Wednesday, March 16, 2011

red and green velvet cupcakes: the happiest holiday


Do you hear that? 


The birds. Chirping.
Do you see that?

The sun. It's evening and it hasn't set yet.

Yes people, those are the first signs of spring. I can feel it, it's gonna be a good one this year. Now if only the mountains of snow would just start melting.

I don't know about you, but spring always reminds me of my childhood. When I was younger, my friends and I would play by a little stream that ran next to our houses. There were some trees and bushes and some areas that made for great little forts. It seems ridiculous now, but we loved that place. We used to go there every day after school (most likely after rushing through our homework, of course) and play. What would we play? I don't even remember anymore. We would just make up stories and spend hours and hours running around. 

I also remember when we used to sneak into the golf course behind our houses and play in the sand traps. Yeah, probably not the best idea in retrospect. But it was always hilarious watching the old men run after us yelling for us to get out of their way. Ah, the good old days.

Yes, things did seem much simpler back then when all we had to worry about was getting our homework done in time to watch The Simpsons. I seriously wish that's all I still had to worry about. Unfortunately, you know, life happened and all that grown-up stuff got in the way. Eff.

Obviously, I can't go back in time but I'm not sure if I would want to. Life was pretty good when I was younger, buuut I kind of like moving forward. You know, it kind of gives me a purpose in life, that sort of thing. I think that's why spring always makes me so happy. New beginnings, sunshine, flowers, puddles, the smell of cow poop. (Nevermind, I don't so much enjoy that last bit), but it's all the other stuff that puts a smile on my face. That and not having to wear a winter coat anymore!

So I guess growing up isn't so bad. It just means that I get to make and eat whatever I want. Take that, mom! Actually, my mom is pretty awesome. So I made some cupcakes and brought some to her. I also made some special ones just in time for St-Patrick's day. The most non-prejudice holiday ever. Everyone can be Irish on St-Patty's day! I was going to booze them up with some Bailey's in the icing, but realized that I didn't have any left. But you can do it, little ones.

These cupcakes are so moist and fluffy and the cream cheese icing balances out the flavour perfectly. These can seriously become addictive. This is my first time making red velvet and honestly, for the longest time I wasn't even sure what made them so different from regular vanilla cakes. But it's all in the buttermilk and vinegar. I don't know what it is, but it just works. So much fluffiness. Like a fat cat sitting on your lap.

Red and Green Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting

I cut the recipe in half and made cupcakes out of it. It yielded 11 cupcakes. I also separated the batter in half and tinted each a different colour using gel-based food dye instead of liquid dye.

Recipe adapted from Bakerella
Yields one 8 inch layer cake or approx. 22 cupcakes

2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 oz. red food colouring (or a few drops of gel-based colouring)


Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two 8 inch cake pans or line two standard-sized muffin tins. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl, set aside. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl with a whisk (or in a mixer) and add the oil, buttermilk, vinegar and vanilla. Whisk until well blended. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on medium-high (or vigorously by hand) for about a minute or until completely combined.

Pour batter into cake pans or muffin tins 3/4 of the way. Bake for about 30-40 minutes for cakes or 20-25 minutes for cupcakes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool 20 minutes then remove cakes from pans and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. 

Cream Cheese Frosting
Note: this recipe is for the layer cake. For the 11 cupcakes that I baked, I used:
250g cream cheese, 3/4 cup icing sugar and 1 tsp vanilla
It's not a lot but just enough to add a little sweetness. Follow this recipe for the layer cake:
8 oz. (250 g ) cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
 5-6 cups icing sugar

Sift sugar and set aside. Beat cream cheese and butter on high until creamy. Add vanilla. Add the sugar in batches. Scrape down the sides in between each addition.

1 comment:

  1. I love the idea of green velvets for St. Patricks Day! Both the red and green cupcakes are beautiful. They look so perfect, I am going to have to try your recipe!


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