These red velvet cupcakes get their color not from usual food coloring but from puréed roasted beets, which also serve to retain moisture! The recipe is far simpler than ones you may know; no cocoa powder, buttermilk, milk, vinegar or baking soda!
Redness alone does not define red velvet cake. The name velvet simply denotes any cake with an especially fine crumb.
What’s known and is being debated about its history…
Red velvet cake dates back to at least 1873, in the United States, invented by John Adams of Adams Extract, a Texas-based company, credited for bringing red velvet cake to kitchens across America during the Great Depression. Adams Extract was among the first to sell red food color and other flavor extracts, by using point-of-sale posters and tear-off recipe cards. However, the cake and its original recipe are well-known in the United States, from New York City’s famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, during the 1920s. When foods were rationed during World War II, bakers used boiled beets to enhance the color of their cakes.
It is widely considered a Southern recipe, although beets are not used in the Southern version of red velvet cakes.
Red-Beet Velvet Cupcakes
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
• 3 medium red beets (for optimum taste, don’t use canned)
• 250 gr/ 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• ¾ tsp salt
• dash (1/8 tsp) cinnamon
• 240 gr/ 1 cup + 3 Tbsp granulate sugar
• 3 eggs at room temperature
• 170 gr/ 6 oz (12 Tbsp) unsalted butter at room temperature
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
◊ Place rack on middle oven shelf and preheat oven to 175°C/350°F.
◊ Wrap each beet in foil. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 70 minutes.
Let them cool. Peel and cut in small pieces, and purée in food-processor.
They should make a little over 1 cup.
◊ Prepare a twelve ½ cup cupcake pan, with paper liners/cups.
◊ Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, in a bowl and set aside.
◊ Keep rack on middle oven shelf and preheat oven to 175°C/350°F.
◊ In a large bowl, using electric mixer, beat eggs with sugar, until creamy. Add soft butter and vanilla and beat a bit longer. Add puréed, roasted beets and fold in with a silicone spatula.
◊ Sprinkle flour mixture in several batches, as you continue to fold mixture.
◊ Spoon thick batter into cupcake liners, and fill each almost to the top.
◊ Bake for 30 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out almost dry and clean.
◊ Still in pan, on the rack, let cool for 5 minutes. Take cupcakes out of pan and let cool completely on rack.
◊ Decorate with frosting.
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
Originally, red velvet cake was frosted with ‘boiled icing’ made of milk, flour, butter, sugar and vanilla, derived from a French-style butter roux icing (called ermine icing). But I find this cream cheese frosing recipe simpler and quicker.
• 4 oz cream cheese
• 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
• ½ cup confectioner’s/powdered sugar
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
◊ In a medium bowl, using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add vanilla and gradually stir in sugar.
~ Bon Appétit! ~
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?