Please excuse me if I can’t form cohesive thoughts in my post, today!
I’m still trying to recover from Sunday’s game.
I actually had intended this post to go up yesterday, but after I got home from the Seahawk’s game on Sunday, I was so emotionally exhausted that I took a three hour nap!
I truly cannot even put that game into words. It was insane. And the city after it ended? Complete chaos. Horns honking non-stop, people hanging out of cars on the street, strangers hugging each other, and just generally an entire city being collectively ecstatic at the same time.
But guess what? I made cupcakes! And these are some damn good cupcakes. It’s my first Valentine’s Day recipe of the year, yay!
Like so many of my cupcake recipes, this one is based off of the recipe found in the cookbook from my favorite cupcake shop ever—Trophy Cupcakes.
Naturally, I made some changes that I think improve them even further!
The change that makes all the difference? I swapped the chicken eggs for duck eggs. Duck eggs are creamier and more nutrient-dense than chicken eggs, making the cupcakes fluffier and richer. I loooove baking with them, and they are fairly easy to come by around these parts. If you can’t get your hands on some duck eggs, just throw in an extra chicken egg.
These are true red velvet cupcakes. You can definitely taste the chocolatey-ness, the vanilla, and the buttermilk. The cakes are actually so good on their own that they don’t even need frosting, but this cream cheese buttercream really pulls them all together and makes them positively irresistible. It’s tangy and sweet, and kinda perfect.
I like to use a super large circular pastry tip to apply it. I just hold the pastry bag (errr, well I use a Ziploc bag….) directly over the cupcake and push, forming a dollop—no swirling required! Of course you can swirl if you want (and I did on a few) but the former way is so freakin’ easy! You could even get away with not having any party tips. Just pack the frosting into a Ziploc and cut off a corner!
You could totally add sprinkles or something to these to make them a bi more festive, but after adding sprinkles to a couple, I decided I liked the plain look better. It’s just so classic, ya know?
Yield: about 3 dozen cupcakes
for the cupcakes:
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp cocoa powder (I really like Valrhona)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp iodized salt
- 1 and 1/2 cups buttermilk, shaken
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 3 tbsp liquid red food coloring (an entire 1 oz. bottle)
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 duck eggs (or 4 large chicken eggs)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp white vinegar
for the frosting:
- 1 lb cream cheese (I like to use the Neufchatel, 1/3-less fat variety), at room temperature
- 8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1 and 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
for the cupcakes:
- Line 3 standard-size muffin tins with cupcake liners, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- In a large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, red food coloring, and vanilla; set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar for a few minutes. Add in the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing each time until smooth before adding the next. Scrape down the bowl and mix of medium-high speed for 30 seconds.
- With the mixer on the lowest speed, add in the dry ingredients in three parts, followed by the wet ingredients in two parts (beginning and ending with the dry). When adding the second half of the wet ingredients, mix the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl and add that in, too. Scrape down the bowl and make sure everything is mixed together.
- Now, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Allow the batter to sit while the oven preheats.
- When your oven is up to temperature, fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake for 20 min. All to cool in tins for 5 min before removing to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
for the frosting:
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Scrape it into a bowl.
- Add the butter to the mixer, and cream for 30 seconds until smooth. Add in the confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until combined after each addition. When all of the sugar has been added, increase the mixer speed to high and beat for 8 minutes, until lighter in color and smooth and creamy. Scrape down the bowl and add the cream cheese back in. Beat to combine.
- Use immediately, or store in the fridge. Allow the frosting to come to room temperature before using.