Our Polish friend was throwing a Polish dinner party the other night, and we were in charge of bringing the dessert. Not that cupcakes are necessarily Polish...but I figured you can never go wrong with red velvet, right? Plus, I kinda wanted some myself :D
I've made this red velvet recipe before as a layered cake, and have sworn by it since then. Its mild chocolate flavor is delectably moist, and when you combine this tender crumb with a generous dollop of cream cheese frosting -- there really IS no turning back! I could go on and on about the necessity of the frosting, but essentially it's the perfect compliment as the cream cheese slightly cuts the cake's sweetness...but also enhances it at the same time. Makes perfect sense, huh? :P
The one thing I hate are dry cupcakes...and even though I admittedly slightly over baked this batch (whoops), the cupcakes were still sinfully moist and delicious. Note to self: cupcakes bake faster than cake! I only baked them for 16 minutes (directions stated 27 mins for a 2-layer cake) and think I still could have shaved about 1 to 3 min off that time.
Red Velvet Cake / Cupcakes
Adapted from Bon Appetit, June 2003
Makes 18 cupcakes or one 9-inch layered cake
2 1/4 C sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)
1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 C buttermilk
1/2 bottle red food coloring
1 t distilled white vinegar
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 C sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
2 8-0z packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 T vanilla extract
2 1/2 C powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350. Mix sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla in a small bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended.
Add eggs to mixed butter and sugar, 1 at a time. Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions.
Pour batter into cupcake trays. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 10-12 min. Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes.
Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Spread frosting over cupcakes
*For a 2-layer cake, use 2 9-inch cake pans and bake 27 minutes
**If you are having problems with frosting, place cake into the refrigerator to chill. This will make it easier to frost.