Sunday, January 3, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy New Year!


I hope everybody has been enjoying the beginning of 2010. I am still getting over a cold that I got a week ago! It definitely put a damper on this past week, but you cannot beat the feeling of being surrounded by old friends. I was lucky enough to ring in the new year with one of my old college roommates, Abby, who is a great friend and an amazing woman. She moved out to the west coast and I had not seen in her in over three years! She is now living in Sacramento and is a personal trainer. Now, I know it is the new year and everybody is breaking out with their resolutions. I am planning to eat healthier this year and to exercise more. Of course I will not be cutting out dessert, but I am a big believer in almost anything is fine in moderation. I wish Abby still lived out here because she trained me in college and I loved working with her. This time I am going to have to go it alone, but if any of you are interested and in the Sacramento area, here is a link to her site: Live for it All. In addition to Abby staying with us, we also had three of Zack's old friends staying with us. I love those guys and am thrilled that they get to be part of my life now too. This was a week of non-stop laughs! We had so much fun this past week, but I think my favorite part was the Eggnog French Toast Zack made for us the morning of the first. Guess who has breakfast duty now :)

Anyway, on to dessert. As I said above, I think just about anything is okay in moderation. For instance, don't eat an entire red velvet cake, just have a cupcake.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food color
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers. To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Refrigerate up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature before serving.

Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe from Martha Stewart

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners' sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, and then vanilla; mix until smooth. Frosting can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; before using, bring to room temperature, and beat until smooth.



Here is a picture of Zack and I with our friends on New Year's Eve.


Pictured from left to right: Zack, Me, Abby, Zack's Buddies: Aaron, Nick, Colton.

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