I didn't know about the existence of Red Velvet Cake until recent years, when I started baking and paid more interest to different types of cakes that are on display at patisseries and food blogs.
The red velvet cake is an intriguing cake, I mean, why is it called Red Velvet? So I did a little search on the internet to find out about the history and origin but it still seems a little fuzzy. I guess the most interesting part is the chemical reaction between the acidic ingredients like vinegar and buttermilk with cocoa which brings out the red anthocyanin in the cocoa, and hence the name? Bakers these days use red colouring to make the colour of the cake more pronounced, else a more natural way, beets.
Anyways, when I first noticed this cake at a cafe joint, I ordered a slice and wasn't impressed at all. The cake was rough and dry and the taste was uncharacteristic (read: no taste), and the cream cheese frosting tasted blah (wonder which lousy brand of cream cheese was used). Henceforth, I ignored the existence of this cake until recently, I happened to try one from Twelve Cupcakes, it was good! Tender and moist, the cake had a tinge of cocoa and the vanilla cream cheese frosting complemented the cake very well. Disclaimer, it is not an advert for Twelve Cupcakes ok! I just happened to taste one from there. It sort of re-ignited my interest in this cake, and coincidentally Shirley from @Kokken posted an entry on Red Velvet Cupcake. Even though I was hesitant about using copious amount of colouring in my baking, I decided to try it, at least once.
Her recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart and the quantity yield is actually 24 cupcakes, way too much for me who's baking this purely for experiment. I also reduced the amount of sugar used, like Shirley did.
Red Velvet Cupcakes
(From Martha Stewart and @Kokken)
Ingredients (Yield 12)
- 140g cake flour
- 1 tbsp unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (I use Valrhona)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 100g caster sugar (original 170g)
- 3/4 cups vegetable oil
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/4 tsp red gel paste food colour (I use Wilton)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I use Nielsen Massey)
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp distilled white vinegar
Cream cheese frosting
- 112g unsalted butter
- 170g cream cheese
- 150g icing sugar (original 226g)
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together cake flour, cocoa and salt.
- With an electric mixer on medium high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add egg (one at a time if using original recipe), beating until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla.
- Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 3 batches alternating with 2 additions of milk and whisking well after each addition. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl and add the mixture to the batter and mix on medium speed for 10 seconds.
- Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 3/4 full.
- Bake for 20mins until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack to cool before frosting with Cream Cheese frosting.
- Cream Cheese Frosting: Whisk together cream cheese and butter until creamy and fluffy. Add sugar in 3 batches and continue to whisk until pale. Add vanilla extract and mix to combine.
The recipe is a keeper for now. Will probably explore other recipes, such as the ones using beets when I have the time.