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Green (Red) Velvet Cupcakes

March 22, 2010
tags: ,

Cupcakes are such a great idea.  It’s a little miniature serving of cake that you can easily transport and you don’t even need to worry about slicing it nicely or having plates or anything.  Cupcakes have also turned into a bit of looked-down-upon fad, which is too bad, since they do have their merits.  And you know I’m not one to turn down cake in any shape or form!

Anywho, I learned something making these cupcakes.  Actually, I learned two things: 1) just because you can dye cake batter one color doesn’t mean you can dye it other colors and 2) bakeries pipe on cupcake frosting because it is a pain in the butt.

I found a yummy-looking red velvet cake recipe that I thought I would turn green (rather than red) for Saint Patrick’s Day.  Anything is possible with food coloring, after all… Or not.  I wound up with a some-what foul green color that reminded me of pond scum, so I added in the entire tube of green food gel.  That didn’t do the trick, so I added in some blue and yellow food gel too!  The final product looked like chocolate cake and you couldn’t even tell you were consuming massive amounts of food coloring.  It made me a little sad.  

Next time I’ll just go with a recipe for yellow cake and add in some green food coloring because the problem with this recipe was the 1/2 cup of cocoa powder.  That being said, this was the best green (red) velvet cake I’ve ever had.  I’m usually a frosting person, but I could have eaten these cupcakes without any frosting at all.  And that’s saying something.

I brought these cupcakes to work, and my colleague walked over with her third cupcake in hand, begging me to tell her it was good for her.  After the cursory “It’s good for you,” we went to work convincing ourselves that it was fine to eat tons of cupcakes.  She’d skipped breakfast in favor of cupcakes and I’d skipped lunch.  As far as I’m concerned, if I have a limited number of calories I can consume each day, why not spend them on the good stuff?  Right?!?  Okay, don’t answer that.

Green (Red) Velvet Cupcakes

(From Smitten Kitchen, who got it from the NYT)

This recipe is originally for a 9-inch 3 layer cake.  That’s a big cake, which equals a lot of cupcakes (probably 40). 

3½ cups cake flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1½ teaspoons salt
2 cups canola oil
2¼ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) green food coloring, plus more if it isn’t green enough
1½ teaspoons vanilla
1¼ cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking soda
2½ teaspoons white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners in cupcake tin.

Whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl.

Place oil and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well-blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. With machine on low, very slowly add green food coloring. (Take care: it may splash.) Add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two batches. Scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine.

Place baking soda in a small dish (but not too small because then it will overflow!), stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running. Beat for 10 seconds.

Pour batter into cupcake liners until about 2/3 full, place in oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool in pan 5 minutes. Then remove from pan and place on drying rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

(From Cook’s Illustrated)

8 ounces cream cheese , softened but still cool
5 tablespoons unsalted butter softened, but still cool
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar (4 1/2 ounces)

Process cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla in clean food processor workbowl until combined, about 5 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add confectioners’ sugar and process until smooth, about 10 seconds.


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