This is the second dessert I'd set to be automatically posted while I was on vacation, which did not post after all. Oh, well, better late than never!
This trip brought us to the Caribbean so we could take a break to escape the icy temperatures in the Northeast. We go on a cruise each January to spend a week in warm sunshine, which helps break up these cold months of lingering winter. Since we've been doing this for many years we've had the opportunity to visit several different islands. This trip, however, we only left the ship once in 9 days. I had no phone, computer and never turned on the TV. It was great to disconnect and just relax. I read four books, slept, and seem to have finally beaten my never-ending cold. But, I missed baking!! I'm looking forward to trying some new recipes this week.
Before we left, I had to make Red Velvet Cupcakes for a customer order. Again this brought up the issue of dense or light cake and hint of chocolate vs. obvious chocolate taste, which I wrote about in my Black Velvet Cupcakes post. I can't tell you how many Red Velvet Recipes I went though, reading reviews, recipe alterations, debates. In the end, I went with the cupcake described as moist and on the lighter side. It is said to be a Sprinkles copycat recipe. Recently, Sprinkles opened a shop in Manhattan, but I haven't gotten there yet. When I do, I'll be able to compare. I really loved these, though!
Sprinkles Copycat Red Velvet Cupcakes
Followed to a "T" from Carrot Top Mom
2 1/2 cups flour (I used all-purpose)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch processed)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk (or milk with 2 teaspoons lemon juice)
1 ounce red food coloring
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended.
Do not overbeat. Spoon batter into 24 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting: With a high powered mixer (stand up mixer if you have one) beat cold cream cheese, butter, sour cream and Pure Vanilla Extract in large bowl until light and fluffy. Scrape bowl, and beat again. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Once smooth, turn beaters to high (I use my Kitchenaid) and whip on high for 5 minutes, until very fluffy. I am frequently asked how I get the piled high frosting. I do this with a piping bag, or a Ziploc bag with a 1 inch hole cut out of the corner will work perfectly. I always pipe the frosting on, instead of spreading it with a knife. That is how I get the tall pile of frosting. IF you do want the tall pile, I recommend doing 1 1/2 the recipe for frosting, to make sure you have enough.
Frost the cupcakes generously, and serve at room temperature!
**Note from Carrot Top Mom: In response to the comments who have had trouble with the frosting…These are the exact proportions I use. I do not add more sugar, or it will be very sweet, but it is important that the cream cheese and sour cream are cold. If the frosting is too runny, I recommend putting the frosting in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before piping it on. Also, your cupcakes MUST be totally cooled. The frosting may seem a little too moist at first, but if you can get it to form a pile, and leave the cupcake uncovered for 1 hour or so, it will form a slightly dry crust (not a bad crust, I promise), so it won’t seem so gooey.
These cupcakes were as moist as promised! The color is just gorgeous. And the icing piled up just as it was supposed to! Half way through frosting them I did put the icing back into the fridge to firm up a bit, then continued topping the remaining cupcakes.
I am not a huge fan of cream cheese frosting, but this recipe is great! I had two taste tester friends give them a try in an exchange for an honest review. While they do prefer a denser red velvet cake, the icing was an unqualified success! They each had a second cupcake this morning, which is good sign (they even commented the icing was better the next day)! I received a text from the Birthday Girl's sister (who ordered the cupcakes) and they raved about this recipe. I highly recommend it!