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I love red velvet cupcakes. I love that people think they’re fancy just because they’re red. I love the delicious cream cheese frosting they’re topped with. And I love the slight tinge of chocolate within them.

Many of my friends here had never heard of red velvet cupcakes so I figured it was time to introduce them. The birthday girl requested chocolate but many others were asking for another New York Cheesecake so I figured this would be a perfect compromise. There’s really no better way to combine chocolate and cream cheese than a red velvet cupcake.

Red velvet cupcakes are pretty simple ingredient-wise, the only thing that can be expensive is the red food dye. Because you actually need quite a lot to get that really deep red color and unfortunately it’s not one of those ingredients you can ditch to save money, though it doesn’t really add to the taste you can’t have brown red velvet cupcakes. That just doesn’t make any sense.

So we splurged on the dye and that actually ended up being our only expense since we have a pretty well stocked baking pantry.

I had a lot of fun icing these too, I simply put the icing into a sandwich size ziploc bag and cut a hole in the corner and frosted away! Though the fire alarm kept threatening to go off during all the icing and I had many roommates passing by and subtly stealing a finger-full of icing out of the bowl while I was trying to complete my little designs, they still turned out just fine. It was pretty hard deciding how to decorate though, since the ones with less icing looked better, but I knew they wouldn’t taste as good without a huge mound of icing sitting on top, I decided to just do a little variety of the two.

(The ‘F’ was for the birthday girl)

Recipe:

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

makes one dozen cupcakes, I doubled it to make 24 or you can double it and make two 9-inch size cakes

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2  Tablespoons red food coloring

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup buttermilk (I learned a neat little trick for making buttermilk while baking these, if you have regular milk and just add lemon juice, you can make buttermilk! I thought this was genius because I always waste money on buttermilk and use a small amount for baking and then am left with a bunch that I really don’t need. Check out the instructions here: http://www.ehow.com/how_4963834_make-buttermilk-using-lemon.html)

1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

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. (When I was baking I couldn’t actually get it to turn into a paste but when I added it to the batter anyway it turned out fine.) Add to the batter, mixing thoroughly until completely combined.

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 at 325 F 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.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

Recipe from Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

(This made the perfect amount for 24 cupcakes so you may have a bit leftover if you’re only making 12)

2 1/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

3 Tablespoons butter, room temperature

4 ounces cream cheese, cold

Beat the powdered sugar and butter together in the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment.  Mix on medium-slow speed until it comes together and is well mixed.

Add the cream cheese all at once and beat on medium to medium-high until incorporated.

Turn the mixer to medium-high and beat for 5 minutes, or until the frosting becomes light and fluffy.

Do not over-beat as the frosting can quickly become runny.

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