The Genuine Kitchen: Roses Are Red... These Cupcakes Are, Too

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Jackie Sayet
Hedy Goldsmith's Red Velvet Cupcake
The Genuine Kitchen column features recipes and tips for your home cooking by James Beard Award-nominated Chef Michael Schwartz and his team at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink. For this installment, Executive Pastry Chef Hedy Goldsmith guest blogs a retro recipe. Questions or comments? Visit the restaurant's blog to send us an email.

Why do red velvet cupcakes make us smile? Those of you still basking in the rosy afterglow of Valentine's Day might chalk it up to the cake's passionate hue. Some of you may argue it's the taste of cream cheese icing, the perfect union of butter and cream cheese, that does you in. For me, it has as much to do with nostalgia as anything. Red velvet cake is as classic Americana as it gets!

There are many ways to get your batter red. You may find variations of the recipe that call for beets, but like James Beard's version, my recipe calls for red food coloring.  I mean, how can you not? Sometimes you have to do something wrong that feels so right! To please the purist in me, it is comforting to know the batter naturally tints a shade deeper when the buttermilk and vinegar react with the cocoa powder. Any way you slice it, there's a little piece of happiness coming out of the oven with these southern gems!

-- Hedy Goldsmith

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Yield: 24 standard cupcakes

2 ½ cups cake flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cups Canola oil
2 eggs
½ teaspoon red gel food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 batch of Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Sift dry ingredients including cake flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a large bowl.  Set aside.

Using a stand mixer with whip attachment, whip the sugar and oil on medium-low for 1-2 minutes, or until smooth.  Add in the eggs one at a time, followed by the food coloring and vanilla, scraping down the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula as you go, about 1 minute, or until smooth.  Turning the speed down to low, continue to mix and add a third of the sifted dry ingredients into the wet mixture, alternating with buttermilk, about 2 minutes, or until fully incorporated.  Remove the mixing bowl from the stand mixer and add the baking soda and vinegar last, stirring in by hand for 1 minute, or until fully incorporated.

Lay out 24 standard baking cups into 2 standard 12-cup cupcake trays.  Using a tablespoon, spoon the batter into each baking cup, until three quarters of the way full.  Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick poked in the center of one cupcake comes out dry.  Remove the cupcakes from pan and set them on racks to cool, about 1 hour.

Once cool, frost the cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.  Serve dusted with shredded coconut.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: Frosting for batch of 24 cupcakes
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 pound 10x (confectioner's) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Using a stand mixer with whip attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl on medium-high until combined, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the sugar and vanilla, beating for an additional minute.  The frosting will keep for one week refrigerated.

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