After all the talk about red velvet cupcakes, I was seriously craving one when the long weekend rolled around. At first, I was thinking about going to Elizabethan Desserts up in Encinitas. However, Encinitas is a haul for me. I realized that, if I wanted to satisfy the craving, I'd have to suck it up and bake them myself.
Many thanks to Alice Q. for posting that cream cheese frosting recipe from Sprinkles. D.'s eyes lit up when he saw it and we definitely had to try it. All I can say is: Wow. I don't normally enjoy cream cheese frosting, but I liked this recipe.
I used the same recipe from the Star Trek party, which came from Bon Appetit's June 2006 issue. I omitted the coconut and cream cheese frosting and subbed the Sprinkles' frosting.
It was a lovely day for baking. We opened the kitchen windows and the back door. Bear was roosting outside and D. was cleaning the BBQ. I grabbed all of the ingredients, except for the buttermilk, and put the mixer next to the cutting board. We have an awesome bar-esque counter that sits lower and makes a great prep area.
After I creamed the butter/sugar, added the eggs, vanilla, and food coloring, the sifted flour and cocoa powder were added alternating with buttermilk. Once all the dry ingredients were thoroughly mixed, it was time to create the leavening for the cake. This particular method warms my heart, because it's an acid-base reaction. Buttermilk is somewhat acidic, but it serves as a medium for baking soda (NaHCO3) and vinegar (CH3COOH) to evolve CO2 gas, which forms bubbles.
Wikipedia's article on sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, includes the chemical equation of the reaction between baking soda and vinegar (acetic acid).
Ok, enough geekiness. The completed batter is red and almost fluffy in its lightness.
My only complaint about this recipe is that the resulting cupcakes are crumbly. They're extremely moist and tender, but they crumble very easily.
D. was very kind to sift 8 cups of powdered sugar (we doubled the frosting recipe) and add it to creamed butter and cream cheese.
The final product. Lots of frosting required. Yummy. I'm a happy camper.