‘Tis that time of year again. Time for people to bust out their inner patriot that they keep hidden every other three hundred and sixty four days of the year.
This oh so wonderful holiday does not, however, give random citizens the right to wear star spangled swim trunks out in public with obviously no underwear on underneath. I’m pretty sure George Washington would’ve sent him back to England for doing that.
So at work we were having a fourth of July potluck and of course I wanted to bake something, mostly because I wanted to bake something awesome and get people interested in Naomi and I’s company. After looking at a few recipes, I decided on red velvet cupcakes with a blueberry center and cream cheese frosting.
I had made red velvet once before and I was disappointed that it didn’t turn out very red. Probably because recipe didn’t call for food coloring. Duh. I vaugely remember the recipe saying the cocoa mixes with the vinegar and it creates some type of reaction and blah blah but it was a bunch of hooey in my opinion. I used Joy the Baker’s recipe because I totally trust her.
There are some crazy vegans out there that don’t approve of food coloring and say to use beet juice instead to color the batter, but that it might “slightly alter the flavor.” Yeah no shit. Beets are freaking disgusting. If something is potent enough to turn your pee pink then it most definitely is going to alter the flavor of your batter. That whole vegan business is kinda sketchy to me. Just eat some damn cheese and eggs and pepperoni and whatever else is apparently off limits. I guarantee life will be more fun if you do.
So I know it’s a little hard to see, but there’s a gooey blueberry present in the middle. What my orignial plan was was to just layer the blueberry filling between the batter, but it wasn’t really having the affect I wanted so I punched holes with my (clean) index finger in the cooked cupcakes and filled it with more filling.
The blueberry filling took me a while to make because I was making such a large quantity. What you do is cook blueberries down with brown sugar and lemon juice for a while until it’s nice and syrupy. I ended up having to add some corn starch to it to thicken it up. If you do that, make sure you dilute it down with water before hand that way there’s no clumps.
I was pretty satisfied with the finished product. Using an ice cream scooper to put the batter into the pans helped the cupcakes stay consistent sizes and have them bake evenly, so I recommend that you do this as well.
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My Favorite Red Velvet Cupcakes
recipe from Joy the Baker
makes one dozen cupcakes, double recipe to make 2 9-inch layer cakes
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Turn mixer to high and add the egg. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.
In a separate bowl mix together cocoa, vanilla and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter, mixing thoroughly until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.
Turn mixer to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.
Turn mixer to low and add baking soda and white vinegar. Turn to high and beat a few more minutes.
Spoon batter into a paper lined cupcake baking pan. If you decide to use the filling, you can put in a little batter, a little filling, and then more batter, being careful you don’t have the tin more than 3/4 full. You can skip this part and just make a hole with your index finger in a cooled cupcake and fill with the blueberries. Or you can just skip it all together.
Bake at 325 F for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean.
Let rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then place them of a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
double recipe to frost a 2 layer 9-inch cake
2 1/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, cold (I used room temperature)
Beat the powdered sugar, and butter together in the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-slow speed until it comes together and is well mixed.
Add the cream cheese all at once and beat on medium to medium-high until incorporated.
Turn the mixer to medium-high and beat for 5 minutes, or until the frosting becomes light and fluffy.
Do not over-beat as the frosting can quickly become runny.
recipe from The Noshery
3 cups fresh blueberries or frozen, thawed (13 to 14 ounces), divided
2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
Pinch of salt
Combine 11/2 cups blueberries and all remaining ingredients in medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to simmer, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until berries are very soft and liquid is syrupy, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat; add remaining blueberries. Using back of spoon, gently press fresh blueberries against side of pan until lightly crushed.