Monday, June 25, 2012

red velvet cake (and cupcakes)

It's too hot outside to be baking a cake.

Unless that cake is red and topped with fresh cherries. In that case, cake-baking in the heat is acceptable.

I have not always been the biggest red velvet fan. I blame my twenty-second birthday. The birthday that I chased my red velvet cake with copious amounts of licorice-flavored alcohol. As you may have guessed, that is a lethal combination.

Moving to North Carolina changed my opinion on red velvet. It is one of the more popular cake flavors here and I have really grown to enjoy it. I started out slow, making red velvet brownies. Today, I went for the real deal.

 Red velvet cake batter looks a lot like ketchup.

Instead of making one large cake, I opted for a few cupcakes and one small sweetheart cake (it was a good excuse to use my tiny springform pan.)

The layer cake-let gets all dressed up with a brown sugar cream cheese icing...

...and a few cupcakes get decorated for the times you don't want to share with a sweetheart.

Enjoy red velvet with coffee, milk, tea, champagne.... pretty much anything except Jagermeister.

Red Velvet Cake
makes two 9" cake layers or 24 cupcakes
(for the cake)
2 1/2 c AP flour
1 1/2 c sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 c cocoa powder
1 1/2 c vegetable oil
1 c buttermilk
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons red food dye (gel) or 2 Tablespoons food coloring
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon almond extract

(for the brown sugar cream cheese icing)
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 3/4 c confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 Tablespoon maple syrup

*pre-heat oven to 325
1. Make frosting: In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix cream cheese for 1 minute; scrape down bowl and add butter; cream for 1 minute; scrape down bowl and, with mixer on low, add in confectioner's sugar; scrape down bowl then add almond extract and maple syrup, mixing just until incorporated; set aside
2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and sugar
3. In a clean mixing bowl fitted with a paddle, combine buttermilk, eggs, vinegar, vegetable oil, and red food dye
4. Add dry ingredients to mixing bowl in increments, scraping down bowl after each addition
5. Add almond extract
6. Pour patter into prepared pans (either two, well-greased 9" cake rounds or a lined cupcake pan)
7. Bake at 325, 25-30 minutes for 9" cakes 15-20 minutes for cupcakes
8. Cool and frost with brown sugar cream cheese icing

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