Election Sweets

by Joseph Erdos
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redvelvetcupcake.jpgI love red velvet cake, and I love red velvet cupcake even more. Not to mention that my favorite frosting is cream cheese. For me this combination is highly appealing in a cake. Red velvet is so easy and fun to make at home. I’ve tried different recipes but the best resulting one so far is from Paula Deen. Her more or less traditional Southern recipe uses oil instead of butter. What I’ve found is that oil makes a much more moist cake than the traditional butter. I am starting to think that from now on I might just use oil in cakes.

I’ve adapted Paula’s recipe here with some minor tweaks. For a more delicate crumb I use cake flour instead of her all-purpose. You will notice too that instead of the typical nut topping, I’ve decorated the little cakes using blueberries, which I’ve fashioned into a blatant political message for this upcoming election day.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

1-1/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
2/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake papers.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat together the oil, buttermilk, egg, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients a little at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl now and then, until the mixture is smooth and glossy.

Divide the batter evenly in the cupcake tin using a releasable ice cream scoop. Fill each liner about 3/4 full. Bake until cupcakes are set, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: 12 cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 3 cups confectioners sugar

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat together the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until well combined. With the mixer on low speed, add the confectioners sugar one cup at a time. Mix until incorporated. Increase the speed and continue to mix until light and fluffy. Add more sugar to stiffen frosting if too creamy. Yield: enough frosting for 12 cupcakes.


Joseph Erdos is a New York–based writer and editor, but above all a gastronomer and oenophile. He shares his passion for food on his blog, Gastronomer's Guide , which features unique recipes and restaurant reviews among many other musings on the all-encompassing topic of food.



#1 laura grace 2008-11-03 08:54
I want Joseph Erdos to come bake at our house on election night!

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