What’s In A Name?

11 06 2008

Today: cupcakes. Red velvet cupcakes to be exact, only not so much.

I was bored this afternoon listening to Dinah Shore and got in the mood for something retro, fluffy and cakey. It became evident that cupcakes were in order. I’m rarely the cupcake type, preferring a strong layer cake with several flavors to play with dancing oh so beautifully on my tongue, but I am only one person and have a hard time justifying building an entire cake for myself. So, cupcakes it is. I only really wanted one anyways…

Now let me just say that I love red velvet cake. I know it’s just chocolate cake painted up like a harlot, but it pleases me in a way that I am unqualified to explain. Maybe it’s because it breaks the traditional color rules of chocolate cake, or because it’s just plain fun. Either way, I am rarely afforded the opportunity to make it as most of my family reject anything but traditional norms when it comes to cake. Well you can’t pick your family, but when you live alone you can most definitely pick your recipe.

I rarely manage to botch a recipe, and even when I do, it’s nothing major and I can usually fix it. Unfortunately you can’t re-dye baked goods. The recipe I used came from the Martha Stewart website, a place that I have come to trust after an experience with the best devil’s food cake I have ever greedily crammed down my gullet, but this time we were not so lucky. Here’s what happened.

1. I didn’t trust my chocolatey instincts. I had a feeling that the amount of cocoa powder that was called for wouldn’t be enough to satisfy my craving, but went along with the recipe anyways. Note to self: next time, 2 tbsp more cocoa. MINIMUM.

2. I didn’t have enough red dye. FATAL ERROR. Red velvet cake is just boring chocolate cake when it’s brown.

3. I zealously overfilled the muffin cups to their brims. I admit, there was extra batter to be scraped out of the bowl. I put it in the cups. If I had taken a spoonful of batter out of each cup and put them in three other cups and then used the bowl scrapings to top them off, I would have gotten nine normally sized cupcakes. Instead, i got puffy-topped behemoths that were just two bites too large. *Sigh*

So all in all I did accomplish cupcakes with minor catastophes aside. And although they ended up being a failure as red velvet cupcakes, I have decided to turn that brown upside down and rename them openfaced oreo cupcakes. With that in mind, the experiment was a complete success and my secret will stay between you, me and Dinah Shore. Altered recipe to follow.

Open-faced Oreo Cupcakes
Makes probably 9.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cocoa
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp white vineagar

Preheat oven to 350 and grease your muffin tin.
With an electric beater at medium speed, mix together sugar and oil. Add the egg. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and add half to the sugar mixture. Alternate with half of the milk and the other half of the cocoa mixture. Add vanilla and vineagar. Divide mixture into muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Vanilla Icing
1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tbsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp milk, if needed.

Beat together butter and sugar, adding vanilla once combined. If icing is too thick, add some milk as needed.

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