Red Velvet... Bigger and Badder

If you have been following this blog, you know my sentiments towards red velvet cake: bleh!

Red velvet cupcakes were made ONCE last year per the request of my dear friend Young with mediocre results. I didn't foresee making them ever again, until the boyfriend promised his church youth group some. How convenient it is to have a baking-fiend for a gf, hmm?

Seriously... who could say no to a grill like that, cheesing at 8AM on a Sunday? Too effing cute man. Alright, alright. Red velvet cupcakes they want- red velvet cupcakes they shall have!

After a break dance jam in DC hosted by Words, Beats, and Life, I went straight to the lab (aka kitchen). Nothing quite like a Saturday night of baking and breaking. Real gangsta, nah mean?

I took it as an opportunity to try a different red velvet cake recipe. These immediately caught my eye. First, look at the texture on top and how incredibly smooth it is! The red velvet in the past produced a very cratered cake top. Second, I associate an oily after taste with red velvet. The inside is light and fluffy, with no vegetable oil in the batter. SAY WHAT!? I needed to know the magic.

The epiphany struck that pairing an oil based cake with a greasy frosting like cream cheese probably doesn't help- even though that seems to be the most popular combination. Buttercream is in second place- but I can only stomach a dash of buttercream.

That's when 7 minute frosting came into the my life, and the stars aligned. What's 7 minute frosting? Well, the texture is almost like marshmallow fluff. It can hold its own, super soft, and goes with just about everything. Plus, it takes... you guessed it- 7 minutes!

Optional garnish includes a dusting of cinnamon, toasted coconut, and super cute sprinkles.

Let it be shown on the record that I now LOVE red velvet cupcakes. At least these. Get on it!

Red Velvet Cupcakes
by Hummingbird Bakery

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Turn mixer to high and add the egg. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.

In a separate bowl mix together cocoa, vanilla and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter, mixing thoroughly until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.

Turn mixer to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.

Turn mixer to low and add baking soda and white vinegar. Turn to high and beat a few more minutes.

Spoon batter into a paper lined cupcake baking pan and bake at 325 F for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean.

Let rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then place them of a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

Fluffy 7 Minute Frosting

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

In large metal bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup water, sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt. Set bowl over pan of barely simmering water and mix with handheld electric mixer at low speed. Gradually increase speed to high, beating until mixture holds stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.

Transfer bowl from pan to folded kitchen towel on counter and continue beating until mixture is cool and billowy, about 2 minutes more. Beat in vanilla. You will have extra, so use plenty!

Frosting can be made 4 hours ahead and chilled, covered.