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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I could hold out no longer, I had to have cream cheese icing.  Cream cheese icing for me is Donuts to Homer.  Short from just making a bowl of icing to eat, which don't get me wrong I could do;  I needed to determine a vehicle for the icing.   Pumpkin cupcakes or cookies are generally my first choice but in the absence of any pumpkin in my cupboard, I defaulted to an easier option--Red Velvet cupcakes. Red Velvet cupcakes are popping up all over these days.  They are light, easy and interesting. They are not vanilla but not quite chocolate, as the cocoa in the recipe is generally quite small.   The cake gets its red colour not from the cocoa but  from food paste or colouring.  Hmmm, maybe I will try a blue velvet cupcake sometime.  Stay tuned.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

(Adapted from Martha Stewart)

  • 1 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, room tenp
  • 1/4 tsp red gel food colour
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
Cream Cheese Icing
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • chocolate shavings, if desired.
1) Preheat oven to 350F.  Line mini (24) or regular (12) muffin pan with liners.   
2) Whisk together flour, cocoa, espresso and salt.  Using a mixer (stand or electric), beat together sugar and oil on high until combined.  Add egg, red gel and vanilla until incorporated.

3) Add the flour mixture and sour cream, alternating between the two, whisk after each addition.  (Starting and ending with flour)
4) Mix together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl,  this will foam.  Add to batch and beat on medium for 10 seconds.

5) Divide the batter evenly amoung the lined cups, filling three quarters full.   Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a toothpick comes out clean, about 15 minutes.   Transfer to a rack to cool.   Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature or frozen up to 2 months in airtight containers.

Cream cheese icing:
1) Beat cream cheese and butter.  Add icing sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy.  Adjust icing sugar amount to your desired stiffness and sweetness. 
2) Spread on the icing with an offset spatula or place the icing in a piping bag with your desired tip and swirl on to cupcake and sprinkle on chocolate shavings.

I added the espresso to add a bit of a kick to the recipe but it wasn't quite enough and didn't make the impact I wanted it to.  I also thought it would be fun to put the cupcakes in little candy cups but getting them out was trickier than anticipated and I ended up cutting little slits into the sides so people could get them out.   I did rather enjoy the recipe though, it was light, with a nice tanginess that went perfect with the cream cheese icing.  It was a great vehicle for my craving. 



  1. DELICIOUS... I am a sucker for Cream Cheese Frosting as well (as the size of my ass will testify).

    And I just love the idea of ramekins as a base fro your photos!

  2. Just beautiful! I also love cream cheese frosting, sometimes I just eat it with a spoon!

  3. Where did you get those baking cups? I've seen them on a few different blogs, but I can't seem to find where to buy them?


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