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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes w/ Boiled Buttercream Frosting

Ladies and gentlemen... Search no more! I have found the red velvet cake recipe to end all red velvet cake recipes!! I'm serious! I was so excited to post about it I didn't even finish cleaning up the kitchen! The recipe comes from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. It's for their Red Hot Velvet Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream. I've been wanting to make a cooked flour frosting for a while now, because it's what a lot of folks consider to be the "correct" frosting for red velvet cake. Oohhh I'm so glad I made it! I left out the cinnamon and made it plain vanilla. WOW! It tastes almost like pastry cream, but the consistency is almost identical to Swiss meringue buttercream! I cut back on the butter just a bit (cuz that's just my thang). It was perfect! In my opinion, this frosting suits red velvet cake much better than cream cheese. Red velvet has such a mild chocolate flavor that cream cheese overpowers it. The cupcake itself is moist, tender, and not-too-fluffy/not-too-dense. It's seriously perfect. This is the perfect cupcake! I bet it tastes great in layer cake form too!
Mmmm cuppies cooling... While making the frosting, it kinda goes through stages. Halfway through it's gonna look like sweetened condensed milk (cuz that's basically what it is). When it's ready it'll be like a scary swamp monster!

Cuppie wants to be a layer cake when he grows up! Who's gonna eat all these???
I got the original recipe from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. I roughly halved the cake recipe and VERY roughly decreased the frosting to 2/3. I say "roughly" because I rounded all of my calculations up. It made 12 cupcakes and the perfect amount of frosting! I'll post my rough conversions in orange italics.
PS: If you compare this to Chockylit's recipe, you'll see that it is very similar. Most differences are very miniscule. The biggest differences are 1 less egg in Chockylit's and the inclusion of shortening in the Baked version.

Yield: 1 (8-INCH) CAKE (1/2 recipe = 12 cupcakes)
1/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons red gel food coloring 1 tablespoon
1/4 cup boiling water (2 tablespoons)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, cut into small pieces (3 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, at room temperature (1 tablespoon)
1 2/3 cups sugar (3/4 cup)
3 large eggs (2 eggs)
1 cup buttermilk (1/2 cup [I used water and buttermilk powder])
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (1/2 teaspoon)
2 1/2 cups cake flour (1 1/4 cups)
1 teaspoon fine salt (1/2 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar (1/2 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon baking soda (1/2 teaspoon)

FOR THE CINNAMON FROSTING (approximately 2/3 recipe)
1 1/2 cups sugar (1 cup)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (3 tablespoons)
1 1/2 cups milk (1 cup)
1/4 cup heavy cream (3 tablespoons)
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces (3/4 cup [1 1/2 sticks] This is less than 2/3 of the recipe)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (1/2 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons cinnamon (I omitted)
Red Hots (cinnamon imperials) candies, for decoration

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment (or line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners) . Dust with flour, and knock out the excess flour.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, food coloring, and boiling water. Set aside to cool. (This is to "bloom" the cocoa powder, which enhances the flavor. Don't skip this step.)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and shortening until smooth. Scrape down the bowl and add the sugar. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Stir the buttermilk and vanilla into the cooled cocoa mixture.

Sift the flour and salt together into another medium bowl (Pay attention here! I almost added the baking soda. It comes in later...). With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture, alternating with the cocoa mixture, to the egg mixture in three separate additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat until incorporated.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and baking soda and stir until the baking soda dissolves; the mixture will fizz. Add to the batter and stir until just combined. (If anyone can offer any insight as to what affect this has on the cake versus just sifting the soda in with the flour mixture, I'm curious...)

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes (15-18 minutes for cupcakes), rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes (Cool cupcakes in pan on wire rack 5 minutes; Remove from pan and finish cooling on wire rack). Invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans, and let cool completely. Remove the parchment.

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. (Most recipes I've seen like this don't add the sugar to this mixture. By cooking the sugar with the milk, it dissolves it and prevents the grainy taste most people complain about.) Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 20 minutes (It will look like VERY thick glue when it's ready) .

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool (I let mine cool in the fridge, but just until room temp). Reduce the speed to low and add the butter; beat until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla and cinnamon and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator to chill slightly: then beat again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.

Overall rating on a scale of 1-5
Moistness: 5!!
Tenderness: 5!!(Before being refrigerated)
Frosting: 5!!


Sara said...

I am glad to hear this, because I have been searching for the perfect red velvet cupcake recipe. I have one that's pretty good, but the cupcakes come out kind of flat, which isn't too attractive.

A. Fiercehair said...

Oh...perhaps I'll use this cake mix for my attempt at Bakerella's box of chocolates. :)

Elyse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A Slice of Concentrated Love said...

