When Chaos in the Kitchen‘s recipe for red velvet cupcakes came through my Google Reader, I knew I just had to bookmark it. But for what worthy celebration would I bake these? Why Christmas of course! Though, me being the way I am (we don’t need to get into details), I just couldn’t keep well enough alone, so I decided to split the recipe, dying half red and the other half green. They were a complete success and got rave reviews Christmas Eve and day, as well as during testing and at home as we’re trying to finish up the leftovers. Keep in mind, you don’t just have to use this technique for Christmas, but keep it in mind for other holidays that could use a little color as well. I already started mentally planning my cupcake Christmas tree for next year . . .
- 3 ½ cups cake flour
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- No Taste Red & Kelly Green gel coloring
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk
- 1 ½ teaspoons cider vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 12 oz cream cheese, room temp
- 8 oz unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean pod
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour three 9- by 2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with waxed paper or line a 12 cupcake pan with paper liners.
- Sift the cake flour into a bowl. Normally I would skip this but cake flour tends to clump so, do it. I use a mesh colander rather than a sifter.
- In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa, vanilla, and salt into the buttermilk. If the mixture isn’t combining set it aside for a minute then re-whisk.
- Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are just incorporated.
- In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.
- If using two or more colors, divide equally among bowls. Add in gel colors a little at a time, folding into batter until color is distributed evenly and you get to your desired color. Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take the color out once it’s added.
- Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pans for 1 hour. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack. For cupcakes bake approximately 15-20 minutes, fitting two pans in the oven at once on the top third and lower third. Rotate the pans after 10 minutes and check for doneness with a toothpick after 15 minutes.
- Slit your vanilla bean in half and use the tip of your knife to scrape the vanilla bean paste from each side of the pod.
- Whip cream cheese in a mixing bowl until smooth.
- Add butter and beat to combine.
- Add vanilla and vanilla bean paste.
- Beat in powdered sugar a little at a time until frosting is as thick and sweet as you’d like.
And remember . . .
Never leave a half eaten cupcake unattended.