Red Velvet Cupcake Bride
Ever since I issued an all-points bulletin for bride and groom cupcake toppers that looked kitschy but not decrepit, brides from all across wedding land came out of the woodwork.
Many of you encouraged me to get over my bridezilla self and make use of the geriatric toppers in question, arguing that they would be good for laughs and stories 10 years hence. You're probably right, but this persistent bride kept looking. Some of you scoured the Internet and sent me links to potential topper candidates. The collective spirit of kindness (and bridal empathy) has been touching, to say the least!
My dear friend Leslie embarked on a topper search in her home town of Seattle and the home to Archie McPhee, an emporium for everything that is goofy and irreverent. She declared her mission a success and sent a box of samples from which to choose. In the meantime, as I ambled out of my neighborhood Giant in the direction of home, I literally stumbled onto wedding cake topper nirvana.
One of the few remaining shops open in Adams Square Mall on Columbia Pike (which is set for some major change as part of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Project), Party Favors & Gift Shop is still kicking, chockfull of all those tchotchkes you never thought you'd need.
As I squeezed my parka and me into the shoebox-sized shop, I found what I had been looking for: a much younger bride and groom. Yes, I'll have four dozen, please, I said, almost in disbelief.
With this dilemma now resolved, I decided to celebrate with a batch of cupcakes -- you know, as a gesture of thanks to my helpful readers (and possibly a dress rehearsal that only an obsessive bride would consider). With Valentine's Day just a few days away, red velvet seemed like just the thing, anyway.
If you've never tried red velvet cake, give it a shot. It is possibly one of the weirdest things you'll ever bite into: a shocking red cake interior of the beef tartare variety juxtaposing snow-white cream cheesy frosting. It never fails; every time I make these, I inevitably think of white go-go boots.
Aside from the funk-in-your-trunk visuals, red velvet is sinfully delicious. This recipe is just right -- with plenty of buttermilk, cinnamon and cocoa notes to let you know you're not just eating red food coloring.
A few notes to keep in mind:
* Grease both the cupcake pan cups as well as the liners. This helps tremendously when inverting.
* Pour the batter only ¾ full, or you'll end up with muffin-y cupcakes with raised tops and a decidedly undelicate finish.
* Allow cupcakes to completely cool before applying frosting. This is key to a smooth finish without "chunks" of cake mixed throughout.
* The amounts below also work for a two-layer cake. Cooking temperature is the same, but cooking time would be about 10 minutes less for the two-layers. For frosting, double amounts listed below.
Red Velvet Cupcakes
Adapted from "James McNair's Cakes" by James McNair
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 bottles (1 ounce each) red liquid food coloring
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
With a nonstick spray, grease the insides of each cup of a 12-cup cupcake pan. Place a paper cupcake liner in each cup. Additional light coverage inside liners is a good idea as well.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir to mix well and set aside.
In a bowl with a hand mixer, beat butter at medium speed until creamy, about one minute. With mixer still running, slowly add sugar. Occasionally stop mixer to scrape sides of bowl. Beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about five minutes. Slowly drizzle in eggs and beat until mixed well, remembering to scrape sides of bowl. Add vanilla and food coloring.
Using mixer on low speed or a rubber spatula, begin to incorporate about one-third of the dry ingredients, alternating with half of the buttermilk. Continue to alternate dry with wet, ending with the remaining flour mixture, until ingredients are incorporated.
Carefully pour or spoon batter into each cup liner, about ¾ full. Place cupcake pan on a baking sheet and bake until a wooden skewer inserted in centers comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. Gently invert pan and allow cupcakes to completely cool before frosting.
Makes 12 cupcakes, with possibility for a few extra.
Cream Cheese Frosting
From "James McNair's Cakes"
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 eight-ounce brick cream cheese, chilled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
Optional: light cream or milk, if needed
In a mixing bowl, beat butter with mixer until fluffy. Add cream cheese, vanilla and salt, beating at low speed, just until mixture is smooth and creamy. Don't overbeat, as cream cheese will get thin and runny. Using a rubber spatula, scrape sides of bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the sugar and beat on low.
Add remaining sugar and beat until just smooth and spreadable; taste for sweetness and consistency. If too thick, add a little light cream or milk.
Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate. When ready to use, allow to warm up to room temperature.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: Kate | February 12, 2007 11:56 AM
Posted by: Silver Spring | February 12, 2007 12:05 PM
Posted by: cakelover | February 12, 2007 12:06 PM
Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | February 12, 2007 12:10 PM
Posted by: gk | February 12, 2007 12:17 PM
Posted by: Meg in PA | February 12, 2007 12:22 PM
Posted by: Heather | February 12, 2007 12:26 PM
Posted by: Janet Kincaid | February 12, 2007 1:13 PM
Posted by: Karen | February 12, 2007 2:27 PM
Posted by: Kathryn | February 12, 2007 2:49 PM
Posted by: Southern Maryland | February 12, 2007 3:03 PM
Posted by: jms-Vienna | February 12, 2007 3:08 PM
Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | February 12, 2007 3:11 PM
Posted by: Kay | February 12, 2007 4:41 PM
Posted by: Georgetown | February 12, 2007 5:03 PM
Posted by: DC | February 12, 2007 5:30 PM
Posted by: Anonymous | February 12, 2007 6:31 PM
Posted by: Pam | February 12, 2007 7:45 PM
Posted by: Kassie | February 13, 2007 7:17 PM
Posted by: Kath | February 14, 2007 2:41 PM
Posted by: Nancy | February 14, 2007 9:57 PM
Posted by: Hannah | February 15, 2007 1:37 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.