A Red Velvet Dream

As crazy as this might seem, I had a dream about red velvet cupcakes last night. I dreamt that I was in a kitchen trying to bake lemon poppy seed cupcakes. No matter what I did or what recipe I tried, when I went to pull the cupcakes out of the oven, they always turned out to be red velvet cupcakes. Naturally, when I woke up, I decided the dream meant I was supposed to make red velvet cupcakes. I started looking for red velvet cupcake recipes online and I came across one that looked really good. I called my best friend and told her I was on my way over and we had some baking to do.

The recipe I found was so good! It used a chocolate ganache in the cake batter, which really set off the bitter taste from the food coloring. They were moist and extremely delicious! If you decide you want to try this recipe out, make sure you read the directions carefully. The chocolate ganache is supposed to be mixed with the cake batter, however, I overlooked this step and had to start all over. I hope you enjoy!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Dry Batter Ingredients
 2 2/3 cups sifted cake flour (Softasilk)
2 cups sugar
2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt

Wet Batter Ingredients
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs + 1 egg white
1 cup sunflower seed oil
 1 1/2 TBSP red food coloring
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp distilled white vinegar

Chocolate Ganache
 4 oz Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate baking bar
1/4 cup heavy cream

Cream Cheese Frosting (makes 4 cups)
8 oz Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup salted butter, Challenge
“European Style”, softened
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups confectioners powdered sugar
1 TBSP heavy whipping cream, very cold

  1. Line cupcake pan(s) with cupcake liners. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Using a stand mixer or electric handheld mixer, mix all dry batter ingredients together in a large mixer bowl. In a separate large bowl, mix together all wet ingredients on low.
  3. To make chocolate ganache, coarsely chop Ghirardelli chocolate bar. Melt chocolate with heavy cream in a glass bowl in the microwave on the lowest setting, stirring thoroughly every 30 seconds until smooth. If there are just a few lumps left, don’t nuke it again, just keep stirring and they’ll melt right in. Add chocolate ganache to wet mix and blend with mixer.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients 1/3 at a time, mixing in between on low setting. Mix until batter is smooth.
  5. Fill cupcake liners a little more than 3/4 full with batter, evenly distributing to all liners. Place pans in oven and bake for 25 minutes for jumbos, 20 minutes for standards, 15 minutes for minis, or until toothpick comes out clean from center of cupcake. Remove pans from oven and allow cupcakes to cool in pan for 15 minutes. Trying to pick them up out of the pans too early may leave dents in the still soft tops and cup liners. After which, it’s best to remove cupcakes and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack or counter before frosting.
  6. Meanwhile, make cream cheese frosting. Using a stand mixer or electric handheld mixer, combine softened cream cheese and butter. Beat until well blended and smooth.
  7. Add vanilla extract. Beat well.
  8. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating well in between to really incorporate the sugar. This process will ensure a smooth texture.
  9. Add 1 TBSP very cold heavy whipping cream. Beat well for fluffiness.
  10. Using a spatula, scrape frosting into a pastry bag. Chill in refrigerator until cupcakes have cooled completely before frosting. Chilling the frosting also helps it gain more structure when piping since we softened the cream cheese and butter earlier.
  11. Frost The Cupcakes!
  12. You’re good to go! Arrange these red velvet cupcakes on a pretty platter or cupcake stand and serve, or pack them up to share. Best if eaten same day, but still quite yummy on day two. Enjoy!

 

 

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A Refreshing Treat

Today my friends and I woke up early to participate in Big Event. Big Event is a community service project here in Stillwater, Okla. We were assigned a house to go to and help out with whatever the owners needed help with. We were told that we would most likely be raking leaves, and boy did we rake leaves. We pulled up to the house and our jaws dropped. The lawn was bigger than a football field and every inch of it was covered in leaves. We had our work cut out for us. We spent more than two hours raking leaves and filled more than 30 trash bags and still did not finish even half of the lawn.

After a hard mornings work, all we could think of was filling our stomachs with food and drinking some lemonade. We ordered pizza and I went to the store to buy ingredients to make refreshing lemonade cupcakes.

I first made these cupcakes this summer with my best friend. They are very moist and so good! They took me a couple bites to get used to, because I am used to cupcakes being sweet. This cupcake is sweet but has a sour kick to it. I have posted the recipe for those of you brave enough to try. Enjoy!

