for the lovers

I’m not really sure what constitutes a “romantic” food, but I’m going to guess the easiest way to pick a Valentine’s Day-appropriate dessert is to go by color; thus, today’s holiday recipe is for red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

I know today is for the lovers, but I’m going to spit a bit of hate for a minute: People go flipping crazy for red velvet — especially cupcakes — and I. Don’t. Get. It. They’re tasty and all, but I don’t find them to be so head-and-shoulders above the rest to warrant the long lines at the bakery and extreme animosity toward whomever walks out of there with the day’s last RV. (Yes, I was once harangued at a Hoboken cupcake shop for purchasing the last red velvet mini in an effort to understand what everyone was making such a big deal about.) To me, it’s just a muted — albeit prettier — version of a chocolate cupcake.

Nevertheless, these cupcakes are easy to make, and fit perfectly into the Valentine’s Day’s color scheme. I even added a smidgen of red food coloring in the frosting to give it a soft pink tint.

♦1-1/2 c. sugar
♦1 stick butter
♦2 eggs
♦2 1/3 c. flour
♦2 tbl. unsweetened cocoa powder
♦1 tsp. baking powder
♦1 tsp. baking soda
♦1/2 tsp. salt
♦1 c. milk
♦1 tbl. red food coloring
♦1 tsp. vanilla extract
♦1 tsp. white vinegar

Beat butter and sugar on medium until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, and beat until incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a different bowl, whisk together milk, vanilla, vinegar, and food coloring. Slowly add about a third of the dry mixture to the butter and sugar, then half the wet. Add another third of dry, then the rest of the wet and the rest of the dry — mixing in between each addition. Scoop into cupcake liners, and bake for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

♦1 stick butter
♦8 oz. cream cheese (non-fat works well)
♦3 c. powdered sugar
♦1 tsp. vanilla extract
♦1 drop of red food coloring (for pink frosting)

Cream butter and cream cheese together, then add vanilla extract. Slowly add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until desired consistency and flavor. Frost cupcakes once they are completely cooled.

Total time? 25 minutes prep, 20 minutes bake.
Cost? $3 food coloring, $1 cream cheese
Overall success relative to expectations? 5 out of 10. I made these cupcakes for a co-workers [not-so-recent] birthday, and they were pretty popular at the office, but I wasn’t satisfied. I thought the cake was slightly dry, and the cream cheese frosting was a little cream cheesy for my taste (I’d recommend using the full 3 cups of powdered sugar, so long as it doesn’t get too sweet). As long as this red velvet craze continues, though, you’ll get plenty of props. And this recipe makes about 30 sizable cupcakes, so your stash might not run out as fast as that ‘Boken bakery’s.

4 thoughts on “for the lovers”


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