Velvety and red: Eggless red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

I’ve been away for a long time – both from my oven and from my blog. Let’s see… what’s happened over the last few months. One, I have a new nephew who makes me laugh and smile and that I can’t wait enough for him to grow up so I can bake for PTA meetings, birthday parties, cupcake day at school and the like. Two, work has kicked into high gear. Yes, I do have a day job and it does not involve me whipping sweet delicacies in the kitchen. Three, I’ve been traveling… a LOT… from the sunny beaches and boogie boarding in Hawaii, to kayaking near the mavericks in Half Moon Bay, to rich and spicy food expeditions at a big fat Indian wedding and vegan Koren fare in K-Town New York. 

I recently moved apartments and to my delight, have a kitchen that’s twice as large with a brand new cooking range and oven. And, my apartment managers have been super nice to me and patient with all my maintenance requests. So, when it came down to it, I HAD to bake them some cupcakes. The question was, which one?

I remember the first time I had a red velvet cake. It was my friend’s birthday and we actually got it from Carlo’s in Hoboken, NJ – almost chocolatey, but not quite, heavy, rich…decadent. But I couldn’t have more than half a piece. This is what I don’t understand about the typical American cake – how heavy it is and how the sweetness and fat overwhelms the flavor of the ingredients. It’s why I iterate with every recipe I find on the web – to make it less sweet, to bring out the flavors and cut down on the fat.

So, here’s eggless red velvet cupcakes – iterated so that you can taste the blend of almond and chocolate melded with the delicious salty-sweetness of cream cheese frosting.

Red-velvet1

Ingredients

Makes 12 cupcakes
1 cup milk (2% fat or more)
1 cup minus 1 tbsp sugar
11/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp liquid red food color
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond essence
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (white will also do)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Cream cheese frosting

11/2 cups or enough for 12 cupcakes
7tbsp unsalted butter, softened not melted
8 oz cream cheese (full fat or 1/3rd less fat), softened
11/4 sifted powdered sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt 

Directions

Make the cupcakes 

Red-velvet-cupcakes

  1. Mix the milk and vinegar and set aside for 5 minutes to thicken.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add oil, vanilla, almond essence to the milk and vinegar mix.
  4. Gently fold the liquid mix into the flour mix. Make sure you don’t beat it too much. 
  5. Add red food color and continue to mix.
  6. Pour into a lined cupcake tin and bake at 350degrees for 20 minutes or till a knife comes out clean.
  7. Set cupcakes aside to cool before frosting.


Whip the frosting

  1. Cream the butter, cream cheese and vanilla with a beater until smooth.
  2. On a low setting, add the sugar till incorporated. I usually add a little at a time and do a taste check to see how sweet I like it. I often don’t end up using all of the sifted sugar.
  3. Add the salt.
  4. On a high setting, beat for a few seconds until light and fluffy.

Quick tip: If you’re in a rush, simply put the butter in warm water to soften it.


Make it work

Frost the cupcake with your deliciously whipped frosting. You can also take a knife and scoop out the center and fill it with the cream cheese filling to get more frosting in every bite.

Red-velvet-frosting

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