I procrastinated for a very long time before breaking down and making red velvet cupcakes. I really didn't get the attraction. Red food coloring? Wth? But, I kept hearing how good they were. Seriously, everytime I brought up the subject, my sister went on and on about how good red velvet cake was. So, today I decided I was going to give it a try.
The very first thing that I had to do was find a good recipe. Naturally, I googled. Holy cow---there are a slew of red velvet cake recipes out there! I found out a few things about the history of the cake, as well. Back in the day, beets used to provide the color. I kind of get that-- like how carrots or zucchini can make baked goods moist. Now, almost all of the recipes use red food coloring. Really, that's the part that gave me some misgivings. A few drops I can understand, but a bottle? Some of those recipes used a 1/4 cup of food coloring! Yikes! I ended up making up my own recipe by picking out the things that sounded good in several recipes:
Red Velvet Cupcakes
2 ½ cups cake flour
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 oz (1 bottle) red food coloring
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.; line cupcake pans with liners.
All of the recipes I found used some cocoa powder, but they varied alot....from 1 teaspoon (really?) to 1/2 cup. Most specified a tablespoon or two, so I decided to use just one tablespoon. I was going for the red color.
You can sift it if it makes you feel better. I like to whisk.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa and soda in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, buttermilk and oil and blend well. Stir in the vinegar, vanilla, and almond extract. Add the food coloring, making sure to blend in completely.
Now that is red.
Fill the cupcake liners ¾ full. Bake cupcakes for 15-18 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched.
Frost with buttercream or cream cheese frosting.
I almost decided not to frost them, but I couldn't disappoint. I chose a buttercream frosting this time, but a nice cream cheese frosting is probably classic for a red velvet cake.
The verdict? Yum! Next time I will make them with the cream cheese frosting just to compare.