Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes

My name is Vickii and I am a baking geek! I like hearing and reading about different cakes, I love cake innovation! So when I heard about this bright red cake called red velvet that was taking LA by storm about 4 years ago, I had to try it! I found an incredible recipe then and it still stands as the best red velvet cake recipe I know! This is mainly due to the frosting which as well as the standard cream cheese also contains mascarpone cheese and double cream. I promise to share it with you when next I make it.

Since then, red velvet has taken everywhere by storm and in my opinion is now usually over-hyped - especially since most places make a pretty average version; as long as it's a red cake with a basic cream cheese frosting, they're happy. Well, I'm not! There's a particular London chain bakery where I tried their red velvet cupcakes about three years ago and I thought they were great. However, I'm sure they've changed the recipe since to make mass producing them cheaper and they've lost so much of the wonderful flavour in the process! Oh well, they've also lost me as a customer so the joke is on them as they’ve lost my custom from all of 10 cupcakes I’d normally buy from them in a year! Yup, 10 a year! Read that and weep sub-par red velvet cupcake producers!! ;p

Anyway, talking about average cupcakes, I recently (well, when I say recently, I mean over 2 months ago - yikes!) made some red velvet cupcakes as part of the batch of 60 cupcakes I made for a friend's engagement party. And I have to admit grudgingly that … ummm, well … they were not my best. In my defence, I never knowingly underbake but I didn't want to risk using my layer cake recipe in cupcake format in case it didn’t work and I had 30 bad cupcakes on my hand. So I decided to use this cupcake recipe along with the cream cheese frosting below from my precious Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook. The cake was good and everybody seemed happy but I know they were not as great as my original recipe. It was dryer and more cake-ey (not usually a bad thing, I know!). However, after having a very small bite of the Brown Betty red velvet cake at my friend's wedding, even my original recipe has some large boots to fill! It was so moist, it was almost wet! Apparently that is real Southern red velvet cake! If anyone has a recipe that creates cake that sounds just like that, please, please, pass it on!

I used the Crabapple frosting because it is thicker than my original frosting so makes for prettier looking cupcakes.

Other cakes on my so-unusual-sounding-I-can't-wait-to-try-them list include 7-up cake (another Southern American cake) and Guinness cake (Irish??). I will let you know how I get on with these and my quest to bake the perfect red velvet cake!

Crabapple Bakery cream cheese frosting

125g softened unsalted butter
400g softened cream cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I use about 3 teaspoons)
6 cups icing sugar (I'd probably stop at 5 but start checking for the consistency you want from about 4)

Makes 4 cups of frosting - enough for 24 cupcakes
Keeps 4 Days

1 - Cream the butter for 1-2 minutes
2 - Add the cream cheese, vanilla and half of the sifted icing sugar and beat for 3 minutes or until mixture is light and fluffy
3 - Gradually add remaining icing sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy and of spreadable consistency


Omone said...

Yum! I love red velvet, layer cake or cup cake. However, as you say, it along with all other cupcakes have sadly become ubiquitous fare, a lot of it now rather average in freshness, taste and texture. So, I'm glad for your naming and shaming cup cake policing, its about time! :-D

I am yet to produce one, even though I have the tools and ingredients. Just to make it different I'm toying with baking it in a bunt tin and introducing colour with beetroot. I believe beetroot is how the original recipe works but can't be sure. The taste is bound to alter as well. I may still need a little red colouring paste to achieve its favoured, but ghastly, red hue but I'll decide then. You'll have to visit my blog for the low down when its done.

inStilettos said...

Yum, the cakes look gorgeous and the really cool thing is they're not obscenely red... yu know like not too beetrooty red!... Love the red velvet but at some point it begins to feel like you're eating pure colouring but these look normal and gorge... def looking forward to them....

inStilettos said...

lol: yu ARE trying to make them more moist lol... i know what yu mean but even the humming bird ones come out tasting of colouring after a few bites... :(,guess getting 'red' food right isn't that easy! well Good luck dear!

Onada - Fashion and Photography said...

omg these look yummy! red velvet are the only type of chocolate related cake i like! Umm when are you going to make the macaroons please?

titi said...

Lol @ being a baking geek. Red velvet cupcakes are my favorite! These look yummy, I'll be trying out your recipe:)

Vickii said...

@Omone : I can't wait to read about your red velvet endeavours - especially if you do it the good, old fashioned, beetroot way :D

@instilettos : Don't worry, when I say more moist, it's not in reference to the colour. It's more about the texture of the cake - don't worry I'll tell you when I get it right. I'm trying a different recipe for yours so hopefully they're 'the one' or at least close!

@onada: lol macaroons are a long way away I have to say but I will one day, I promise. Actually, I'll make them when you come and visit!

@Titi: As usual, let me know how they go but try the other recipe I gave you.

Azuka said...

I don't know when I'll get to this.

I decided to skip the previous cake and go for the meatpies, but I came up with something hard. Somewhere I must have disregarded your instructions and tried being 'creative.'

I'll let you know as I try some recipes and hopefully get more comfortable with things.

Adura said...

Where's mine?

Ms Afropolitan said...

Arrh stop it! After leaving the comment on your previous post I started craving a red velvet slice badly only to now read this!! MMMM! *searching food storage for at least a ginger biscuit begins*

titi said...

Hey Vickiii, I tried the recipe + ur frosting. Love the frosting, the sweet sour taste, super yummy:) My cake was lumpy though and a tad dry:( I messed up on my mix, so I get why it was lumpy but not sure why it was dry. It was still very tasty and loved the color too:) Thanks dear

Vickii said...

@Azuka: Lol @ disregarding my instructions and trying to be creative. I admire your ambition :D The thing about baking is until you know a recipe quite well, it's best to follow it exactly. good luck next time!

@Adura: Lol, you can't ask me this every single time! Dammit, I just pictured you saying to yourself "try me" :D

@Minna: Sorry hun - perhaps don't check my blog unless you're sure you have something to satisfy a sugar craving should one arise as a result of reading my blog? :D Red velvet cheesecake from Juniors - now I'm craving that! I have a Juniors cheesecake recipe book on my amazon wish list which should reach my hands sometime soon - if the recipe is in there, you're invited round!

@Titi: Did you try this recipe or the other one I sent you? Perhaps you over baked the cake? It's always worth checking with a skewer/knife the cake about 10 minutes before the cooking time is up. Better luck next time :D By the way, the frequency of your baking impresses me, well done!!

Tiffany said...

those look delish!! way better than the cupcakes on my post today! :)