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Sunday, June 21, 2009

In Search of a Manly Man's Cupcake: The Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

It's my younger brother's birthday this weekend and we needed a birthday cake to celebrate... and I was in the mood to make cupcakes. Unfortunately, my brother is a manly man & the strawberry cupcakes with pink icing I wanted to make (yay for Ontario strawberries!) are way too girly for him.

Then I remembered one of my favourite movies from the 90s, Steel Magnolias. (It has a great cast & goes down as the ultimate chick flick in the best possible way.)

Now, the girl relationships in this movie aren't the real inspiration for this cake. But in the movie, Julia Robert's character, Shelby, makes a mention of an armadillo-shaped red velvet groom's cake. Now, that sounds manly, non?

Maybe in your neck of the woods, red velvet cakes were always popular... but it seems to me red velvet cupcakes seem to be quite fashionable these days... making the requisite rounds on the food blogs, and in the boutique bakeries. Although it's a dramatic looking thing, the red velvet cake is a simple cake with a hint of cocoa and bold dash of red food colouring. Certainly good enough to celebrate a manly man's birthday.

Martha Stewart has a beautiful recipe for Red Velvet cupcakes on her website which is what I have used here.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
From Martha Stewart

Makes 24
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
1.5 oz red food color (about a small bottle)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla.
Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

Spread cupcakes with frosting. Eat at room temperature. (Store in the fridge if not eating immediately.)

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 lb unsalted butter, room temperature
250 grams cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, and then vanilla; mix until smooth. Frosting can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; before using, bring to room temperature, and beat until smooth.
(This recipe is adjusted from Martha's - the original recipe calls for 1/2lb butter & 4 c of confectioners' sugar.)

Note: Food colouring isn't my favourite thing - you could potentially get the colour for grated beets.
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