October is a special month. We have quite a few friends and family who are October babies but it is a special month for a very special reason. Eleven years ago, at 11.25pm to be exact, we welcomed our wide eyed, curious, kicking and (not screaming but) sprightly bundle of joy into this world. And eleven years later, he is still our wide eyed, curious, and yes, still kicking (in his sleep:) and very sprightly tween-ager. And of course he is and will always be the brightest moment in our life – our bundle of joy. Happy Birthday Nikhil!!
I made these red velvet cupcakes last night at Nikhil’s request. The original request was a bundt cake which is his all time favorite cake but was modified to cupcakes for ease with doling them out as treats for school. Will have to try these again for the bundt cake. This recipe is adapted from Simply Recipe’s blog. I followed the recipe for the most part except for using buttermilk and used the adapted suggestion for making buttermilk.
- 1 1/2 cups of sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, room temperature
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 2 1/3 cups of cake flour
- 2 tablespoons of Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup of milk mixed with 1 tbsp of white vinegar (let it stand for 10 minutes)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of red food coloring (I would use upto 2 tbsp, the batter should be quite a brightish red)
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon of distilled white vinegar
For the Cream Cheese icing:
- 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), room temperature
- 1/2 packet of Philly cream cheese softened
- 2 – 3 cups of powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Method for the Cupcakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F or 170C. Beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixer for 3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy.
2 . Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until fully mixed. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
3. In a large bowl, sift together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
4. In another bowl whisk together the milk/vinegar mixture, vinegar, vanilla extract, and red food coloring.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture in the mixer. Use the mixer to stir the ingredients. Now add the red colored wet mixture. Continue adding in a dry, wet, dry pattern, ending with the dry ingredients. You should get a brightish red colored batter as a result.
6. Scoop into cupcake papers, about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Rotate the pan after the first 15 minutes of baking to ensure even baking.
6 Allow to cool for one minute in the pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (see how the color looks more like chocolate cupcakes rather than red velvet. While some of it is the lighting, they could use more food color.)
Method for the Cream Cheese Icing
1 Cream the butter and cream cheese together, about 3 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
2 Add the vanilla extract and mix.
3 Add the powdered sugar, continually taste to get to desired sweetness. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
Verdict : The foodie/critic that Nikhil is – he had one look at the cupcakes coming out of the oven and told me exactly what may be missing:) The red food color could have been a little more. (reason for my updated notes in the ingredients. Use 2 tbsp instead of 1 1/2). The cupcakes came out very moist and flavorful though, one of the better cupcakes I have made in a while and the taste was perfect. Overall a keeper recipe.
A very Happy Birthday to all other October babies in the family – these cupcakes are for each one of you:)
I would like to know if there is an alternative to using food color in this recipe. Part of my hesitation to add more color was the aversion to using a dye, especially given this recipe already has enough butter and cream cheese and is not exactly what you would call a healthy recipe:). Any suggestions for a low fat no dye red velvet recipe out there?