Just to let anyone reading this know, I actually was honored enough to eat one of these and they are sooooo good. Like I said, you are now my new best friend. Love ya!

Elyse said...

Those cupcakes look divine! I adore the Baked cookbook and have been eying the red velvet cake for a while now. Your pictures have sent me over the edge! I've got to make it ASAP!

Kelly said...

That slice of layer cake looks like it has two very creepy possessed eyes. Best get that cupcake away before it EATS HIM.

Kimberly said...

Oh Myyyy... I soooooo wish I lived next door to you!

CookiePie said...

Adorable cupcakes - perfect for Valentine's Day!

veggievixen said...

what a great idea! i've always wanted to make my favorite cake recipes into cupcakes.

Happy cook said...

I have this book too and have been wanting to try this recipie in cupcake.
Yours look beautiful and delicious yummy.

apparentlyjessy said...

They just look so super cute! I really need to try red velvet.

Rosie said...

Your cupcakes look divine!! Oh I wished I lived next door to sample your great bakes!

Rosie x

Ingrid said...

I have that cookbook. I've been reading it and have yet to make anything from it.

That frosting does look lucious!

I baked a cake on Sunday night & put it all together last night and got sick to my stomach it was just not good. Has that ever happened to you? Should I have frozen the cake layers for those two days until I was ready to frost & fill in it? It also didn't help in trying to hurry I curdled my whipped cream frosting (I used it anyway). Sorry to off load on you like that...

Danielle said...

These look great! Here in Texas you can find red velvet cake on every corner but it is SO hard to find a GOOOOOD one - I will definitely be trying out your recipe!

Maria said...

I am loving these! I wish I could help you eat them! They look fantastic!

Steph said...

You have no idea how happy I am that you made boiled buttercream. I've been wanting to try this kind of frosting for the longest time, but was a little weirded out by the flour considering that I can't stand icing sugar frostings because the cornstarch tastes pasty and gritty to me. Making cooking solves that?! Since I love your SMBC and you love this, I know I'll love it too! At least with this kind I won't end up with a bunch of yolks.

I'll probably make my first version vanilla like yours, but cinnamon in frosting sounds like an interesting flavor addition.

Rachael said...

I love that book--I've made the Sweet & Salty cake twice now and it's very delicious! The second time got a little easier but it was cursed lol...burnt the caramel so I had to make it again and then the chocolate cake layers caved in so I made the cake over again....and then all that work, it slid off my car while I was unlocking my door--the icing was all over the lid of my cake carrier...how frustrating!! Love the book though!

Dani said...

OMG!!! these look wonderful...... bet they taste even better :)

Elyse said...

Eek! I'm running out of places to comment on your blog--this must surely be a sign that you're making way too many good-looking treats! Anyway, I wanted to pass along two blogger awards to you because I love your blog and reading about all your yummy culinary concoctions! You can check out the awards at my blog (http://confectionarycreations.blogspot.com/).

Treehouse Chef said...

I love red velvet cake but have never ever made boiled frosting of any kind. I think I am ready for the challenge. I do agree that cream cheese frosting over powers the mild flavor of red velvet. Your photos are awesome!!!

Navita said...

thanks for stopping by..hope i will see u more often.:)

n tht cupcake...i m short of words...they are just oooh la la la

Nevis said...

I will definatly use this for my new Red Velvet Cupcakes recipe...however, as a Southern Peach...we've gotta have the cream cheese frosting. In fact, the cake is a vehichle for the frosting to get in my belly! *laugh*

Gigi said...

This book is on my wish list! Glad to hear the red velvet recipe is a winner.

Sarah said...

I really wish I had a passion for baking. I love your cupcakes and wish this was a scratch and sniff blog.

Looking forward to more great recipes!

Little Miss Cupcake said...

Got Baked for Xmas and keep meaning to make the red velvet. Thank you so much for the handy conversions to cupcake form. I have tried a few recipes from it - Butterscotch pudding, cookies and whoopie pies. Each is REALLY good but I find the yield is so much more than what they print. Do you find that too? Anyway, was hesitant to make the boiled frosting and now that it has gotten your two thumbs up, I am curious to try it! Great pics too BTW!

lyndsay said...

these are total little cutie cupcakes. i can't wait to get the "baked" book! yay!!

Foxyvee said...

I tired these immedately, and made them for V-day, I added two tablespoons of oil, and they came out nice and moist.
Next time I will add a bit more vanilla.

I loved the frosting it almost had a cream-cheesy flavor.

My son told me, Mommy you are so beautiful, and these cupcakes are delicous!

