Mmm, Red Velvet Cupcakes. Making this week’s recipe involved a few trying moments for me, but I will tell you all about that in just a moment. For now, lets just think about happy things like how delicious red velvet cake is. This was my first time making a red velvet cake, and I am already looking forward to trying a few more recipes in order to find the perfect one!
To start off, I creamed together the butter and sugar and then mixed in the eggs. Once everything was combined, it was time to add in the red food coloring. This is where I hit a little speed bump.
Let me tell you about my fun experience with the food coloring.
When I went to my friendly neighborhood Walmart for red food coloring, I searched far and wide but couldn’t find it anywhere. I must have gone up and down the baking and cake decorating isles a hundred times. There were all sorts of ready made icings and concentrated gel colors, but I couldn’t find the good old fashion liquid food coloring. Finally, hidden in the back of a bin I found a small box of 4 colors, one of which was pink. What about the box of standard primary colors? I can make pink if I have red. Making red from pink though, that’s a little more difficult. Also, the recipe called for 1 oz of food coloring, and I knew this bottle wasn’t going to be enough. Finally, I decided to purchase the box anyways and make do when I got home.
When I added the pink food coloring to the batter it came out HOT PINK. I mean really, really bright pink. I was almost a little blinded. I wish you could have been there to see it.
Since I couldn’t very well have a hot pink red velvet cake, I decided to try adding in some of my red concentrated gel icing color. I figured out a way to slightly dilute the concentrate so it would spread evenly throughout the batter; and, after using up a big chunk of the food coloring, I got the batter to a more reasonable but still awfully bright color. I was so frustrated with the whole process that I forgot to take a picture at this stage! No worries though, you will see the color in just a moment.
After my fiasco with the food coloring, I mixed in the dry ingredients and buttermilk. Thankfully, these helped to calm down the color a little bit more.
Ok, here is what we are working with now…
To finish up the batter, I added in a little vinegar and baking soda and then popped these cupcakes in the oven. While baking, the color darkened up a little bit, and these pretty cupcakes are what we ended up with. Whew. That was quite the process. These are still a little brighter than most red velvet cakes I see, but I’m calling it a win since they aren’t hot pink!
This recipe called for a buttercream icing that is a form of Butter Roux Icing or Ermine Icing – which was traditionally used on red velvet cakes before cream cheese icing became popular. (Or so my internet searches have told me.) To make the icing, I cooked sugar, flour, milk, and a dash of salt over medium heat until it was thickened and beginning to boil. I then removed it from the heat, added some vanilla, and let it cool to room temperature. At this point, the taste reminded me of sweetened condensed milk. Once cooled, I poured this into my mixer and beat in the butter a little at at time.
The icing was light and fluffy and also very buttery. I wasn’t 100% pleased with the flavor, so I added in a touch of powdered sugar to sweeten and thicken it up just a bit. Making this icing was also a very long process – at least compared to the regular buttercream icing we are all familiar with. I may give this classic icing another try one day, but for now, due to the time required and final texture, it’s not my favorite.
Since the icing wasn’t very firm, it was a little more difficult to decorate with compared to normal buttercream. So, I went for a nice homemade look on these. 🙂
The main reason I wanted to make red velvet cupcakes this week was because I had red velvet chocolate that would make perfect cupcake toppers. Where did I get it you ask? Well, I would like to send a special shout out and thank you to one of my readers, Mrs. Carolyn Bailey, for this sweet surprise! Thank you so much for thinking of me and sending it my way with Ben and Rebekah! I truly appreciate it. 🙂
Lots of these cupcakes went to work with Brian today, and he gave me the play by play all morning on how people liked them. Before 6 AM, yes, AM, 2 were already gone. Thats early. But hey, sometimes you need a little sugar to kickstart your day!
When it comes to baking, and many other things, I can be quite the perfectionist. This can be beneficial, but it also has it’s downfalls. For example – worrying too much over the color of cupcakes! 😀 I am so thankful for a wonderful husband who reminds me that this process is about learning, and that it doesn’t have to be perfect every time. After all, I can’t become a better baker if I don’t have a few struggles and adventures along the way!
Thank you for taking the time to stop by! Hope you have a wonderful day!