We have been on a bit of a cupcake detox here in the Larson house. After making them for special events three weekends in a row, Lars begged for a few weeks free of flour and sugar flying through the air and chasing down Noo as she ran through the kitchen with a frosting covered mixer paddle! But as promised, here are a few of the sweet baking details…yum.
This was the state of our kitchen counter for pretty much the entire month of May…
Seriously, could red velvets be any more aesthetically pleasing?
This was the first round of homemade red velvet. Beautiful. I love them. However, I do have a small gripe…it pains me to poor nearly an entire bottle of red food coloring into the batter. There has got to be a better, more natural way to achieve their gorgeous glow! When I figure it out, I promise to share.
I did an internet search for several recipes before deciding on the one, the only Paula Dean. There are just some things you know she does right…
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups veg oil
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons red food coloring
- 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1 pound cream cheese, softened
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries for garnish.
**I seriously suggest only making a half batch of this for 24 cupcakes. Unless you like having a giant tub of delicious cream cheese temptation staring at you every time you open the fridge door…
I also must admit that I did not sift…not a darn thing. I’m a rebel 😉
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.
Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
Most Unholy Fattening Thing I’ve Ever Ingested Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.
Garnish with chopped pecans and a fresh raspberry or strawberry. I chose raspberries…love them.
Here is the second batch. These are also “red velvets”, sans the food coloring. One of my little nieces is very much allergic to Red Dye #40, so obvi an entire bottle of red food coloring dossed cupcakes would not be on the menu for her. These were for my mom’s bday bash, so I made them kid friendly. Without the coloring, they were sort of a brownish color, but with the yummy icing and beautiful fresh berries, I don’t think anyone cared!
The THIRD batch was made for a bridal shower. Remember Lindsey’s Beautiful Bridal Shower? I loved the contrast of the red cake in the foil wrappers. I also made vanilla cupcakes with fresh strawberry icing for the shower. I have found that the simplest way to jazz up any cupcake is by making a fresh fruit icing. And it is sooo easy.
- 1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
- Pinch of coarse salt
- 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
**I used fresh strawberries since they looked so good at the grocery store! I followed the same process, but I found that fresh strawberries didn’t puree as smoothly, which I sort of liked because it left delicious chunks of fresh berries in every bite!
- Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners’ sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.
Baking is becoming so much fun to do with little Noo! She was so used to seeing the mixer out that she began to refer to it as, “cupcake momma”. I can’t wait to plan out some crazy cupcakes or monstrous yo gabba gabba cake for her birthday!
In the meantime, I’m going to wipe the drool from my chin and attempt not to make eye contact with my mixer!
Repeating to self, “summer, summer, summer…bathing suit, bathing suit, bathing suit…”