My sister Juliane has been begging me to bake her red velvet cupcakes, her favorite, for the past few weeks and I finally decided to give in. (Heck, it was the least I could do as I'd been crashing on her couch.) And the girl knew exactly what recipe she wanted. No, not any cupcake that I've created before (thanks sis), but a replica of the one she served at her wedding last summer, from Georgetown Cupcake in SoHo.
Well, at least I didn't have to deconstruct it from the ground up. She made it easy by handing me a recipe that she'd found online. She'd even purchased a cute little mixer just for this project. So being the good sister that I am, I decided not to let her insanely small Upper East Side kitchen get the best of me, and set up a workspace over the sink. A sweet batch of cute red velvet cupcakes fit right in with my Valentine's Day mood anyway.
My creation wasn't straight forgery, though. After looking at the 3 1/2 cups of flour and 1 1/2 cups milk, I knew the yield would be way too much for 12 cupcakes. So I cut the recipe back. And because I adore using white chocolate around this time of year, I performed my favorite spin on a cream cheese frosting by whipping in some melted white chocolate. Creamy, buttery, white chocolate added its own sweetness and let me cut back on the cloying confectioners' sugar. White chocolate always amps up an everyday cream cheese frosting into a totally decadent experience, especially when paired with a super moist cupcake, and I'd have nothing less for my favorite sis. Was she angry that I took liberties with her favorite recipe and wrecked her kitchen? She managed to consume no less than 4 cupcakes in the hour after they came out of the oven, so I think I did something right.
This recipe is adapted from a recipe by Georgetown Cupcake.
- 1 3/4 cup (8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cocoa
- 10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, softened, divided
- 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup (about 6 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon red food coloring
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon vinegar
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3 cups (12 ounces) confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 3 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
- 1/4 cup red sugar for garnish
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
Sift flour and cocoa into small bowl; set aside. Using mixer, cream 6 tablespoons butter, granulated sugar, and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg, red food coloring, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until combined.
Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, alternating with milk, until combined.
In small bowl, stir baking soda into vinegar and let fizz. Immediately stir into batter. Divided batter between cupcake cups and bake until just firm, about 17 minutes. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to wire rack to cool completely before frosting, about an hour.
Make frosting: Using mixer, beat cream cheese, remaining 4 tablespoons butter, and confectioners' sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla and white chocolate until just combined. Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with red sugar.
mixer, 12-cup muffin tin, cupcake liners
Don't skip the step of stirring the baking soda into the vinegar first, or the cupcakes will over-rise. If the frosting is too loose to frost, chill briefly until thickened.