This past week was filled with holiday parties, and naturally, desserts galore.  On Thursday my office had our annual potluck, and I offered to bring a dessert.  I made the mistake of asking what people preferred at our weekly staff meeting, and was met with a random assortment.  The final decision was red velvet cupcakes, and one idea had been to tint the frosting green, but many thought that might go a bit too far.  Mind you, that was NOT my idea.  There’s already enough food coloring in the cupcakes to…turn your insides red?

Anyone who knows me knows that I happen to take my red velvet very seriously.  I make either cupcakes or cake for special occasions (and yes, they are different recipes), had the cupcakes at my wedding shower, had the cupcakes at my wedding, made a red velvet cake for a bff’s birthday, made a cake for a coworker’s wedding shower…the list goes on and on.

I think they are perfectly festive, with the bright red cake and the white cream cheese icing.  I naturally took it one step further and adorned them with holiday sprinkles.  I played with piping the frosting, but I think it was a bit too stiff and didn’t take well to that.  So I stuck with my regular “rustic/handmade” look.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

adapted from Epicurious.com

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 ounces water
1 ounce red food coloring (they sell one ounce bottles, conveniently)
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare cupcake tins as directed as directed in the recipe you are following.

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs and blend well.  Add cocoa and food coloring to butter and egg mixture, and blend well.

Sift flour and salt together into this mixture.  One at a time, add the following ingredients: buttermilk, vanilla, and water.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and baking soda. Fold it into the cake batter. Make sure it’s incorporated, but don’t beat it.

Pour the batter into the cupcake tins. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cake springs back when touched.  Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes, then turn the cupcakes out of the tins and onto a rack to finish cooling completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 8 oz. blocks of cream cheese, room temperature
2 sticks butter, room temperature
4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

On high, mix cream cheese and butter together until blended.  Add in confectioner’s sugar, one cup at a time.  Once all sugar is incorporated, mix on high for 3-5 minutes, until smooth.  Add in vanilla until blended.

Put icing in fridge until the frosting gets stiff enough to easily spread.

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