Okay, I know, I know, I’m a tease. I have been teasing Twitter relentlessly for more than a week now with news of my red velvet cupcake escapades. Here’s the recipe along with the recipe for cream cheese frosting.
Let me say this LOUD AND CLEAR right now: THIS IS NOT MY RECIPE. THIS IS FROM “COOKS ILLUSTRATED MAGAZINE.” ALL “NOTES” TO THE RECIPE ARE MINE BUT THE RECIPE ITSELF IS NOT OF MY DESIGN.
Now that that’s out of the way…
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Cooks Illustrated Magazine, Holiday Baking (Winter 2010), page 5.
Yield: 22-23 standard sized cupcakes or 2 9-inch round cakes (the layer cake will serve approximately 12 people)
Note: This recipe must be prepared with natural cocoa powder. Dutch-processed cocoa will not rise and will not yield proper color.
2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch of table salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
2 tablespoons (one 1-ounce bottle) red food coloring
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
Just a note on the cocoa powder: DON’T pack it! Use a “scoop and scrape” technique. Scoop a tablespoon out of the container and level it with the back of a knife. “Loose” is key.
Also, this goes without saying for all baking recipes unless specifically noted: all “cold” ingredients must be at room temperature before you can mix them (about an hour to two hours out on the counter).
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans (if you’re using layer cake pans, otherwise just use paper or silicone cupcake holders into a 12-cupcake pan). Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, and eggs in large measuring cup. Mix cocoa with food coloring in small bowl until smooth paste forms.
2. With stand mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as necessary. Add one-third of flour mixture and beat on medium-low speed until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add half of buttermilk mixture and beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl as necessary and repeat with half of remaining flour mixture, remaining buttermilk mixture, and finally remaining flour mixture. Scrape down bowl, add cocoa mixture, and beat on medium speed until completely incorporated. Using rubber spatula, give final stir.
Scrape into prepared pans until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 25 minutes. If you’re making cupcakes cook them for 20 minutes then check them. Cool cakes in pans about 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely, at least 30 minutes.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Yields enough for about 24 cupcakes or one 2-layer 9-inch cake.
2 sticks unsalted butter
4 cups of powdered sugar
16 oz cream cheese
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
In the bowl of a stand mixer cut the two sticks of butter into the sugar. Blend till creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape bowl. Cut the cream cheese into 8 pieces and add one piece at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Once all cheese is fully incorporated, add salt and vanilla and mix just till blended. Give frosting one final stir with spatula.
You can use it immediately or refrigerate till ready. You can also freeze any leftover frosting, it will keep for about 3 months. Defrost fully before using.