The Cooking Chronicles: Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Many moons ago, Mack’s Grandma, upon finding out about our cooking experiments, gave us a copy of a recipe she thought we might like to try – Kelly Ripa’s Red Velvet Cupcakes. We never did get around to the recipe, but with the advent of her 75th birthday celebration, I thought it might be nice to make them for her as a gift.

After looking over Ripa’s instructions, I wasn’t sure about the strawberry juice addition (typical red velvet recipes ask for food coloring instead), so I looked up alternatives that didn’t give me a bad feeling. I came across Paula Deen’s Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, and being the Food Network fan that I am, decided to use that recipe instead.

I made two modifications that may have influenced the final product negatively. First, I doubled the amount of cocoa powder asked for (to 2 teaspoons instead of just 1), as I wanted a stronger chocolate flavour. Having never made red velvet anything before, I wasn’t sure if this change was what prevented the batter from being red (it was a striking magenta color). Secondly, I used extra large cupcake liners instead of the recommended large ones, meaning that the cupcakes had to stay in the oven longer than the 20-22 minutes listed. As such, the tops and the sides of the ‘cakes turned an unsightly brown color – my immediate reaction after taking them out of the oven was a cry of “They’re so ugly!” I was hoping to cover up my mistakes with frosting.

The cream cheese frosting turned out well (I cut the icing recipe in half; I find I always end up with way too much), with the quantity being just enough for the 12 cupcakes. I dotted the tops with rainbow rounds (my original idea of dusting with a “75” stencil fell through), and hoped for the best.

Grandma Male really liked them, and remarked on how moist they were, with just a hint of cocoa taste. Though the sides of the cupcake were obviously brown, the insides were a shade of dark pink, and played off the colorful sprinkles and white icing nicely. I wasn’t a huge fan of the slightly-sour frosting (I prefer the cavity-sweet kind), but both Mack and his Grandma enjoyed it.

These are an interesting variety of cupcake that I would make again…without the impromptu recipe modifications.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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