One of my all time favorite and one of the most requested cupcake flavors is the Red Velvet Cupcake. A classic chocolate cupcake tinted with a red hue and topped with a sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting. I have catered a few events here and there, and this is hands down always on the list. I thought it would be most fitting to start this blog off with a classic recipe, just in time for Valentines Day. Both recipes are found in endless cookbooks, each with varying ingredients from buttermilk, to cake flour, to the varying cream cheese to butter ratios. I will tell you now, I love sour cream in cupcake batters. I will also just say, I’m a huge fan of a good, dense cupcake with a delicate crumb. Over the next few months there is sure to be a series in baking cupcakes, where I’m sure to go into every detail about this national crazed bakery item. For now, let’s just delve right in. You always want to begin with your “Mise en Place” — a French term that means “Everything in its place”. Make sure you read through your recipe first and have your ingredients at room temperature, measured and ready to go. Preheat your oven at least 30 minutes in advance. There will be more on this in another post in a few weeks, but okay, moving on.
Preheat your oven to 350. Have your pans ready to go with the cupcake liners. Your first step is to cream the butter and sugar together in an electric mixer, on medium speed for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy, and pale yellow in color.
Beat in the eggs one at a time. mixing well after each one. Your batter should look similar to this.
Now this recipe has a few steps that are a little different from most. Usually a cake recipe will call for alternating the dry and wet ingredients. But, I kinda like a little rebellion in a recipe 😉 So, in the next step here you will add the sour cream (we’re talking the full fat kind, always), milk, food coloring and good vanilla, not imitation.
Gradually beat in the flour mixture on low-speed until just blended, about 10-15 seconds. Do not over beat. This will incorporate too much air, hence resulting in cupcakes that will spread. Your batter will look like this.
Now, this recipe has a darker red hue due to the amount of cocoa powder. It’s the way I like it. Dark red and chocolatey. Remove the bowl from the mixer and with a spatula, scrape the very bottom of the bowl just once or twice to ensure that it is well blended. The reason for this is that sometimes there can be a slight bit of the butter/sugar mixture at the bottom of the bowl. I always use a large ice cream scoop to ensure that each cupcake is the same size (as shown here).
I use grease-proof liners to bake cupcakes because they seem to be a bit sturdier. This will ensure that no butter or oil will seep through the liner. Now you will bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until the top of your cupcake bounces back slightly. And, they will look lovely like this.
The frosting recipe is below. I use a 16′ piping bag, with an Ateco #809 tip to frost the top of the cupcakes. Then I added a little gold shimmer, candy hearts and a cute Valentines topper purchased here to finish them off.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick (8 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 (8 ounce) package cold cream cheese
pinch of kosher salt
3 3/4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter, cream cheese and salt on medium speed until smooth and creamy 2-3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add the confectioners sugar and beat until incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated.Do not over mix or the frosting will incorporate too much air: it should be creamy and dense, like ice cream. Add milk 1 tsp at a time if frosting does not have a spreadable consistency. Enjoy.