Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I realize that the last post on this blog is from November. I've been thinking about blogging since the last post, but what with the whirlwind of the holidays and then devouring most meals before I have time to photograph them, it's been a bit of a difficult task to complete. I did quite a bit of baking and cooking over the holidays, made special cookies for the Superbowl (with Green Bay in the game this year it was practically a holiday around here), and various meals in between. I received "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" as a Christmas present this year, so I've been cooking quite a bit out of that too (mmm butter!). I made a pact with myself that I wouldn't post any of those recipes on this blog, although it is quite tempting.

The time has definitely come to post again. For Valentine's Day this year, the fiance and I are having a lovely dinner at home and enjoying each other's company. I've been thinking a lot about our Valentine's celebration last year, when we lived 450 miles apart, and I think I prefer this year's celebration infinitely better. He had a gig the night before and I had to teach on the Monday following, so we ended up meeting in the middle and walking around a mall. We had a nice dinner at a certain Australian restaurant, but having to drive to our respective cities alone afterwards was quite a let-down.

My Valentine's present to the fiance is a meal of his favorites, so that means lasagna, and also Red Velvet Cupcakes for dessert. I'll eat ANYTHING that has cream cheese frosting, so the Red Velvet Cupcakes were a double positive. I do have a wedding dress to start thinking about fitting into, so I used a recipe from Cooking Light to help make these a little less guilt-inducing. The end result is moist, delicious, and gorgeously red, oh and did I mention, CREAM CHEESE FROSTING?! That alone is make-your-knees-weak delicious. All in all, this recipe is getting filed away for many, many future uses. So enough with the backstory and on to the recipe!

Red Velvet Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups cake flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons red food coloring

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Place 24 cup liners in muffin pan, coat with cooking spray.
3. Combine cake flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir with a whisk.
4. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, beat until blended (about 3 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Add flour and buttermilk alternately to the sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour. 
6. Add vinegar, vanilla, and food coloring; beat well.
7. Spoon into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
8. Cool in pan for 10 minutes on wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely before frosting. 

Cream Cheese Frosting
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 teaspoons buttermilk
1 8 oz block cream cheese, softened
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1. Beat butter, buttermilk, and cream cheese with mixer on high until fluffy.
2. Gradually add powdered sugar; beat until smooth.
3. Add vanilla; beat well.

1 comment:

  1. I know how you feel about that eating the meal before you photograph it. I realized that I had done 2 experimental recipes over the weekend that would have been perfect, but I either consumed it before I took pictures, or I realized that I should have started taking pictures 5 minutes ago but my hands were already covered in goo.