Red Velvet Cupcake Throwdown

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It’s that time of year again. The sun is starting to shine, farmers markets are popping up around the block and I’m no longer hibernating in my apartment for fear of another Snowpocalypse. It’s also time for another throwdown.

If you’re a dedicated reader of my blog – and I assume you all are – you remember the famous peanut butter cookie throwdown of 2010. It was pretty epic. Because I lost. I know, I know. It was a huge shock to us both. But I have to say, my competitor really put his best foot forward. When I ran into Chad a few weeks ago and found out we both live in Chicago, we knew it was fate. A rematch would ensue.

I suggested cupcakes for round 2, and Chad came up with the red velvet theme. I’m no red velvet expert, but I am a ginger who loves cream cheese frosting, so I wasn’t about to complain.

I scoured the internet for every red velvet cupcake recipe out there, and you’ll never guess where I found the winning recipe. My weird friend Sarah (the one who doesn’t like sweets) sent over a recipe from Paula Deen, Food Network’s Southern butter-lover, and I knew it was going to be the winner.

I was a bit concerned about Paula at first because of a few of my long-standing pet peeves:

  1. People who refer to their husbands as “hubby.”
  2. Anyone who describes food, or anything for that matter, as “yummy.” I’m fine with the word without the “y”, though (the same does NOT apply for #1).
  3. Not enough frosting.
If I had to guess (not that I watch her show often), Paula Deen has a problem with two out of the three of my pet peeves. Not enough frosting? I was not concerned. The theme was set. We just needed a place and time. I suggested Saturday because my friend, Joanna (red headed videographer from the last throwdown…see below) was in town visiting.
A personal photographer AND a day of cupcakes? That’s my kind of Saturday.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Maple Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Food Network’s Paula Deen 

Makes about 24 cupcakes, or 12 full size and a ton of mini cupcakes

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder (I used a dark chocolate variety)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring (a bit less than 1 entire container)
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Maple Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
A GingerFoodie Creation

  • 1 pound (or 2 regular sized packages) cream cheese (please don’t buy the low-fat variety for this one)
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ~ 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp real maple syrup (I use the leftovers from my morning brunch)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
    1. Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt and cocoa powder. Well, really you should sift. But we aren’t all so lucky to own one of those.
    2. In a separate large mixing bowl, combine oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring and vanilla. I saved a couple drops of red dye for my frosting decorations.  Beat with an electric mixer. Be sure to watch those sneaky eggs…
       Oops. When that happens, you have nothing to do but replace it with a fresh one. But that won’t be room temperature. If you’re in a hurry, this is the process to warm the egg. That’s not weird at all. I think babies were on the mind this weekend…
  1. Anyways…then, add in the dry ingredients to the wet with your hand mixer until well combined.
  2. Fill greased muffin tins 3/4 of the way full (trust me on this one). Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes.
While the muffins (this is what they’re called without frosting) are in the oven, get to the good stuff. I sort of eyeballed this recipe since I made it up, so go with your gut.

Make sure that the cream cheese and butter are fully softened before even attempting to mix them together. An electric mixer is sort of a must. My opponent found out the hard way. Then, slowly add in the powdered sugar. Finally, add the vanilla, salt and cinnamon. I mixed in the maple syrup last by hand since it can get pretty sticky. Wait until your cupcakes are fully cooled (read that one friends I will leave unnamed who don’t wait long enough before frosting). You can even put them in the fridge for a bit if necessary.
The frosting technique is to move the cupcake, not the knife. Don’t tell anyone I told you. My videographer/frosting master/Joanna may have shared this piece of information. I made some minis for my guests tasting. And they we’re pretty darn cute.
Let’s get to the competition. My competitor Chad walked in with his crew and cupcakes. They were not red. The cupcakes I mean. Advantage to me? I thought so. I didn’t want to get too cocky after last time. But just look at these things.
Some people said they resembled something else…if you can guess in the comments what it is (appropriate jargon only) you win a prize.



The three judges did an incredible job of deciding on the criteria and rating system. Check out how they rated us plus the final verdict by watching this very special video.

In case you were too lazy to watch my awesome video, I’ll spoil the surprise…
I won!! Check out that killer prize. I know, I know. I’m one lucky girl.

So the score is 1-1. We’re in need of a tie-breaker. And it looks like it’s going to be lasagna. Stay tuned for more to come. GingerFoodie Out (I’ve been watching too much American Idol).
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5 responses »

  1. I’ve never been so honored to be appointed to taste test frosting and warm eggs. Also – in reviewing last years’ video I say at the end “the rematch will come soon!” how ominous…

  2. Pingback: Birthdays are Awkward. « Ginger Foodie

  3. Pingback: Graduating to Vegetarianism « Ginger Foodie

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