A Red Velvet Valentine Heart

In honor of Valentine’s Day tomorrow I decided to bake up a red velvet cake heart and decorate it with cream cheese frosting. I just can’t stand when red velvet (or carrot cake for that matter) are frosted with buttercream or vanilla frosting. The flavors just don’t go well together in my opinion. So, what are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Or will you be celebrating Singletine’s Day? Or Galentine’s Day? Which is actually today!

For the cake I used a recipe that I came across on another blog that was for 12 cupcakes. In one bowl I combined all of my dry ingredients – flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, unsweetened cocoa powder and salt. And in a smaller bowl I whisked together buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, an egg, vinegar and red food coloring. I didn’t have buttermilk so I made my own by combining a 1/2 cup of milk with 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice (you could use vinegar in lieu of the lemon juice). I stirred the two together and let it sit at room temperature until it was slightly thickened. You may also see some curdling on the top as well. Ever since I learned I could make my own buttermilk I have opted to do that as opposed to buying it. Inevitably I always end up throwing out most of the buttermilk since I have nothing else to use it for.

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Next, I added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat them until they were well combined. And then slowly added in hot water – I boiled the water and then let it cool a bit.

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And finally, I poured the batter into my prepared 6-inch heart pan (I sprayed it with baking spray) and baked it in a 350 F oven for about 40 minutes. Now, if you plan on using a 6-inch heart pan like I did, don’t make the same mistake I did. I poured all of the batter into the pan. I probably should have only poured in enough to fill half or 3/4 of the pan, but, it was slightly more than 3/4. So, what happened, it overflowed when I baked it. Thankfully I had the premonition that it would so I placed aluminum foil on the rack beforehand so I didn’t have a huge mess in my oven.

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It wasn’t all that bad though, after letting the cake cool I was able to torte the cake. I just used the cut side as the bottom of the cake.

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And then it was time to decorate. I made cream cheese frosting and let it firm up a bit in the fridge before decorating with it. I began by make two large rosettes on the cake using a Wilton 1M tip…

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And soon enough, using various sizes and shapes of decorating tips, my heart was completely decorated.

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So, however you will be celebrating, or if you’re not celebrating at all, I hope you have a wonderful day.

 

Red Velvet Cake

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 1/8 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 teaspoon white vinegar

2 teaspoons red food coloring

1/2 cup hot water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare your desired pan. This recipe was originally for 12-14 cupcakes, but, can be easily used for a single layer 6-inch or 8-inch cake.

In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients – flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt, set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, egg, vinegar and red food coloring.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and using a hand mixer beat until well combined.

Slowly add the hot water to the batter and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

If using a cupcake pan, bake for about 15 – 17 minutes. If using a cake pan, bake for 30 – 40 minutes. Until a cake tested comes out clean.

Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Recipe from The Cake Blog

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

1 8-oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine the cream cheese and butter in a bowl and beat until smooth.

Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until smooth.

Add in the vanilla extract and beat until well incorporated.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

While it is safe to say we all like a dessert that will create a moment of utter bliss when we take that first bite, there are those times that all we want are tried and true classics that evoke nostalgia for a certain time and/or place or simply cannot be beat – i.e. a chocolate chip cookie, a yellow cake (or cupcake) with chocolate frosting or a chocolate cake (or cupcake) with vanilla frosting and more recently red velvet!

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I cannot say for sure what makes Red Velvet so special. Is it the bold red color? The flavor that is somewhere along the lines of chocolate thanks to the addition of cocoa powder? Or maybe it’s the creamy cream cheese frosting? Who knows, all I know is that it’s delicious!

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I began making the cupcakes by beating together butter and sugar until it was light fluffy.

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In then mixed in eggs, buttermilk, vanilla extract and a fluid ounce of red food coloring, which essentially gives this cake its name. But, I should note that there are recipes out there – like this one and this one –  that use beets instead to obtain that vivid red color. One more thing, if you wanted to make a red velvet cake in other colors you could simply just swap out the red food coloring for whatever color you wanted; i.e. a purple velvet cake, pink velvet cake, green velvet cake, etc…

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By hand I then stirred in baking soda and vinegar and finally flour, cocoa powder and salt which I had combined in another bowl.  I chose to incorporate these ingredients into the mixture by hand so I wouldn’t accidentally overbeat the batter which would turn out dense and dry cupcakes as opposed to the light and fluffy ones these turned out to be.

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I then divided the batter among paper lined cupcake tins and baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for twenty minutes.

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After the cupcakes had cooled it was time to frost them. I opted to frost them with a Cream Cheese Frosting as I think it’s the best flavor to enhance the flavors of the red velvet cake. I have had them with buttercream frosting and it’s just not the same.

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I also sprinkled a few of the cupcakes’ with red velvet cake crumbs and they turned out tasting just as good as they looked!

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

Makes 20 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 fluid ounce red food coloring

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin pans with 20 paper baking cups.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, red food coloring and vanilla. Stir in the baking soda and vinegar. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt; stir into the batter just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.

3. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. When completely cooled frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

2 – 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

In a medium bowl cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, and then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar.