Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Buttercream

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Buttercream 11

So tomorrow is St Valentine’s. A day of love and chocolate and, ironically enough, a world wide bone of contention. If you don’t celebrate it, you might be called a ruthless, heartless, meagre excuse for a human being. If you do, you’ll certainly be labelled a consumerism-worshipping heretic on a good day. Personally I think it’s wonderful to watch people tearing each other apart over it, while I sit by and eat all the chocolate.

No, seriously, when did this become such a big deal? I mean, go out and be jolly; eat drink and be merry; stay home and be taciturn and anti-social; or celebrate the Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia, for all I care. It’s on the same day. It’s fun. It involves an inordinate amount of R-rated activities. It’s fun.

It’s all the same to me. I’ll be eating chocolate if you need me.

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So, on a different note, and smack on time for St. V’s, I took part in a production of Dido and Aeneas, and let me tell you, those guys can’t even handle it right now. I mean, seriously, Dido is the drama queen from hell, and Aeneas, poor chump, is the most emasculated hero in the entire history of Greek tragedy, which is saying quite a lot. There is this scene where he’s all “Behold, I’ve killed this here monster, come look at me flex my muscles”, and she’s like, “Whatever, it’s raining, let’s get outta here, I just did my hair”. And then freaking Jupiter tells the man to get himself away from that chick and rebuild freaking Troy, and all the man can say is “but the chick”, and I’m like, man, you survived the Troyan Wars and now you’re scared of a chick in a toga? Get a grip, cupcake.

That’s love for you, folks.

Now I’ve got that off my chest, let’s get the show on the road.

These cupcakes,

This buttercream.

It’s like – sublime. I actually ate the buttercream straight.

Yes, I did. I’m not one to resist temptation.

Go ahead, try it, see if you can.

One year ago on May the Cheese Be With You: Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Buttercream 10-checker

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Buttercream

Servings: 12 cupcakes

Perp time: about 1 hour

You will need:

For the cupcakes:

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons red food coloring
  • ½ cup buttermilk, or the same amount of milk + 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons white vinegar

For the buttercream:

  • 4oz butter, softened
  • 4oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar

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Let’s start with the cupcakes. Cream the butter and sugar, then add the egg. In a small bowl, quickly whisk the cocoa powder with the red food coloring until it forms a paste.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting 1

Add to the batter and mix thoroughly, making sure the color is distributed evenly. Then add half the buttermilk, half the flour, and mix. Repeat, then add the baking soda and vinegar.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Buttercream 2

Divide the batter among the muffin cups and bake in a medium oven for about 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the centre of one comes out clean.

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Cool slightly, remove from the pan, and set aside to cool completely before topping with buttercream.

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For the buttercream, quickly whip the butter and the cream cheese until well combined, then slowly add in the powdered sugar. Keep whipping until nice and fluffy.

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Finally, top the cooled cupcakes with the buttercream (go on, lay it on thick, it’s worth it!).

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Serve right away, or store in the fridge to keep the buttercream fresh.

Eat up, and enjoy!

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Carrot Cake, or the alternative cure for the common cold

Carrot Cake 8

I hate taking pills. I never do. If I have, say, the most excruciating headache, I’ll reluctantly choke down half an aspirin, which, considering I’m a (mostly) fully fledged adult, obviously has no effect whatsoever, thus confirming my totally-not-based-in-reality belief that they’re no good anyway. Of course, there is a reason behind this. There is a reason behind most everything I do. I’m sure there must be. In this case, it’s because I’m hardly ever sick. No, seriously. I haven’t had a fever in over 10 years. I heal faster then Wolverine, for crying out loud. The discrepancy in the wound-to-scar ratio on me is proof of that. It’s also lucky, or I’d look like a combined map of the subway systems of every single subway-owning city.

Back to taking meds. The point is, when I do take something, it takes my body completely by surprise, which therefore knocks me out into a sleep so deep, it leaves Sleeping Beauty cowering in a corner yelling “No way!”

The last time I took something more serious than a pink, strawberry-flavored children’s aspirin, it took partial asphyxiation due to a ludicrously clogged up nose, a headache like I had an amateur marching band stomping over my brain on rhinos, playing the heavy-metal version of “Oh my darling Clementine”, and a hell of a lot of coaxing from the boyfriend. And by coaxing, I mean bribing me with promises of rivers of honey and milk, and possibly the map to El Dorado.

I was asleep before I knew what hit me, and woke, quite suddenly, a good 10 hours later, with a random craving: Carrot Cake. Or, more specifically, the cream cheese frosting that goes with it. But I couldn’t just make the frosting, because what would people say, so I went ahead and made the whole cake.

And ate it. No, not the whole cake. That’s ridiculous. I would never do that. I couldn’t possibly.

OK, yes, the whole cake.

Carrot Cake 11


Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Servings: 6 to 8

Prep time: roughly 2 hours, baking and cooling times included

You will need:

For the cake:

  • 500gr carrots
  • 2 1/2 cups (600gr) flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups (350gr) white sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120gr) brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups (350ml) vegetable oil

Carrot Cake

For the frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups (350gr) cream cheese (I used light)
  • 3/4 cups (70gr) butter, softened (I also used light)
  • 4 teaspoons sour cream (if you can’t get your hands on sour cream where you live, combine 3 teaspoons regular cream with 1 teaspoon lemon juice and let sit for 5 minutes)
  • 1 cup (250gr) confectioners’ sugar

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Start by peeling and grating your carrots. This will take a lot of arm muscle, so be prepared to have some seriously sore muscles the next day. Think of it as a pre-cake-eating-frenzy-workout. That works for me. Every time.

Carrot Cake 2

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices. In a separate bowl, combine the sugars, eggs and vegetable oil. Now add the wet mixture into the dry, then stir in the shredded carrtos. Or join my club, forget the eggs, and have fun blending them in at the end.

Carrot Cake 3

At this point, the batter will distinctly resemble puke. But plough on, brave baker, all is as it should be.

Carrot Cake 4

Pour the batter into a greased and floured cake pan. Carefull tap the pan on your counter to release air bubbles.

Bake on medium-low heat for aprox. 30 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Set aside and allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, get to work on the frosting.

Combine the cream cheese with the butter and sour cream until smooth. Slowly sift in the confectioners’ sugar and mix well. Ideally, it should be all nice and smooth. Mine was, well, not.

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When the cake has cooled, slice it in half lengthwise so you are left with two discs. Spread a layer of cream cheese frosting on the bottom-part disc and top with the second disc. Spread the rest of the forsting all over the cake. Make it as pretty as you like. I was in a hurry, as I had hungry relatives wailing pitifully from the table, so I chose the rustic path.

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Grab a spoon and scratch out all the left over forsting. Lick off. Repeat.

Serve the cake at room temperature, or store in the fridge if you made it ahead.

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Cut up, dish up, and enjoy!