Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Valentines Day was always a holiday that I never really cared for. I've felt this way whether I was single or not. I'm not a pink and hearts kind of girl and I was never a fan of holidays that put the focus on me, i.e my birthday, etc. I always got a bigger high out of giving, rather than receiving, therefore I'm displaying my distaste for this holiday by baking Valentine's Day treats all week for my office.

Day #1 of VDT (Valentine's Day Treats) are these red velvet cupcakes with a vanilla bean buttercream and fondant heart garnish. I don't know about you but what says Valentines Day better than red velvet...? Exactly. I took this recipe from the amazing Baked cookbook. The preparation for this red velvet was unlike any other I've ever made. The cocoa powder and food coloring "bloomed" in boiling hot water for about 10 mins and the baking soda was mixed with cider vinegar and added in last. The end result? Delicious.

I thought I'd switch it up a bit and rather than using the traditional cream cheese frosting I went with a vanilla bean buttercream which I kind of just put together last minute. On some of the cupcakes I piped the buttercream with a fondant heart on top and for the remaining cupcakes I added red decorating sugar to the bowl of buttercream to give it an extra kick. Not only would I highly recommend making these cuppies but I also would highly recommend buy this book! More VDT to come...

Red Hot Velvet Cake With Vanilla Bean Buttercream
Adapted from BAKED cookbook
(Makes 3-8inch cakes or 24 cupcakes)

For The Cake:
1/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons red gel food coloring
1/4 cup boiling water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

For The Buttercream:(my own recipe)
1 cup of butter, at room temperature
4 cups of confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise-or more to taste-use the empty beans to make vanilla sugar
1/4 c. milk

Make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust with flour, and knock out the excess flour.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, food coloring, and boiling water. Set aside to cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and shortening until smooth. Scrape down the bowl and add the sugar. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Stir the buttermilk and vanilla into the cooled cocoa mixture.

Sift the flour and salt together into another medium bowl. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture, alternating with the cocoa mixture, to the egg mixture in three separate additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat until incorporated.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and baking soda and stir until the baking soda dissolves; the mixture will fizz. Add to the batter and stir until just combined.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes *(cupcakes took about 18 mins), rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans, and let cool completely. Remove the parchment

Make the buttercream:
Cream the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until soft and creamy. Add the vanilla bean. Gradually add the sugar and beat well being sure to scrap down the sides of the bowl. Add the milk until desired consistency.


Cali Cakes said...

I have that book and I love it! I've been wanting to make that cake too...but in cupcake form. Lol. I love the vanilla bean butter looks so good, and super pretty!

Anonymous said...

Yummy, love the V-day treats!!!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful cupcake! I think I really need to order this book!