Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Classic Red Velvet Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Cheese-Pecan Frosting

Classic Red Velvet Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Cheese-Pecan Frosting
I consider myself a Red Velvet junkie or addict. I mean honestly, I've tried to make just about every recipe under the sun into a red velvet recipe. I've made red velvet crack pie, red velvet cookies, red velvet fried chicken, red velvet strawberry shortcake cake, red velvet cake truffles, red velvet whoopie pies, red velvet ebelskivers, rainbow velvet layer cake, red velvet gooey butter cake bars, and yall's personal favorite, red velvet cinnamon rolls. I might as well turn this into a red velvet blog at this rate. But, I noticed the other day that I didn't even have a classic red velvet cake recipe for y'all to make. That's just plain bat-shit crazy... excuse my french, but it is. These cupcakes are a go-to dessert for me. Whether it's a birthday party, tailgate, or holiday... these are usually at the top of my list. Everyone loves classic, good 'ole southern red velvet cupcakes. It's fool-proof. I like to mound a big fluffy pillow of frosting on top of my cupcakes and it most certainly, always has to be a cream cheese based frosting. I especially like this one because it is light & airy, but has that whipped decadence you want from an icing. And as any other southerner knows, pecans pretty much belong in any dessert, so I like to add finely chopped, toasted pecans into my frosting. I'm not too big on making my cupcakes look to gorgeous... I kind of like the homemade, rustic look, with a lot of frosting, ya know. The kinds that have an equal ratio of frosting to cake. That's my kind of cupcake, or you could just do like me, and eat it with a spoon. That'll work too!! Enjoy :)

For the Red Velvet Cupcakes:
2 ½C AP Flour
1 ½C Sugar
1t Baking Soda
1t Salt
1T Cocoa Powder
1 ½C Vegetable Oil
1C Buttermilk, Room Temperature
2 Large Eggs, Room Temperature
2T Red Food Coloring (1 oz)
1t White Distilled Vinegar
2t Vanilla

For the Whipped Cream Cheese-Pecan Frosting:
10T AP Flour
2C Milk
2t Vanilla
4 Sticks of Salted Butter (or you can use unsalted and just add salt to taste)
2C Sugar
16oz Whipped Cream Cheese
1-2C Toasted Pecans, Finely Chopped (you can decide how much pecans are in it)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake pans with cupcake liners. This recipe makes roughly 24 cupcakes.
2. For the Red Velvet Cupcakes: In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla. Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled (I did this by using a large ice cream scoop to make sure there was an even amount of batter in each cupcake liner). Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
3. For the Whipped Cream Cheese-Pecan Frosting: In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. You want it to be very thick, thicker than cake mix, more like a brownie mix is. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. (If I’m in a hurry, I place the saucepan over ice in the sink for about 10 minutes or so until the mixture cools.) It must be completely cool before you use it in the next step. Stir in vanilla. While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. You don’t want any sugar graininess left. Then add the completely cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat the living daylights out of it. If it looks separated, you haven’t beaten it enough! Beat it until it all combines and resembles whipped cream. Once it has reached the consistency you liked, gently adding in the whipped cream cheese and beating to combine. It should be fluffy and light, but smooth. Right before you are ready to serve, fold in the finely chopped, toasted pecan bits.
4. Assembling the Cupcakes: Using a large ice cream scoop, gather the frosting and plop it on top of the cooled cupcake. You can also do any decorative work that you like, but I like my cupcakes to look homemade and rustic. You can also top your cupcakes with a whole toasted pecan, pecan bits, or sprinkles if you like. Enjoy these little cakes at your next tailgate :)

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