It took me a while to finally get around to trying what seems to be everyone ever's favorite cupcake flavor, red velvet. I'm not really sure why it took me so long...I'm pretty sure the fact that red velvet cupcakes are well...bright red that just turned me off...or made me a bit apprehensive and weary about trying them at least. Don't get me wrong, I think food coloring is great and all in certain instances, but there's something about making food itself a really bright color that just seems weird to me. Maybe it's just me, but I'll always think that food that has been turned bright blue, red, green, or any color is weird. Sorry if this offends anyone.
However. I figured that if I could somehow move past the whole bright red factor, there could be something really delicious about red velvet cupcakes...there had to be, there had to be SOMETHING that made them so popular. I had to figure this out. I tried red velvet for the first time, and to be perfectly blunt, I hated it. It just tasted red to me. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it just did. Not to mention that when I found out that red velvet is considered chocolate cake, I got incredibly confused. This didn't taste like chocolate. It tasted red. Sigh. I was disappointed, but not enough to completely abandon hope that I could eventually learn to grow and appreciate a cake flavor as classic as red velvet.
The day finally came. My sister asked me to make half a dozen red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for a friend of hers, and I reluctantly went about making them. Since I had 6 cupcakes left over, I decided to give them a try...and I just couldn't stop eating them. For some reason, I just thought these were really good. They didn't taste red or chocolate-y, or velvet-y, or whatever. They were just really, really, really good. I was so happy with them.
You should make these too. They're easy to make, and I'm sure they'll make you happy too.
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
both from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
For the Red Velvet Cupcakes
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons red food coloring
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 1/3 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 oz cream cheese, cold
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper cupcake liners.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Increase the mixer speed, and slowly add the egg, mixing until everything is well incorporated.
In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder, red food coloring, and vanilla extract. Stir until a thick paste-like consistency has been reached. Add this mixture to the butter mixture, and cream together until well mixed, making sure the red coloring is evenly distributed. Reduce the mixer speed, and add the buttermilk and flour in two additions each, beginning with the buttermilk, and ending with the flour. Mix until combined, and a smooth batter is reached. Reduce the mixer speed, and add the salt, baking soda, and vinegar. Beat until the batter is well mixed.
Evenly divide the batter among the 12 prepared cupcake cups. Bake in the preheated oven until the cupcakes have domed slightly and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the cupcake pan before transferring to wire racks to cool completely before frosting.
While the cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting. In the bowl of a standard electric mixer, beat together the powdered sugar and butter until the mixture begins to come together. Add the cold cream cheese all at once, and beat on high speed until the frosting is completely incorporated, light, and fluffy.