Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I can't believe it's February already.  I thought I better start thinking about Valentine's Day, I mean it's only 12 days away--crazy!!  

My husband and I are going on that cruise (are sick of hearing about it yet--it's our first one so I am kinda excited) so that's our present to each other, but we always like to do something special for the kiddos.  Plus everything for dinner that day will be red, kinda silly but the kids love it.  This year, this is going to be our dessert.
This is an amazing cupcake and absolutely perfect for Valentines (and all year round if you want).  Red Velvet just says smooth and decadent to me.  Not to mention, have you ever tried to describe what the flavor is exactly in red velvet.  I've been sitting here for 15 minutes trying to describe it and I can't.  You just have to taste one.  So go on and do it, make some tonight or for Valentines Day.  Your special ones will love it!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

2½ cup flour
1½ cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp (1 oz.) liquid red food coloring
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
5 tbsp butter, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2½ cup confectioners’ sugar

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt; whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar.  Beat on medium speed until well blended.  Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
2.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners ( a scoop works great for this).  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes.  Let cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
3.  To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired. 
*If you like a lot of frosting on your cupcakes, you may want to increase the quantities by 50%.  That is what I typically do for a batch of 24 cupcakes.  I usually end up with some left over, but I would rather have too much frosting than not enough.
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