Shannon’s Divine Red Velvet Cupcakes

Light, airy, flavorful, delicate…..downright ETHEREAL light cake, and the “Lighter than air” whipped cream cheese icing (and the cherry on top) make these cupcakes stand apart from all the rest.

Makes 2 dozen

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour

1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa

1 cup unsalted butter, softened (room temperature)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

4 teaspoons red food coloring (liquid)

1 batch Whipped Cream Cheese Icing (recipe below)

24 Maraschino cherries (stem on) for cupcake toppers

Procedure:
Measure out cake flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.
Mix gently with a whisk.

Sift the flour mixture into a second bowl.  Set aside.

Measure sugar and softened butter into mixing bowl.

Beat until smooth.

Add the eggs, beat again until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla.

Add half of the flour/cocoa mixture, and half of the buttermilk to the butter/sugar mix.  Mix gently, on low speed until just incorporated.  Add the rest of the flour/cocoa mixture and the last half of the buttermilk.  Mix gently again, on low speed.

Add red food coloring and mix very slowly, until you have a smooth batter.

Pretty!
Using a 1/3 cup measure, spoon batter into cupcake tins lined with cupcake papers.

Bake at 350° F for 15-20 minutes.  Times may vary.

Preparing to decorate:
About an hour before you plan to decorate your cupcakes, drain the maraschino cherries and place them on a dry paper towel.  This will soak up the extra juice so they won’t “bleed” on the icing.

Shannon’s “Light as a Cloud” Whipped Cream Cheese Icing:

This will make a little more than enough for 2 dozen cupcakes or to fill and frost a two-layer cake.

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened.

2 8-oz packs of cream cheese, room temperature

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

pinch of salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
Add all ingredients EXCEPT heavy whipping cream to mixing bowl.  Whip using a heavy duty mixer with the wire whisk attachment.
When butter, sugar, salt and vanilla are mixed well, add heavy whipping cream and beat on high speed for 1-2 minutes.
Can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to two weeks, or frozen for three months.  Bring back to room temperature before attempting to work with it.

Pipe whipped cream cheese icing on cupcakes after they’ve cooled completely.

Simple enough for every day, fancy enough for a dinner party.  Light, delicate, airy and delicious.

Bon appetite,

Shannon Vavich

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