Monday, February 1, 2010

Snow day!


So, what do you do when you are snowed in and can't go to school?  Bake!  Mildred the Mixer was feeling rather lonely down there in the cabinet so I dragged her out and put her to work.  Denise, a friend, sent me a link to a blog she enjoys called Domestic Sensualist (see my links).  Oh là là.  Just the photos alone are wonderful, not to mention the writing and the recipes.  I discovered a recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes and Creamy Vanilla Frosting and decided to give them a try this afternoon.  (As if I have no papers to grade or lessons to plan...)
So here you are.  In the south, we love Red Velvet Cake. And I love to bake cupcakes.  No fork needed, finger food at its best.  The icing is different from anything I've ever made before so I was very curious to taste it.  I am not very good with the whole decorating/piping thing so I just slathered it on.  I did try some with red sprinkles, but I don't think they are as pretty.  This frosting sparkles!  I think they would make lovely Valentine's Day treats.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
(makes 2 dozen)

3 1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. butter, softened
2 c. sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
6 Tbsp. red food coloring
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 recipe frosting

Preheat oven to 375F.  Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
In a small bowl, sift the flour and baking powder; set aside.  In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.
In a small bowl, whisk together red coloring, vanilla and cocoa (this was impossible for me because all I could find was red gel for food coloring... I did my best and finally just dumped it all in the mixer bowl).  Add to batter and beat well.
In a measuring cup, stir salt into buttermilk.  Add to batter in three parts, alternating with the flour, with each addition, beat until ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are blended and smooth.  
Bake 15 minutes.  Cool completely before frosting.

Creamy Vanilla Frosting

6 Tbsp. flour
2 c. milk
2 c. butter, softened
2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

In a medium-sized saucepan, whisk the flour into the milk until smooth.  Place over medium heat and, while stirring constantly, cook until it becomes thick and begins to bubble (10-15 minutes).  Remove from heat and cover with waxed paper, placing it directly on the surface of the cooked mixture.  Cool to room temperature.  This takes about 30 minutes.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter for 3 minutes until it's creamy and smooth.  Gradually add the sugar, beating continuously until it's fluffy.  Add vanilla and beat well.
Add the cooled, cooked milk and continue to beat on high speed for 5 minutes, until it's very smooth and noticeably whiter in color.  Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Pipe or spread onto well-cooled cupcakes.  Decorate with sprinkles, if you wish.

 Bon appétit, to all!

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