it was ever served there. By 1959 an urban myth started circulating stating that a woman requested the recipe and apparently the Waldorf sent her the recipe with a bill attached for something like $300 (that was a lot of money for a recipe then…and now!). She was furious and her revenge was to distribute the secret recipe via a chain letter. Can you imagine if that happened today with email?
The New York Times did an article on the cake titled So Naughty, So Nice and in the article they described the cake and I quote “It’s a cake that can stop traffic. The layers are an improbable red that can vary from a fluorescent pink to a dark ruddy mahogany. The colour, often enhanced by buckets of food colouring, becomes even more eye-catching set against clouds of snowy icing, like a slosh of glossy lipstick framed by platinum blond curls. Even the name has a vampy allure: red velvet.”
Now you can even have a calorie-free version of red velvet cake. Philosophy (bath and beauty care company) introduced a line of products with a red velvet cake theme. For example, you can buy a Red Velvet Cake Lip Shine/Lip Gloss that tastes just like the cake. What a coincidence!
Me I’d rather enjoy the true taste experience. This cupcake is light and moist with a mild chocolate flavour, frosted with a rich, sweet and velvety cream cheese frosting. Why did it take me so long to make them?!
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Red Velvet Cupcakes
(from Martha Stewart, Cupcakes)
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food colouring or 2 tablespoons red food colouring (liquid)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Using a fine-mesh sieve, sift the cake flour, cocoa and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk to combine; set aside.
- With a stand mixer on medium-high speed, fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each egg is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in the food colouring and vanilla.
- Reduce the speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of the buttermilk, and whisking well after each addition, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add the baking soda mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed for 10 seconds.
- Divide batter evenly among the lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
- To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Refrigerate up to 3 days in airtight containers, bring to room temperature before serving.
Cream Cheese Frosting
(from Martha Stewart, Cupcakes)
Makes 4 cups
- 1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Using a fine-mesh sieve, sift icing sugar into a medium bowl.
- With a stand mixer on medium-high speed, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix until smooth and combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
- If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 3 days in an airtight container; before using bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again.
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Tags: after school treat, afternoon tea, cake, cakes, cupcakes, dessert, dessert photos, desserts, food, food photography, food photos, frosting, gourmet cupcakes, icing, individual dessert, individual desserts, mini cakes, small cakes
Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Recipes