Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sprinkles' Red Velvet Cupcakes

Sprinkles' Red Velvet Cupcakes - made November 26, 2016 from The Sprinkles Baking Book by Candace Nelson
I've had a love affair with Sprinkles cupcakes for awhile now. At first it was due to their rarity because the closest one to me was half a state away and they didn't ship. Then they opened a shop closer to me, within reasonable driving distance and I still loved them. I almost can't admit how many I ate when they first opened near me but let's say I've tried almost every flavor, including going on certain days to get particular flavors of that day.
Even when other cupcake shops popped up, I still was a die-hard Sprinkles fan. When I needed cupcakes to celebrate birthdays of my direct reports, I often went to Sprinkles. Although I will admit Sibby's is my favorite cupcake place, Sprinkles wins for convenience and accessibility since they're geographically closer to me and have a retail storefront.
So imagine how thrilled I was to learn Candace Nelson put out the Sprinkles Baking Book. Say whaaaa??? Despite my decluttering and paring down of my cookbooks over the past couple of years, despite my vows to keep my possessions to a minimum, blah blah, yeah, I preordered it and it arrived on release day. I enjoyed leafing through the book, reading snippets from Candace about the Sprinkles story and drooling over the pictures of the cupcakes I'd seen in her shop(s).
It was a no-brainer to try out the red velvet cupcake recipe first since that's also my favorite cupcake from Sprinkles and I credit them with making me like red velvet as much as I do. Plus it's the season for red velvet, right?

This is different than other red velvet cupcake recipes I've seen in that it adds white vinegar. Usually, buttermilk is a common ingredient in red velvet recipes and if you don't have buttermilk, savvy bakers will advise you to add a little vinegar to regular milk to get the same effect. This one uses buttermilk and adds a little more vinegar. That must account for the fluffiness of the texture with the acidity being tempered by the baking soda.
I have to give props to this recipe because it actually did taste like the genuine red velvet cupcake from Sprinkles. For once I didn't overbake it and it came out with the proper texture and taste. Thumbs up. Now I can't wait to try the other cupcake recipes in the book.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2/3 cup buttermilk, shaken
1 3/4 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon red gel food coloring
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, slightly softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla and food coloring.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low, add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Slowly add half the flour mixture, then the buttermilk mixture, then the remaining flour mixture, beat until just combined after each addition. Do not overmix.
  6. Divide the batter evenly among the liners and bake until the tops are just dry to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 17 to 19 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting with cream cheese frosting.
  7. Make frosting: in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. 
  8. Reduce the speed to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat until incorporated.
  9. Increase the speed to medium, add the vanilla and beat until fully blended, 1 to 2 minutes, making sure not to incorporate too much air into the frosting.

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