Velvety Birthdays

I have a lot of reasons to be thankful for my roommate Colleen — she makes sure I’m up those mornings that I sleep past my alarm, she keeps me sane during crunch times such as right now (ahhhh!), and most importantly, she helps me eat the things I bake so I’m not a total cow.

I always leave Colleen a few cookies, scraps of cake, or half eaten muffins so she can also enjoy the goodies I’ve been making for other people (I’m hoping it makes up for the mess I leave in the kitchen sometimes…) But for her birthday she wasn’t going to get leftovers, I told her I’d make whatever she wanted. And this is what she chose:

Well all she requested was red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting but of course I went overboard with the fondant decorations. We got out early from PBL, what can I say. It was also our friend Pamela’s birthday, and although I didn’t follow any requests from her, she was equally happy with her plate of festive cupcakes.

The cake and frosting recipes are a tried and true favorite of my all time favorite chef — my friend Tyla. She was good to her word and this was a great recipe! The first time I had red velvet cake was at the Nasher Cafe down at Duke, and it became a fast favorite of mine. Particularly the cream cheese frosting, mmmmm. Apparently red velvet cake is a southern recipe, which makes it fitting that I first had it in North Carolina, but unless there’s something southern about red food coloring, it’s just a regular yellow cake recipe with a bit of cocoa powder and a LOT of red food coloring.

As far as the flower decorations, I bought pre-dyed fondant that came with 4 oz packages of red, yellow, green, and blue. (I guess I need to think of something to use the blue fondant for…) Making the cutouts was a lot like playing with play-doh, I had a really good time. I used mini flower and circle cookie cutters for the flowers and a scalloped heart cookie cutter cut in half for the leaves. The frosting was piped with a #1M star Wilton tip. I love how the flowers coordinate with the little bit of red cake peeking through.

Although their birthday was rainy and full of review sessions and studying, I hope these cute cupcakes make their day a bit brighter. I certainly enjoyed making them! But now it’s back to the books, 3 exams in the next week and a half!

Happy Birthday Colleen and Pamela!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cocoa
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups canola oil
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp red gel food coloring dissolved in 6 tbsp water (or 1 1 oz bottle)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup butter
1 (8oz) package cream cheese
1 box (4 cups) confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare muffin tins with 24 liners
– Mix the flour, baking soda, and cocoa in one bowl, sugar and eggs in another, and oil, vinegar, food coloring, vanilla, and buttermilk in yet another.
– Add the oil mixture to the egg mixture and beat until well combined
– Add the flour mixture in small intervals, mixing well witah each addition
– Fill 24 liners up with batter 3/4 of the way full
– Bake for 25 minutes and let completely cool before frosting
– For the frosting, cream together the butter and cream cheese and add the sugar in small intervals until well mixed.
– Mix in the vanilla and frost the cupcakes!

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5 Responses to “Velvety Birthdays”

  1. #
    Colleen — November 14, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

    Thank You so much!! They are delicious and you’re amazing!!

  2. #
    pamela — November 14, 2009 @ 8:05 pm

    ahhhh Erica that was the most phenomenal frosting I ever ate in my life!! I am thoroughly impressed. thanks so much and the blog was SO cute!

  3. #
    Anonymous — May 3, 2012 @ 6:50 pm

    Making these delecious cupcakes as we speak.. batter is I can’t wait to taste the final result. Just one question for you, how big is your box of confectioners sugar? Not sure where your blogging from, but in Canada i only get them in bags.. i hope I don’t have to resort to using buttercream icing..:( Thanks in advance.. I let you know how they turn out.

    • Erica — May 3rd, 2012 @ 7:58 pm

      1 box is 4 cups – hope they come out great!

    • Anonymous — May 5th, 2012 @ 3:26 am

      hi they came out fantastic.. i will have to log in and perhaps send you a picture.. i sent them to a friend who is not well. and she absoutely loved them.. the cake is very fluffy and light. and the cream cheese icing is soooo smooth.. and delecious.. I ended up using 5 cups, so i wasn’t far off. thanks for sharing your recipie.. can’t wait to try the smores.. yummmm I recommend this recipie 5 stars..*****

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