Thursday, November 25, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes

These are the most amazing, moist, melt-in-your-mouth cupcakes I have ever tasted. Thanks to NY times and Elisa Strauss for this recipe. I am crazy about everything that is cakes and cupcakes and this is going to be my number one cupcake.

The cream cheese frosting is from my favorite cupcake shop here in DC called Georgetown Cupcake. I love their red velvet cupcakes and the frosting is amazing with just the right amount of fluffiness, sweetness and tanginess from the cream cheese. However I could not duplicate their red velvet cupcake, so when this recipe came along I decided to try it out with their frosting and much to my amazement it tastes even better, if that is possible. The taste is very much similar with the hint of cocoa flavor in the cupcakes but the difference is in the textures, the NY times recipe has such a light and moist texture much more preferable than the Georgetown's moist but slightly dense texture.

Red Velvet Cupcakes -  adapted from the NY Times
and Cream Cheese Frosting - adapted from Georgetown Cupcake

Makes 36 cupcakes


3 1/2 cups cake flour *
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( NOT dutch process cocoa )
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups canola oil
2 1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3 oz / 6 tbsp of red food coloring
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 tsp white vinegar


4 tbsp / 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 oz cream cheese, room temperature
4 cups confectioners sugar / icing sugar ( pithi sakhar )
1/4 tsp vanilla essence

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place cupcake liners in your cupcake pans. We need three cupcake pans. Each pan makes 12 cupcakes.
  • Mix the cake flour, cocoa and the salt in a medium mixing bowl.
  • In a large mixing bowl add the oil and sugar and beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until well blended. Next add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until mixture is well blended. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
  • Now with the mixer on a low speed add the food color. Mix this very slowly and carefully as the colored batter may splash around. Do not mix on high or your kitchen will look like a scene straight from CSI ( this is a TV series called Crime Scene Investigation ). Add the vanilla. Scrape down the sides and mix it all together.
  • Add the flour and buttermilk alternating them in two batches. Scrape down the bowl again and beat till it is all combined. Do not over beat.
  • Lastly place the baking soda in a small bowl and stir the vinegar in. Pour this in the batter and mix it in well. Do not over beat.
  • Pour the batter in the cupcake pans. Fill the liners 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the toothpick/cake tester comes out clean when poked in the center of the cupcake. Let it cool completely before you frost them.
Tip: Do not over bake the cupcakes as they tend to dry out.

For the Frosting
  • Beat the cream cheese and butter together until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the confectioner's sugar one cup at a time and beat until fully combined. Mix on low or else your kitchen will be filled with sugar clouds.
  • Once all the sugar is combined add the vanilla, scrape the sides of the bowl and beat on high for another 3 minutes till the icing is fluffy and light. The icing is now ready to be piped.
  • Once the cupcakes are cooled, pipe the icing on top in a swirl fashion and enjoy your cupcakes.

* How to make Cake Flour :
If you do not have any cake flour in your pantry, please do not fret, you can also use all-purpose flour ( maida ). The diffrenece will be a slight change in the texture of the final cake. As cake flour makes for a lighter crumb texture and makes the cake super soft. However , if possible do use this substitution to make your own cake flour  from all-purpose flour.

To make 1 cup of cake flour

Take I cup of all-purpose flour and remove 2 tablespoons of flour from that 1 cup and return it back to the flour bag. Now replace the two tablespoons of flour with 2 tablespoons of corn startch ( or corn flour as they call it in India ).

So to summarize :

1 cup of cake flour =  ( 1 cup of all purpose flour - 2 tbsp of flour ) + 2 tbsp of corn starch