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Feb 11 / dbartolus

Minted Red Velvet Cupcakes



Lightly Minted Red Velvet Cupcakes

Lightly Minted Red Velvet Cupcakes



I used Rose Levy Berambaum’s Red Velvet Cake recipe as the inspiration for these perfect little cupcakes.  My goal was to use up some imperfect peppermint bark I made during the holidays.  I finely chopped the bark and cooked it into the cake and sprinkled it over the top of the frosted cupcake.  The result was a lightly minted Red Velvet cupcake that I plan on making again.   Below is an excerpt from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes and contains the Red Velvet Cake recipe.  If you don’t own this book and you love to bake, I would strongly recommend it.

Rose Red Velvet Cake
Serves: 8 to 10
Baking Time: 25 to 35 minutesI long resisted the charms of this cake, believing it to be merely a layer cake tinted red with a bottle of food coloring. But when several people on my blog sang its praises, I decided to investigate it more thoroughly. It turns out that there is more to this cake than its shocking color. This beloved southern cake is traditionally prepared with oil, a mere suspicion of cocoa, and a teaspoon of white vinegar, which raises the acidity of the batter and intensifies its color. The liquid component is usually buttermilk, which is thought to raise the acidity as well, although the baking soda normally used neutralizes most of the acidity and makes the crumb more coarse and the color darker. So, when I created my version of this classic, I used only baking powder to employ the full acidity of the buttermilk, making vinegar unnecessary. I also used half oil and half butter for the flavor-enhancing qualities of butter and the moist, softening quality of the oil. The resulting cake is as flavorful and tender as you can hope for and stays soft enough to eat even straight from the fridge. A heart-shape pan is perfect for Valentine’s Day. And the contrast of the white chocolate cream cheese buttercream against the red cake is alluring.Batter Ingredients
3 large egg whites, at room temperature (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons/3.2 ounces/90 grams)
Red food color, 1 bottle (2 tablespoons/1 ounce/30 grams)
Pure vanilla extract (1 1/2 teaspoons/1 1/2 teaspoons/1 1/2 teaspoons)
Cake flour or bleached all-purpose flour, sifted (2 cups/7 ounces/200 grams)
Superfine sugar (1 cup/7 ounces/200 grams)
Baking powder (3 teaspoons/3 teaspoons/3 teaspoons)
Unsweetened cocoa powder (1 teaspoon/1 teaspoon/1 teaspoon)
Salt (1/2 teaspoon/1/2 teaspoon/1/2 teaspoon)
Canola or safflower oil, at room temperature (1/4 cup/2 ounces/58 grams)
Unsalted butter, kept 65°to 75°F, or 19° to 23°C (4 tablespoons/2 ounces/57 grams)
Low-fat buttermilk (1/2 cup/4.2 ounces/121 grams)Special Equipment
One 9 by 2-inch heart-shape or round cake pan (8 to 8²⁄³ cups), encircled with a cake strip, bottom coated with shortening, topped with parchment cut to shape, then coated with baking spray with flour

Preheat the Oven
Twenty minutes or more before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Mix the Liquid
Ingredients In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites, red food color, and vanilla just until lightly combined. (Caution: Be careful with the red food color: it stains effectively, but also unmercifully.)

Mix the Dry Ingredients
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa, and salt.

Make the Batter
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the oil and butter on medium speed for 1 minute. It will not be completely smooth. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1½ minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Starting on medium-low speed, gradually add the egg mixture to the batter in two parts, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Using a silicone spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface evenly with a small offset spatula.

Bake the Cake
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the wire cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven.

Cool and Unmold the Cake
Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a small metal spatula between the sides of the pan and the cake, pressing firmly against the pan, and invert the cake onto a wire rack that has been coated lightly with nonstick cooking spray. To prevent splitting, reinvert the cake so that the top side is up. Cool completely.

Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Frosting Ingredients (Makes : almost 1 cup/7.6 ounces/216 grams) This is a great recipe but I used Kim Morrison’s Buttercream instead.
White chocolate containing cocoa butter (3 ounces/85 grams)
Cream cheese, softened but still cool (4 ounces/113 grams)
Unsalted butter, softened but still cool (2 tablespoons/1 ounce/28 grams)
Crème fraîche or sour cream (1/2 tablespoon/0.2 ounces/7 grams)
Almond extract (1/8 teaspoon/1/8 teaspoon/1/8 teaspoon)

Melt the White Chocolate
Heat the chocolate until almost completely melted. Use a small microwavable bowl, stirring with a silicone spatula every 15 seconds (or use the top of a double boiler set over hot, not simmering, water, stirring often—do not let the bottom of the container touch the water).

Remove the white chocolate from the heat and, with the silicone spatula, stir until fully melted. Allow it to cool until it is no longer warm to the touch but is still fluid.

Make the Frosting
In a food processor, process the cream cheese, butter, and crème fraîche for a few seconds until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides. Add the cooled melted white chocolate and pulse it in a few times until it is smoothly incorporated. Add the almond extract and pulse it in.

Highlights for Success
Use white chocolate containing cocoa butter, such as Green & Black’s with vanilla seeds or Valrhona. The frosting becomes more firm in the refrigerator. For a whiter frosting without the subtle flavor of the white chocolate, you can replace the white chocolate with 1 cup (lightly spooned into the cup)/4 ounces/115 grams powdered sugar and ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract.

Compose the Cake
When the cake is completely cool, set it on a serving plate. Frost the top with swirls of buttercream.

Some people have a problem with the idea of using red food color and use beet juice in its place. In recipes using baking soda, the beet juice would turn brown, but with this highly acidic batter, the crumb will stay red, though not as pretty a red as offered by the food color. The best way to harvest beet juice is to roast the well-washed beets in their skins, leaving an inch of root and stems, in an aluminum foil package at 350º/175ºC for about 45 minutes for medium beets, up to about 1 hour and 15 minutes for large ones. Remove the beets and use the foil to pour the beet juice into a small container.

For a distinct chocolate flavor, you can use up to ¼ cup cocoa/0.7 ounce/21 grams, sifted before measuring, but decrease the flour by the same amount. The color will be a much darker red.



 Kim Morrison’s Real Buttercream                                                                                                                             Ingredients
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup water
1 cup egg whites
1 1/2 pounds butter (6 sticks), softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Special Equipment: candy thermometer
Mix 3 cups sugar with water in a small, heavy saucepan. Cook over high heat until syrup reaches 248 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Watch it closely as it gets close to temperature; it will go quickly at the end.

While syrup is cooking, beat egg whites with 2 tablespoons sugar until stiff but not dry.* (Extra- fine granulated sugar works best). Turn mixer off until syrup is ready.

With mixer running, pour syrup into the egg whites in a thin, steady stream, making sure not to pour directly onto beaters. Be careful, as hot syrup can burn if you. Continue to beat mixture until it is no longer hot.

Allow to cool to room temperature and then beat in the softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all is incorporated. (Salted butter works fine. If you are using unsalted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste.) The mixture will become thin and may look curdled at first, but will then become smooth as it beats. Lastly, beat in the vanilla all at once. (Use the best vanilla you can find. Artificial and white “vanilla” will ruin the delicate flavor.)

If not using at once, refrigerate the buttercream until needed. It will keep for 1 week in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. To use, just bring it back to room temperature and re-beat to restore the texture. If you have trouble with the texture, getting it to room temperature and extra beating are the keys to making it smooth. Enjoy on your favorite cake!

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