Have you been watching? I have the episodes Tivo-ed, but haven’t seen them yet. That’s shaping up to be a really good weekend project.
But part of the reason I haven’t seen the show is I’ve been too busy with a little cupcake war of my own.
I had never heard of red velvet cake until Jessica Simpson used it as her wedding cake (12 year old me bought wedding magazines and knew those things). And then I sort of forgot about it until the cupcake craze began. All of a sudden, red velvet was everywhere, and everyone’s favorite. I’ve had several memorable red velvet experiences, one of which was here:
and more recently, here and here:
But I had never had success making red velvet on my own. Sure, I had the color part down, but the taste was another (woeful) story entirely.
So I turned to Joy the Baker. She raves about red velvet so much, she even has red velvet black and white cookies on her site (there’s a black and white and red all over joke in there somewhere, I’m sure). A little search of the archives though, and I was faced with a dilemma. Three recipes for red velvet cupcakes.
Two called for buttermilk, which has been sitting in my fridge since the onion rings, waiting to contribute to a recipe before it goes bad. So I made these and these. And I iced them with brown sugar cream cheese frosting. I made Deb’s version instead of Joy’s and immediately felt disloyal. Sorry Joy, I’ll make yours next time. Without taking you further through the depths of my guilt, let me show you the results of the glass of milk red velvet cupcake wars.
The “red is the new vanilla” cupcake has a bit of a story behind it. I made these on a busy day. My in-laws were coming for lunch and my husband and I were off to a barbecue that night. So I was busy. I made a cake, cupcakes, and had to roast a chicken. Somewhere between the cake the cupcakes the oven got turned off. And so these little babies sat in a cooling oven until I realized the error of my ways.
As such, they are not cute and domed, they are flat and dull. But I frosted them and brought them to the barbecue anyway.
Oh, they are not red you say? I was out of red food coloring, and green was going to have to do.
Pink sprinkles upped the wow-factor on these flat-tops ever so slightly. And they were edible. But not my favorite. Also, not really red velvet, as they have no cocoa. Perhaps I’ll make them again under more favorable conditions.
But perhaps not. Because what I made next were Joy’s favorite red velvet cupcakes.
Enter contestant #2:
Excuse the moss-green color. That’s what happens when you mix cocoa powder with blue and yellow food coloring.
They are perfectly domed on top and the cakes do not shed a single crumb when you frost them. They are moist and dense and have just enough cocoa flavor to leave you satisfied.
They are perfection, in red velvet form.