Saturday, October 30, 2010
Red Velvet Cupcakes
Should I go trick or treating this year? With Halloween 2010 in just one day, I began pondering this question once again. While some would argue that as a senior in high school, I am too old for trick or treating, others would argue that you are never too old for trick or treating. I was surprised to hear that there are some towns set to fine kids over the age of 12 who TOT. I think that that law is simply absurd. Where is the Halloween spirit America? Halloween is not only a time to get free candy; it is a time to let the creativity of a child reignite to find only the “best Halloween costume ever.” (Of course, the free candy really is the biggest incentive for door hopping on a cold fall evening.)
Along with Reese’s, Snickers, and Twix, dirt cake, almond witch fingers and other scary foods are a must on the menu for October 31st. I have wanted to make red velvet cupcakes for a while now, and with the intense red of the cupcakes and the gory colors of Halloween somewhat related, I finally had an excuse to do so.
At first, I could not understand the popularity of red velvet cake. Was it not simply vanilla cake dyed blood red with the help of food coloring? After some intense Googling, I discovered that red velvet cake is one of those desserts that carry much history with it. While most recipes now call for food coloring, the red color was originally created through the reaction between vinegar and buttermilk, which helped to reveal the anthocyanin pigment in the cocoa.
These cupcakes are far from healthy, especially with the cream cheese frosting. Maybe you could convince yourself of its nutritional benefits in that at least there is no butter, but rather heart-healthy oil. Try to slather on as little icing as possible (the cakes are delicious just as is). Remember though, that it is Halloween, and you have to allow yourself a treat now and then.
Trick or treat? I’ll take the treat thanks.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tbsp red food coloring
1 tsp white distilled vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 pound cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.
2. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with an electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.
3. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting
4. For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.