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the sweet scoop
the sweet scoop
There’s been a serious surge in the popularity of red velvet cake in recent years, but this crimson confection has actually been satisfying sweets lovers for decades. With a vibrant scarlet color and subtle chocolatey-vanilla flavor, red velvet cake has been a Southern soul food staple for over a century, was the signature dessert at NY’s Waldorf-Astoria in the 1920’s and even made its big screen debut in one of my favorite flicks, Steel Magnolias (the groom’s cake in the film was an armadillo-shaped red velvet)!
Now one of the hottest varieties around, the insanely delicious dessert can be seen flying out of bakeries from coast to coast (it’s the most popular flavor at NYC’s Magnolia) and has recently gone international—Parisian bakery, Cupcakes & Co., began offering a red velvet cupcake on their menu. Ooh la la!
A flavor that truly makes me weak in the knees, red velvet is one that I will find any excuse to bake. For a friend’s recent holiday party, I made mini cupcakes and sprinkled some spice into the cream cheese icing for a fun and festive twist—a swirl of nutmeg & cinnamon created a very merry topper.
Red Velvet Mini Cupcake Recipe (makes about 48 miniature cupcakes)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place miniature cupcake liners in mini cupcake pans and set aside. (for regular sized cupcakes, just increase baking time by a couple of minutes). In a small bowl, whisk together the food coloring, cocoa powder, vanilla and almond extracts until well combined. Set aside.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Pour in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Add in the salt and then beat in the cocoa mixture until thoroughly incorporated. In a separate small bowl, mix together the vinegar and baking soda, then add to the batter at the end, making sure to combine thoroughly.
Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full and bake for approx. 12-14 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake just comes out clean. Since these are minis, be sure to not to over bake—nobody likes a dry cupcake! Remove from pan after 10 minutes and let cool completely on a wire rack. (Recipe adapted from Buttercup Bake Shop)
Nutmeg & Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing
To make the icing: In a large mixing bowl, use a a hand or electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extracts together until smooth. Gradually add the confectioners sugar and mix on low speed until fully incorporated. Spoon in the nutmeg and cinnamon, then increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, so it has a chance to firm up before piping.
Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, frost them with a spatula or pipe them through a bag with a pastry tip. Enjoy!