Friday, May 2, 2008

Cupcakes Take the Cake

The other night my mom and I watched an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay. I hardly ever watch TV but since Mom was in town it was a good excuse to see what the Food Network had to offer. The episode featured Auntie Em's Kitchen, a bakery famous for their red velvet cupcakes (and a variety of other cupcakes for that matter!). Our mouths watered just watching customers dive into Auntie Em's delectable cupcakes, top heavy with frosting and oh so moist. Yes, even though we weren't watching in HD we could tell those cupcakes were to die for!

Watching this episode of Throwdown reminded me of a blog I came across a while ago called Cupcakes Take the Cake. If you're a cupcake lover (and what I-refuse-to-grow-up grown up isn't?) you'll want to sink your teeth into the posts on this site. The site, which has received a plethora of press, features all things cupcake from recipes to Flickr photos of fab cupcakes to cupcakes in the news. You gotta love the YouTube video of the Zappos staff's cupcake eating contest! Cupcakes Take the Cake also has an extensive list of U.S. and international bakeries. Who knew South Africa and Malaysia had cupcake aficionados?

With thoughts of cupcakes dancing in your head I leave you with the red velvet cupcake recipe from the other night. Enjoy!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

15 1/2 oz all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 c vegetable oil
13 oz granulated sugar
1 1/4 c buttermilk
3 eggs

2 T plus 2 tsp red food coloring
1 1/4 tsp vinegar (white or apple cider can both work)
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 c water

Cream cheese frosting

1 1/2 lbs cream cheese, room temperature

1 lb butter, room temperature
2 lbs powdered sugar, sifted
1 T vanilla extract

Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder into a bowl and set aside. In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix oil, sugar, and buttermilk until combined. Add eggs, food coloring, vinegar, vanilla and water and mix well. Add the dry ingredients a little bit at a time and mix on low, scraping down sides occasionally, and mix until just combined. Be sure not to over mix, or the batter will come out tough.

Line a 16-cup cupcake pan with paper liners, scoop the batter into the liners and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.

Whip the butter and cream cheese together until creamed. Gradually add powdered sugar and scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and mix until combined. Use right away or refrigerate up to a week. Frost cooled cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting.

To kick off what will hopefully be a cupcake-filled weekend, I leave you with this haiku from Cupcakes Take the Cake:
sunny day cupcake
is it moist or just humid
spring into summer

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