Archive for: red velvet
Red velvet cake probably comes in just behind vanilla and chocolate cakes in terms of popularity these days, so it should be no surprise to see that red velvet cake mixes are becoming much more common to allow people to easily bake their own at home. Regular cake mixes don’t usually catch my eye, but the last time I was in the baking aisle I couldn’t help but notice the new Pillsbury Supreme Collection Red Velvet Cake Mix, which had a tunnel of cream cheese filling baked right in to the middle of a red velvet bundt cake. It definitely didn’t look like your average cake mix from the picture on the box.
The mix reminded me of the Fun Da Middles cupcake mix from Betty Crocker I tried several months ago, which had a cream filling that was baked right inside of cupcakes. This kit included a red velvet cake mix and a cream cheese filling mix. The cake mix was a fairly standard cake mix that had a bright red color to it even before some liquids were added. The filling mix was dry and made with powdered cream cheese, which is what made it shelf-stable enough to be packaged with a cake mix, and you simply needed to add water and vegetable oil to it to rehydrate it and make it a little creamier. To put it together, you simply poured the prepared cake mix into your bundt pan and added the filling in a ring on top of the batter. The magic of getting the filling into the center of the cake happened in the oven.
Snowball cookies are a name that is generally given to small, round cookies that are covered in confectioners’ sugar and melt in your mouth. They look like tiny snowballs and have a wonderfully tender texture to them. I’ve had all kinds – from plain butter cookies to spice cookies – but one of my favorite variations is for Swirled Holiday Snowball Cookies. These cookies include red and green sprinkles in the dough, giving them pops of holiday color when you bite into them. After making yet another batch of these classics, I realized that I could put even more color into my snowballs so that you get a much bigger surprise when you bite through that layer of “snow.”
These Red Velvet Snowball Cookies are a fun holiday cookie to make. The dough for the cookies is bright red and it has that familiar hint of cococa flavor to it that a red velvet cake has. Unlike a red velvet cake, however, there is no buttermilk in these cookies. Instead, they are made with plenty of butter – so they have a nice butter flavor – and with ground almonds, which keep them nice and tender. They’re a dramatic looking cookie, but they’re actually very simple to make and a great cookie to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee.
The cookie base for this recipe is not too sweet so that when the cookies are coated with confectioners’ sugar after they have cooled, the flavors will all be balanced. This also means that you shouldn’t skimp on the confectioners’ sugar because you want the cookies to have that little extra sweetness as well as a generous coating of white “snow” to finish off their look.
One of the most common requests I get when asked to bake something is for red velvet cupcakes (the others are for “anything chocolate” or “those really good cookies that you made that one time”). I also find that people often ask me how to make red velvet cupcakes turn out well, as they seem to be a stumbling block for many bakers. So, I wanted to make sure that I have a reliable Classic Red Velvet Cupcake recipe up for everyone to try.
Red velvet cupcakes get their name from their color, which is a bright red that makes them stand out in any bakery. A basic red velvet cake is a buttermilk cake that has a hint of cocoa powder and a generous dose of red food coloring in it. In theory, cocoa-kissed cakes will take on a reddish hue due to the interaction of cocoa powder and buttermilk, but the reality is that only red food coloring is going to produce the extremely vibrant shade that most of us associate with red velvet cake (there are natural dyes available – I prefer gel dyes). A good red velvet cake should have a nice buttermilk flavor, a bit of vanilla and slight hint of cocoa to it – and it should be topped with cream cheese frosting.
These Classic Red Velvet Cupcakes are very moist and fluffy, with a light and soft crumb that almost melts in your mouth. They have the buttermilk-with-a-hint-of-cocoa flavor that you want to find in a red velvet cake, and are a very bright shade of red. The cream cheese frosting is rich and sweet, with a hint of tang from the cheese, and it really compliments the flavor of the cupcake well. These cupcakes keep well when stored in an airtight container for a few days, but they rarely last more than one or two days if you have a couple of volunteers around to help you eat them.
In addition to the cake mixes you can buy at the grocery store and the ones available at higher end gourmet stores, there are many mixes out there made by smaller producers that can give you great results and make fun gifts. One example of this is the Vintage Bakeshop, which specializes in all natural baking mixes packaged in stylish, vintage-inspired wrapping.
I tried a mix for their Red Velvet Cupcakes to see if the cupcakes turned out to be as lovely as the packaging. As with most mixes, you simply add a few of your own eggs, oil, etc. to the mix and stir, then you’re ready to bake. The mix comes together easily and has a very intense color to it that carries over into the finished product. I should note that all of the mixes from the Vintage Bakeshop line are complete natural (i.e. sugar, flour, etc.) with no artificial preservatives or other ingredients – except for this red velvet mix, which contains artificial red coloring (red dye no. 40). I like red velvet cupcakes and am not bothered by a bit of food coloring, but I wanted to point out that their other mixes do not contain any for those who keep an eye out for certain dyes.
The finished cupcakes were very moist and tender. I could taste the hint of cocoa that was in the cupcakes, as well as a hint of vanilla, just as you should be able to do in a real red velvet cake. This made them feel a lot more homemade than many mixes. The best part about this mix is that the packaging is simply adorable. It is the kind of thing that makes a great addition to gift baskets for Mother’s Day or other holidays. The frosting recipes included with the mix (all scratch recipes) are nice, too, and it will always improve a cupcake to use homemade icing.
Red velvet cupcakes are one of the most festive treats you can make around the holidays. It’s not because red velvet is a holiday flavor, but because the vibrant red cake topped with snowy white icing looks perfect for winter. And a red velvet cupcake can be even more seasonal if you give it a little boost of holiday flavor by turning plain cupcakes into Eggnog Red Velvet Cupcakes.
Traditional red velvet cake is made with buttermilk and has a slight hint of cocoa flavor to it, as well as a fairly generous amount of red food coloring. This Christmas rendition uses prepared eggnog in place of the buttermilk, includes freshly ground nutmeg and extra vanilla. They are soft and very moist, with a light, tender crumb. You can taste the faintest hint of cocoa, but the nutmeg and vanilla that really define eggnog are what stand out here.
Cream cheese frosting is usually used to top red velvet cakes and that is no exception here. This cream cheese frosting is flavored with nutmeg and vanilla, tying it in with the flavors in cupcake. The frosting can be spread on top of the cupcakes or piped on using a piping bag if you want to create some decorative swirls.
I actually don’t recommend spiking these cupcakes with rum or rum extract because it hides some of the red velvet and eggnog nuances of the cake. If you want to incorporate a little rum, add a tablespoon or so into the frosting in place of one tablespoon of the milk, that way you get a kick without compromising the eggnog flavor of the cupcakes.
These are always a big hit when they’re put out – and an even bigger one when people take their first bites. Whether you’re serving kids or adults, these are definitely a treat to put on the “must make” list for your next holiday party.