I will be making these over and over again!


sooz said...

my grandmother gave me the recipe for the cooked flour frosting and i NEVER share it! (c: it's what keeps them coming back for more.
however, i add the sugar with the butter in my stand mixer and it never ever gets grainy. i think it has something to do with the 3 days (only a slight exaggeration) i have to beat it to get it to come together. but manoman is it worth it!

and today is my first day visiting your blog. i have to tell you that i am pretty sure it is my new favorite! thanks for putting the recipes out there. i can't wait to try your cappuccino high hats and that coffee ice cream! my fat jeans that have been sitting at the top of my closet are going to thank you. my bathing suit, notsomuch. (c:

Ingrid said...

Cassie, I made this cake and the frosting. You were sooooooooo right about the cake and frosting. (I added the cinnamon, holy cow good!) BUT I have some issues with the frosting. Mine is super soft and you can kinda see where it might be separated (looks a little like when you over whip whip cream). Where did I go wrong? I remembered you saying you didn't add the full amount of butter so I only added 2 stick instead of 3. Dummy me should have re-read your post and checked out your photos of the sugar flour mixture as (now) I don't think I cooked it long enough though I (soft) boiled it for 20min. I don't think the directions in the book aren't very good. Help, for next time!
~ingrid.... next on the agenda is your swiss meringue..HELP!

slightlyawkward said...

Would it be okay to use regular vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar? Or should I just omit the vinegar altogether? I couldn't find apple cider vinegar anywhere! So sad.

Anyway, I'll be trying these out tonight! They look delicious! :)

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Nah, you can't omit the vinegar. Something to do with it's love affair with the baking soda. But you can use any kind of vinegar you have. I think I used white vinegar. Hope that helps!

Nosh and Tell said...

Just used this frosting to top my Devil's Food Chocolate Cupcakes, it was amazing! Thank you so much for the great recipe.


Miss Dot said...

I'm really excited to try this recipe! I've been on the hunt for a good red velvet... Thanks for posting!!

Anonymous said...

Is the cocoa powder natural processed or dutch processed, and if you could what brand do you prefer.

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Larry, in this recipe it doesn't matter whether you use Dutch process or regular. The buttermilk and vinegar are the acids that react with the baking soda, so you don't have to make sure your cocoa is acidic.

For Dutch process, I like Rademaker. And for plain cocoa powder I like Herhey's and Hershey's Special Dark.

Xiaolu said...

Hi Cassie, I was wondering whether anything could be substituted if I'm out of shortening and if so, what you would use in its place? Thanks!

Kevin Xu said...

Those cupcakes look delish! I must try them sometime.
As to the baking soda and vinegar thing, when you mix them together, it forms sodium acetate immediately, as opposed to it reacting very slowly inside the cupcake. But im not sure what exactly what it does, but i do know the sodium acetate is used as a preservative(and flavoring for salt n vinegar chips). If i had to guess it enhances the flavor?

Michele said...

I was sooo scared to try to make this frosting today. At 1st I was like.."there is no way this is going to work!!" But it turned out AWESOME!!! I added the cinnamon to put on top of Snickerdoodle cuppies!! Thanks Cassie!! You Rock Girl!!


Kathleen said...

I had a question on the frosting. I made it and found it to be somewhat unstable as it separated a little. Could it have been the high humidity that day? Overmixing? Is this a frosting that can stay out of the fridge?

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

If the frosting seems separated, put it back in the mixer, chill it down for about 10 minutes in the fridge, and whip it on high speed until it comes back together. It does not need to be kept refrigerated.

Evan @swEEts said...

SO I realize that this post is pretty old, but I just found it and I am so thankful :) I am in the search for the best red velvet cupcake for a friend's wedding- I made one yesterday similar to this, but this one yields more which is perfect! Thanks so much!!

And I literally had the same convo with my bf last night as to why the baking soda/vinegar step is there and we can't figure it out either!

Sana Ali said...

Can u use this recipe for a birthday cake?

Astrid said...

I want to eat them from my screen.
Does this kind of frosting hold up well in warm weather???

Do i have to cool it or stand out on the counter?
Thank you best regards,


Mona said...

hi how are you
I am so sad :( I made ur red velvet cupcakes the other day and they didn't turned out that well :( they were so like rocks I don't know why !! they didn't pop up and they didn't have the color I want , they turned more of like pink color :( :(
help me what did I do wrong ?? is it the beating ? that I have to beat for a long time ? I really don't know , and when I mixed the butter and the suger they didn't turned flufy until I added the eggs
pllz help I really want to bake those cupcakes so bad LOL :( :(

Anonymous said...

Your recipe and cupcakes look amazing. I'm making them right now as I type, but the batter does not taste good at all. I have no idea where I went wrong ahhh =( I wish you were here to fix it lol.

Drew B said...

oh my goodness! Just made the frosting and it was amazing!