14 August 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes (For Jazz Musicians)

Holly on the left, Bray on the right, yours truly in the middle.

Tibbs chowing down.

So, I'm back in the A-k-rowdy, at least for the moment. I've been here a week now, but there has been utter pandemonium with my dad moving into his new house, and trying to figure out where I'm stashing all my stuff, as well as catching up with just about everyone I ever knew in high school, and making some new friends along the way.

I've been restless lately, and everyone can see it. I cut and dyed my hair, got a new piercing (or two) and have been making some pretty poor decision-making as of late. I needed some centering, so when Brandy issued her cupcakes-at-Northside ultimatum, I jumped to comply.

Oh, and if you're unfamiliar with what Northside is, please allow me to enlighten you. The Northside, technically, is an almost-hole-in-the-wall bar in downtown Akron. On Wednesday nights, The Northside hosts an open-mic jazz workshop for the University students from 9 pm until midnight. If you're in the Akron area, GO! It's a great time. Afterwards, many of the musicians (with whom I've become friends because of my frequent attendance) go eat at Luigi's, next door.

They work hard, and hard work should be rewarded. Hence, cupcakes.

The actual text message conversation that begat the inception of these cupcakes (yep, big words... get over it):

Bray: Cupcakes, as promised, at Northside tonight?
Auds: Oh, damn. I forgot.
Bray: You have three hours. Make it happen.
Auds: Yes, ma'am.

In Brandy's defense, she did come over and help frost the cupcakes, as well as keep my company as I dyed my hair a color similar to red velvet. Holly Jane and Zoe were there too, ready and willing to steal half-made frosting, incubate my eggs to room temperature, and tell me that my hair looked fabulous. It's really why I keep them around... Kidding, of course.

Oh, and the cupcakes got rave reviews. :)

Red Velvet Cupcakes w/ Vanilla Icing
Adapted from More from Magnolia

For cupcakes-
  • 3 1/2 c cake flour
  • 1 1/2 stick butter (softened)
  • 2 c sugar
  • 3 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp red food coloring
  • 3 1/2 tbsp water (at room temperature)
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 c buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda

For icing-
  • 6 tbsp flour
  • 2 c milk
  • 2 c butter (softened)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

To Make:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cupcake pans with liners. Sift cake flour and set aside.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar for cupcakes on medium speed until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating in between.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together food coloring, water, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Add to the batter.
  4. Stir salt into buttermilk. Add in 3 parts, alternating with the cake flour, to the batter. In a small bowl, combine vinegar and baking soda. Add to batter, and mix well. Divide batter between cupcake tins.
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a tester inserted into one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  6. In a medium saucepan, whisk together flour and milk for icing. Stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture becomes very thick (about 10 minutes). Cover with waxed paper placed directly on mixture and cool to room temperature (can be refrigerated to speed up the process).
  7. Beat the butter for the icing until it becomes smooth, about 5 minutes. Add sugar and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla. Beat again (it's a theme!)
  8. Add cooled milk mixture to butter mixture and beat for 5 minutes. Frost cupcakes immediately.
Some Notes:
  • As with most of the cupcakes I make, the frosting-cupcake ratio should be at LEAST 1-1. If you're going to eat a Pastry Flower dessert, expect to go into a sugar comatose directly after. But really, more is better when it comes to icing on these cupcakes.
  • And don't be deterred by the complexity of the icing. It was better than ANY store-bought.

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