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

Cake:

  • 1 package white cake mix
  • 1 small package vanilla instant pudding
  • 3 Tbsp sweetened pink lemonade drink mix (like Country Time Pink Lemonade mix)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 4 whites eggs
  • 6 drops of pink food coloring

Frosting:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 pound package  or 7 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 drops of pink food coloring

Decorations:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk cake mix, pudding mix, and drink mix together.  Add sour cream, lemon zest, water, oil, and egg whites to the dry mix. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed for about two minutes. Use a strong mixer, this batter is thick.
  2. Scoop batter into 24 lined muffin tins.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until cupcakes don’t look wet and a toothpick inserted in one comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting the cupcakes.
  3. Prepare the frosting by creaming butter, shortening, and lemon zest together. Then add lemonade concentrate, milk and vanilla with a mixer. Beat until smooth.  Then gradually add the sugar, mixing well until light and fluffy. Beat in the food coloring.
  4. Pipe frosting onto the cupcakes.  (You will have plenty to pile it on.  I had over 1 cup leftover.  Leftover frosting is good sandwiched between two graham crackers).  Place a lemon candy wedge on top of each cupcakes.  With the straws cut the top 1/3 of the straw off just below the flexible part.  Discard the tops.  Then cut the remaining straw pieces in half.  Place one straw piece in each cupcake to resemble a drink.

Tickled Pink

This weekend a group of friends and I decided to get out of Stillwater and go to the city for a girls night out. We went down to Bricktown and ate dinner at Zio’s, which was delicious. After dinner we were all in the mood for something sweet. Luckily, one of my favorite cupcake shops was just around the corner, so I suggested we walk there. Everyone loved the idea and they were even more excited when we turned the corner and they saw the shop.

Pinkitzel is one of my favorite cupcake shops in the Oklahoma City area. It got its name from the owner and her german family. Pink is her favorite color and itzel is a german word. Put it all together and you get Pinkitzel, which means tickled pink!  It has the feel of an old soda shop, which is perfect for the type of goodies they sell. Not only do they sell cupcakes but they also sell various kinds of candy. My favorite cupcake there is the chocolate salted caramel cupcake. Mix a little sweet with a little salty and you get the best of both worlds.  I have not found another cupcake shop that makes a salted caramel cupcake as good as Pinkitzel.

It has a great location right across from the Ford Center. When the NBA was actually having games, tons of thunder fans would go to Pinkitzel after the game to get a celebratory cupcake. They know how to work the system and they stay open late on event nights to attract more customers. If you’re ever in the area I strongly encourage you to stop by and try them out! They were a hit with my friends and I’m sure they will be with yours too!

Left Over Halloween Candy

I love the tradition of kids dressed up in costumes going door to door on Halloween night collecting candy. I live in a sorority house, which to no surprise, does not get many trick -or- treaters. I decided I wanted to participate in Halloween this year, so I went over to my best friend’s house to help her pass out candy. Unfortunately, her house did not attract many trick-or-treaters either. We had tons of candy left over and we did not know what to do with it all. If we ate it we would gain 10 pounds. If we let it sit in the house, it would still eventually get eaten. So, naturally, we decided to use the left over butterfinger to make butterfinger cupcakes!

She had some ripened bananas that were not going to be eaten, so we used those to make the cake batter. It turned out so moist and delicious. Next time though we would add a little more banana to give it some more flavor. We hid little pieces of peanut butter covered butterfinger inside the cupcake and then topped it with a peanut butter cream cheese frosting. It was heavenly! Definitely one of the best cupcakes we have made.

If you have some left over butterfinger from Halloween or feel like making the dreaded Wal-Mart trip to get some, you should try these cupcakes! Here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:
1½ cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups plus 2 tbsp. sugar
4 eggs
Scant 1 cup mashed ripe banana
2/3 cup buttermilk
12 fun size Butterfinger bars, cut in half

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
½ cup creamy peanut butter
3¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

For garnish:
4 fun size Butterfinger bars, coarsely chopped

Directions:
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt; whisk together and set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Reduce the mixer speed to medium low and add in eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Mix in the mashed banana until well combined.  With the mixer on low speed alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing only until just incorporated.

Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about 2/3 to ¾ full.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes.  Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter and peanut butter until smooth.  Slowly mix in the confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth and well blended.  Mix in the whipped topping until smooth and fluffy.

To assemble the cupcakes, place a candy bar half on top of each cooled cupcake.  Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and pipe onto the cupcakes, covering the candy bar completely. Sprinkle with chopped candy bars for garnish.