Monday, February 14, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes


Happy Valentine's Day!  Today is one of the most love-filled days with weddings, romance, flowers, candy and let's not forget yummy desserts!

Red Velvet is a classic go-to idea for this special occasion as it's festive color lends itself well to the vibrant shades of red and pink!  I know it probably seems like a cop-out to go with red velvet on this day, but I have to say I do love the flavor combination of the cocoa-esque cake combined with the rich, cream cheese frosting!  It was clearly a no-brainer for me as I've been craving them for a while now!

So one blog, in particular, I really enjoy following...she's a friend on an online cooking/baking community that I belong to and one of the reasons I love her blog so much is that she does these incredible comparisons!  Every once in a while, Bridget, from The Way the Cookie Crumbles, goes on a whim and compares some of the top-rated recipes for a particular item.  I think her sugar cookie comparison is, by far, my favorite!  But when it came to making red velvet cupcakes this time around, I wanted to do something different than my normal go-to family recipe (passed down by my Great Aunt Linda).  But there are so many out there and it was hard to choose, which drew me to Bridget's blog as I was 99% positive that she would have a red velvet comparison!

Sure enough, she did!  She actually took the time to compare 5 different recipes.  Seriously, if y'all have never seen her comparisons, you need to venture over there and check them out.  They really are fantastic and she is so thorough that even if you don't want to go with her top pick, you have enough information on the other recipes to decide which one would be best for you.

Anywho, she compared 5 recipes (all very popular among our foodie community) and chose Kelsey's version of Saveur's Red Velvet Cake (Kelsey is another friend of ours, from Apple a Day) as her favorite recipe.  So I decided to give it a shot....

This recipe was good, but if I may be honest, I will say that I much prefer my Aunt's recipe!  The texture of Kelsey's was really nice; they were moist and really baked up well.  But there was something missing with the flavor and I'm not sure what it was.  I followed the recipe to a "tee" but I think that the flavors of my Aunt's recipe are a little more predominant, which is why I love them!  For me, I like that cocoa flavor to come through a little more (and for some people, they'd rather not).  I know it's a personal preference just like some people hate red velvet!

I think I would make this recipe again; however I would tweak it a bit more to let that flavor shine!  All in all, it's definitely a keeper just not my favorite (sometimes you just can't beat a good ol' family recipe)!

Red Velvet Cake

Ingredients - Cake
2½ cups Flour
1½ cups Sugar
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tbsp. Cocoa Powder
1 Tsp. Salt
2 Eggs
1½ cups Vegetable Oil
1 cup Buttermilk
2 Tbsp. Red food coloring
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 Tsp. White Distilled Vinegar

Ingredients - Frosting
1 - 12oz. pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1½ Tsp. Vanilla Extract
3 cups Powdered Sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar until well combined. Add in half of the dry ingredients and beat until smooth; add in the remaining dry ingredients and continue beating until the mixture is smooth (about 2 minutes).

Divide the batter evenly between 3 8-inch round cake pans, greased and floured.  Bake, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean (about 25-30 minutes).

Let the cakes cool 5 minutes, then invert each onto a plate, then invert again onto a cooling rack. Let cakes cool completely.

**For cupcakes, divide the batter into cupcake liners inserted into a cupcake tin.  Bake until a toothpick inserted int he center comes out clean (about 18-22 minutes).

To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together in a large bowl until combined well.  Gradually add in the powdered sugar and continue beating until the mixture becomes light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).

Put 1 cake layer on a cake plate, level off with a serrated knife, and spread one-quarter of the frosting on top. Set another layer on top, level, and repeat frosting. Set remaining layer on top, level, and frost top and sides with a thin crumb coat layer; repeat with a second layer of frosting and decorate as desired.

Chill for 2 hours to set frosting.

**For cupcakes, divide the frosting recipe by 1/4 as you won't need that much!

Yield: 1 8-inch, 3-layer cake or 20 cupcakes
Source: Adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles, from Apple a Day (originally from Cake Man    


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