Last night we celebrated a friends birthday so I just had to make red velvet cupcakes. Her birthday falls the day after Valentine's and she's from the south, so it seemed like the perfect excuse.
I was really close to making these with red dye, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it, even if it meant sacrificing the brilliant red color they're so well known for. Instead I went the traditional route... pickled beet juice or red wine vinegar. Although beet juice doesn't sound any more appetizing then two bottles of red dye, I knew it wouldn't be noticed in the flavor and I would have some tasty cupcakes without weird ingredients added to them.
Chocolate Red Velvet Cupcakes
Adapted very loosely from The New American Cooking
makes about 22 cupcakes
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup good quality cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons pickled beet juice or red wine vinegar
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Line muffin tins with cupcake papers.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove the pan from heat, stir in the water and cocoa powder, and allow the mixture to cool.
Beat the eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer, then add the vanilla, buttermilk, baking soda, and beet juice or red wine vinegar and stir well.
Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar into a large bowl. Pour the butter mixture and then the egg mixture and blend thoroughly on low.
Pour the batter into prepared muffin tins, filling about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool the cupcakes for a few minutes in the tin, then allow to cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium bowl blend together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Gradually add in the powdered sugar a 1/2 cup at a time, until it's all incorporated.
Use immediately or place in the refrigerator until read to use. If you place in refrigerator it will harden a bit, so bring back to room temperature before frosting cupcakes.
I managed to frost all 22 cupcakes with only a small amount left over.