Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes

Red Hot Velvet CupcakesWe're less than a week away from the big day. Valentine's is almost here! Have you made your plans yet? Called for your dinner reservations? Hinted to your significant other about how much you'd love a beautiful bouquet of flowers? Or at least a nice card and a box of chocolates? Whether you're going all out for a fancy dinner or opting for a romantic homemade meal, hopefully your day includes some of IronCupcake: Earth's theme for February--Passion! Bake up some passion this holiday, because nothing says "I love you" like homemade dessert. Although, some Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes might be saying a little more than "I love you"... ;)

I absolutely love Red Velvet cake. Maybe it's just the vibrant hue that intrigues me, but I definitely count it as one of my favorite flavors. While it's traditionally topped with cream cheese frosting, I wanted to give them a little heat for the holiday with some red hot cinnamon candies. I based my cupcakes on the Red Hot Velvet Layer Cake recipe from Baked by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, but opted to use my own favorite buttercream recipe instead of theirs. The cupcakes were really good! I made them on Friday while I was snowed in, and ended up not even icing them until Saturday, but that didn't stop me from eating a half a dozen un-iced cupcakes in the meantime! (I'm only slightly ashamed of that..) They came out moist and delicious, and perfectly red! (The food coloring/cocoa mixture looked like something Edward Cullen might drink though.. Kind of creepy..) My only minor complaint was that about half of them came out kind of short. Like not even up to the top of the cupcake liner short. I'd have to make them again to know if that was a fluke or if my usual 2 tablespoons of batter actually isn't enough!

The frosting I'm still not entirely sure about. I wanted it to taste a lot like one of those Red Hot cinnamon candies, but no matter how hard I tried, it came out a very subtle flavor. I think. As I said, I was really lazy on Friday and spent most of the snowy day just lounging around the house. I parked myself on the couch with a book and a cup of hot chocolate in the evening.. Well, my hot chocolate was a little too hot, and I ended up completely scorching my tongue.. Then the next day at work, I burnt my tongue yet again on some VERY hot soup! Needless to say, by the time I made the frosting Saturday afternoon, I couldn't really taste much. I dumped in what I thought would give it a good flavor, and made Boyfriend taste test it. He claimed the frosting was more buttery tasting than anything else. Oh well. I took them to work on Sunday and everyone there seemed to like them, so it all turned out well! And by the time I took them to work, I could taste things again and they were actually pretty good. The subtle hint of cinnamon flavor was just right for me!

I'm definitely going to make the cupcakes again, but maybe next time I'll stick with the traditional cream cheese frosting.. Mmm... Now who's going to do the dishes?

As with all the IronCupcake: Earth challenges, we're competing for some pretty awesome prizes! Check em out!

Our Generous IronCupcake:Earth Prize Providers:

* The Demy™ by Key Ingredient
* Hello, Cupcake by Karen Tack & Alan Richardson
* Bella Cupcake Couture
* Cupcake Stackers by Gourmac
* The Cake Mix Doctor Returns! by Anne Byrne
* Beautiful Baking Liners by Vestli House
* Sweet Cuppin' Cakes Bakery & Cupcakey Supply

And I'll let you know when the voting begins! :)

Red Hot Velvet CupcakesRed Hot Velvet Cupcakes
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
Makes about 3 dozen

¼ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons red gel food coloring (or half a bottle of the liquid food coloring)
¼ cup boiling water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ½ cups cake flour
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Prepare three standard muffin pans with liners. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, food coloring, and boiling water. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and shortening until smooth. Scrape down the bowl as needed, and gradually add the sugar. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Stir the buttermilk and vanilla into the cooled cocoa mixture.
4. Sift the flour and salt together into another medium bowl. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture, alternating with the cocoa mixture, to the egg mixture in three separate additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat until incorporated.
5. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and baking soda and stir until the baking soda dissolves. The mixture will fizz. Add to the batter and stir until just combined.
6. Divide the batter among the prepared pans, using a little more than 2 tablespoons of batter in each cup. Bake, rotating pans halfway, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to let cool for 20 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans and let cool on wire racks completely before frosting.

Red Hot Buttercream
Makes enough to frost 3 dozen cupcakes

3 sticks (1 ½ cups) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup finely crushed Red Hot cinnamon candies (Some chunks of candy are okay, but make sure they’re not too big)
Pinch of salt
1 ½ teaspoons to 1 tablespoon milk
1 to 2 drops of red food coloring (optional)
36 whole Red Hot cinnamon candies, for decoration (optional)

1. In a large bowl, sift together confectioner’s sugar and crushed cinnamon candies. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and salt, and beat until combined. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar mixture, and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add food coloring to tint. Add milk as necessary to thin out to desired consistency. Pipe or frost onto cupcakes. Top with whole cinnamon candies.
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Anonymous said...

Pretty! As always, you've got my vote :)

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

I LOVE their recipe for red velvet! So moist and yummy! :D

sarahe said...

yum--these look wonderful!

oneordinaryday said...

I saw this recipe in Baked and was intrigued by using the red hot candies. Yours turned out perfectly! They look awesome!

Anonymous said...

These look gorgeous! Hmmm, getting hungry now.... love your name by the way!

Little Miss Cupcake said...

Hi, just saw this in the Iron Cupcake Pool on flickr and had to come here to check out the recipe. I didn;t realize it was the Baked one and I have to say your cupcake looks infinitely more appealing than the cake pictured in the book. Great job - this is definitely a recipe I am putting on my "must try" list!

Anonymous said...

Curious...I want to do a chocolate cupcake with red hot cinnamon icing and was planning on using red hot candies and liquid cinnamon extract. Did you try extract at all?

Danae - The Busty Baker said...

Anon- I didn't, but I think it would definitely bump up the hot factor on it! I've never used cinnamon extract before, so let me know how to goes. I'll definitely have to try it in the future.

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