Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes

To be honest with you, I have never tasted a red velvet cupcake. I know in some states that would be grounds for divorce. Ha. But if I have had a red velvet cupcake in the past, I've forgotten about it, so obviously the experience was not memorable enough. Like Kenny Powers says, I've had a lot of memories in my life, and sometimes the smaller ones get dumped to make room for the bigger ones.
I guess I would say, consider me full of regret for missing out on years of stuffing my piehole with these babies. I keep changing my mind about what flavor of cupcakes are my favorite, and this one is quite the contender. It has a flavor that is hard to explain. They're like half chocolate, half vanilla, and all deliciousness.
(The cupcake undressing so you could see the red cake underneath. Pervert.)

I was going to get around to making these later anyway, but I decided to make them for a friend who recently went vegan. When I asked what was the hardest thing for her to give up, she said that sometimes her workplace would bring in a steaming batch of red velvet cupcakes, and while most of the time non-vegan treats didn't do much for her, those cupcakes had her seriously considering a relapse. Well, no more, dear friend. We whipped these up and after our first ones apiece we had a conversation that went like this:

Me: So, um, would you maybe want to split one? I'm so full. I don't think I could eat another whole one, but maybe if we split one...
Her: (Hesitating) I don't know...
Me: You want a whole one, don't you? Yeah, me too.
(commence us eating a second one to ourselves, followed by a third).

The recipe for these is relatively easy. As I mentioned above, they were damn tasty. My only gripe is that the frosting wasn't cream-cheesy enough for my taste, but that could just be the vegan cream cheese we used. Perhaps it depends on brand -- I didn't check the brand on the kind we used, but I'm sure I'll cycle through a few more brands when I try something else needing it. Anyway, here goes...

Before anything, set your oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake pan, as per usual. Start with the typical curdling-your-soymilk process. We used actual soymilk this time, as opposed to rice or almond, and it definitely made a much meatier, moister (ew) cupcake. We whisked 1 C. Soymilk with 1 t. apple cider vinegar and set it aside. Then, the dry ingredients. 1 1/4 C. Flour, 1 C. granulated sugar, 2 T. cocoa powder, and 1/2 t. each of baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set that aside and take back your curdled soymilk. To this we added 1/3 C. canola oil, an assload of red food coloring, 2 t. vanilla extract, 1/4 t. almond extract, and 1 T. chocolate extract. Now, I know chocolate extract is a weird ingredient, and very hard to find. Hell, Whole Foods didn't have it, which is insane to me. But it really makes the cupcake. If you absolutely can't find it, just add an extra 1/2 t. of vanilla and almond extract. I shouldn't even tell you that, though. Just go get the chocolate extract, it's totes worth it. Whisk all those wet ingredients together then incorporate them into the dry ones, whisking to make sure all lumps are eradicated. Fill liners 2/3 full and bake for 18-22 mins.
Now we had lots of extra batter left over, so we actually made another three cupcakes once the first batch was done. No use in letting deliciousness go to waste, my friends.
My friend specifically requested cream cheese frosting for these puppies, so cream cheese frosting it was. It's a fairly simple recipe too, the only strange ingredient being the vegan cream cheese, which is easily obtainable at a specialty store.
Take 1/4 C. margarine and 1/4 C. vegan cream cheese and use an electric beater to cream them together. In 1/2 cup batches incorporate 2 C. confectioner's sugar till the frosting is the magical consistency you get with frosting, all smooth and creamy and whatnot. Drizzle in 1 t. vanilla extract and beat till perfect.
After the cupcakes came out of the oven and cooled properly, we went for the rustic look and slathered on the frosting with a butter knife, then topped the cupcakes with chopped candied pecans, which I find essential to this spread.
Next up:
Pizza dough
Caramel Apple Pie with Gingerbread crust



    i've made vegan cream cheese frosting with tofutti cream cheese, and the flavor definitely wasn't strong enough. if you find anything that helps, i'd be interested to know. i thought maybe adding soy sour cream or yogurt for some "zing" might help.

  2. Yeah, there's something that's not cheesy-tasting enough about vegan cream cheese when it's mixed in with sugar and stuff. I'm sure it's a decent substitute for bagels and whatnot, but for frosting I think it's going to be tough to find a cream cheese that's actually cheesy enough for cream cheese frosting. It is my new mission to find such a substitute.