Monday, November 21, 2011

Seeing Red

Moist and Delicious Red Velvet Cupcakes for Emily's Birthday
I am far, far away from my home and in St. Louis directing a charming holiday comedy called My Three Angels. It's been a fast and furious rehearsal process full of wonderful discoveries and challenges. I am extremely lucky to have this opportunity to work in such a great city with such talented people. Among them is a lovely actor named Emily. She is portraying the role of the ingenue, Marie-Louise, a stubborn and romantically-minded young woman in love with a good-looking douche bag. On one of the first nights of rehearsal, Emily told us that her birthday was today. When I asked her favorite variety of cupcake, she replied without missing a beat: "Red velvet." My mom had been raving about some Red Velvet Cupcakes she had whipped up a few months ago, so I took this as the perfect opportunity to get myself back into the kitchen and try out the recipe. I made a couple of changes to my mom's recipe based on what was on hand in Dan's kitchen. They came out great. Fingers crossed that Emily will like eating this birthday surprise as much as we liked baking them!
- 2 1/2 c. flour
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 Tbsp. red food coloring
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 c. room temperature buttermilk
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 2 Tsp. vanilla, divided
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 4 c. or so of powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin tins with 24 paper liners and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In another bowl combine vegetable oil, buttermilk, eggs, 1 Tbsp. vanilla, food coloring, and vinegar. Blend until thoroughly combined with a hand mixer. Batter should be smooth, thick, and bright red. In two of three batches, add the dry ingredients to the buttermilk mixture. Blend thoroughly after each addition. Using a tablespoon, fill each cupcake liner with batter to 2/3 of the way full.

Bake cupcakes in oven for about 20-30 minutes until they are cooked through and slightly raised. Remove from oven and cool in pan for about 5 minutes before turning out onto a rack. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

In the meantime, go ahead . . . taste the batter. You know you want to.

When the cupcakes have cooled completely prepare the cream cheese frosting. Blend together room temperature butter and cream cheese with a hand mixer. Add remaining Tbsp. of vanilla. Slowly add powdered sugar to the mixture about a cup at a time and blend after each addition until the frosting has reached the desired consistency. Carefully frost each cupcake with a butter knife or off-set spatula. Yum. Enjoy eating and sharing these tasty little treats!

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