Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Myself and another co-worker usually make the desserts for the birthday celebrations at work.  For a particular birthday, I had a request for Red Velvet Cupcakes.  I had never made Red Velvet Cupcakes, so I wanted to make sure I had a good recipe.  I decided to try a recipe I found over at Simply Recipes.  Elise has such wonderful recipes, and I love her descriptions of the food she cooks.  This particular recipe was from a guest blogger named Garret McCord.  He has his own website called Vanilla Garlic.  I recommend checking out both Garret's and Elise's websites.  You will find wonderful recipes at both sites.

Red Velvet Cake is quite interesting.  It is basically a white cake that has just a touch of cocoa powder added to the batter.  It gives the cake a nice, subtle chocolate flavor, kind of like the hot cocoa I used to have as a kid. The cake is also called Red Velvet due to the copious amounts of red food coloring added to the batter.  I actually cut back on some of the food coloring because the batter began to be so red, I didn't think it needed anymore.  I also have included my recipe for Cream Cheese Frosting, which is the typical accompaniment to Red Velvet Cake.  This was a good recipe.  I recommend it if you are planning on making some Red Velvet Cupcakes in the future.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
makes about 24-30 cupcakes (depending on how high you fill your cupcake molds)

  • 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 buttermilk (I used low-fat)
  • 1 tablespoon of red food coloring (original recipe calls for 1 1/2 tbsp)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of distilled white vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese (low fat is fine), room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar (or more if you like a sweeter frosting)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixer for 3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

In a large bowl, sift together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla extract, and red food coloring.  Add a fourth of the dry ingredients and mix, then add a third of the wet. Continue adding in a dry, wet, dry pattern, ending with the dry ingredients.

Scoop into cupcake papers, about 1/2 to 3/4 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.  Allow to cool for a few minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

For the frosting: 

Ensure that the butter and cream cheese are both fully at room temperature, otherwise you will not be able to achieve uniform, creamy frosting.  Beat the butter and cream cheese together until they are thoroughly mixed.  Next, add the vanilla extract and mix briefly to combine.  

Gradually add the powdered sugar until desired sweetness and consistency is achieved.  I like my frosting to not be overly sweet, but feel free to add more powdered sugar if that is what you like.  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

CEiMB: Cioppino

This week's pick is from Margaret of Tea and Scones.  She chose for us to make the Cioppino from So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week by Ellie Krieger.  Cioppino is fish stew originally from San Francisco.  It is a tomato-based broth that has wine and garlic added to it.  Ellie's recipe called for a combination of scallops, shrimp, and halibut.

Unfortunately, my stew only contained scallops and halibut.  I thought I had frozen shrimp at home, but when I got home from the store with the scallops, I went  in the freezer to get out the halibut, but there was no shrimp.  So, scallop and halibut cioppino it was. 

I really liked the flavor of the broth.  It had a rich tomato taste, and I enjoyed the heat from the crushed red pepper.  I added a bit of smoked paprika as well to give the broth a hint of smoke.  I thought it was a nice touch.  I do have to say that as much as I like the broth flavor, I didn't think that flavor infused into seafood.  The seafood was a bit bland, but overall I did like the dish.  I think the broth would also be good with some pasta and some Italian sausage, but I would substitute the fish broth with beef broth.  Thanks to Margaret for hosting this week, and be sure to check out the blogroll to see what the other bloggers did this week!