When someone asks me if I'll make something for them to bring to a party, it's like asking a fish if it would like to go for a swim. Really, you don't have to be nervous about asking. The only string I attach is some time and space for picture taking (without the eye rolling/complaining/looking over my shoulder to see if I'm done.) I think that's a fair deal. Plus it gives me an excuse to make things that I may not have wanted to reattempt after a series of let-downs...such as these cupcakes.
Red velvet cake has never been at the top of my to-do list. Taste wise, it never really did anything for me and I usually just ended up eating the cream cheese frosting, leaving the dreaded stump-of-shame. Since I had a request for red velvet cupcakes, I had to put aside my misgivings and find a 'wow' recipe. And I did! This recipe blew all the others out of the batter. It's super moist,almost pudding-like, and it actually has a distinguishable vanilla/chocolate flavour. So to the other person out there who has never been a fan of red velvet cake, please give this one a chance, I promise that you'll get a much bigger reaction than the usual 'meh'.
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
(cupcake recipe from Joy the Baker and Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 Tablespoons red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
Maple cream cheese frosting ingredients*
4 oz of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
about 2 Tablespoons of cream or milk
2 1/2-3 cups of confectioners sugar, sifted
Prepare the cupcakes: In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Turn mixer to high and add the egg. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.
In a separate bowl mix together cocoa, vanilla and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter, mixing thoroughly until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.
Turn mixer to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.
Turn mixer to low and add baking soda and white vinegar. Turn to high and beat a few more minutes.
Spoon batter into a paper lined cupcake baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean.
Let rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then place them of a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
Frosting: Place the cream cheese and butter into the bowl of your stand-mixer. Or into any large bowl, if you're using a hand-held. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and combined. Don't worry if it's chunky, it will smooth out once you add the sugar. Reduce the mixer to low and add the maple syrup and cream. Increase the speed and beat until well combined. On low speed, slowly add the sugar. Don't add it all at once or you will end up with sugar everywhere. If the frosting is too thick, add a little bit more cream (remember, a little bit goes a long way.) If it's too thin, add more sugar. You're aiming for a nice, spreadable consistence.
*If you want to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes, you may want to double the frosting ingredients.*
Makes 12 cupcakes