I went to The Pioneer Woman's book signing and the night before, I made her Red Velvet Cake. But I took the cake batter and made cupcakes instead. I love taking food to a party that is ready to serve...'cause I didn't want to stand in the kitchen and cut it up.
Rebecca saw the cupcakes when she got home from school, and immediately begged for one. I promised she could have one...after dinner. I kept 6 at home for us and took the rest to a party. Gracious goodness y'all...were they EVER good...everyone LOVED them.
If you don't want to mess with cupcakes, just make a regular 2-layer cake. Either way...you are guaranteed a compliment!
Pioneer Woman's Red Velvet Cake/Cupcakes
FOR THE CAKE:
1 cup shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon vinegar
1 ounce red food coloring (PW says use 2 ounces if you want a deeper red color)
1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder
FOR THE FROSTING:
12 ounces (1 1/2 packages) cream cheese at room temperature
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/ pounds powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Red and white sparkling sugar sprinkles (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners of choice.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the shortening and sugar.
Normally, I don't bother to sift anything. Seriously...I don't. But this time, I did. My cake flour hadn't seen the light of day for about 4 months (I only use it about 2x a year), and I wanted to be sure it was nice and lump-free. So sift together the cake flour and salt....and if you skip this step, I am sure no one will know the wiser.
In a seperate bowl, combine the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, baking soda, and vinegar.
If you don't have buttermilk on handy, simply mix 3/4 cup low-fat milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar. Or use 1 cup plain, low-fat yogurt.
Here's where I oopsied when I should have daisied. I was supposed to add the red food coloring last. I added it to the creamed shortening and sugar instead. But I don't think it made a difference in the end. Nevertheless...PW's recipe has the red food coloring added after the buttermilk mixture and the flour go it. But'll you'll see I did it backwards in the following pictures.
Combine the red food coloring and cocoa powder in a small bowl. I used 2 ounces of food coloring because I had plenty :-). Add to the mixing bowl, and let it run on low until the red is evenly distributed.
Once you've put the food coloring in, alternate the flour mixture with the buttermilk mixture and mix until just combined. I did 3 additions of flour and 2 of the buttermilk.
Here's the first round of flour (you can see the red shortening/sugar mixture in the bowl)...
And then comes the buttermilk mixture.
After all the flour and buttermilk mixtures have been mixed in, the batter will look like this. Isn't it jest purdy?
I like using a small ice cream scoop to evenly distribute the batter between all the cupcake liners. It's much faster and sure beats using a couple of spoons...trust me!
Fill up all your cupcake liners about 2/3rds full.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool while you make the frosting.
Add the powdered sugar in 1 cup intervals (or you'll have a mess!), until all the sugar is incorporated. Lastly, add the salt and vanilla.
My sister-in-law Stephanie got me hooked on piping frosting onto cupcakes. She says it looks prettier, and it goes a lot faster...and she's right!
I used a large Wilton tip (1 M), which can be found at craft stores. You'll need the extra-large adaptor and coupler too.
Use a large plastic food storage bag for the frosting. Snip the tip off one corner along the bottom edge, and insert the adapter.