Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Something for the ladies...

Thought I'd move Super Bowl appetizers up a notch for the ladies in the group and offer Red Velvet Cupcakes.

A Red Velvet Cake is one that has a dark red or red-brown color. It is traditionally prepared as a layer cake with cream cheese frosting. The reddish color is from the red food coloring added to batter. When researching recipes I found varying degrees of how much cocoa is used and the amount of red food coloring. One recipe even had a whole bottle of red added to batter. I passed on that recipe.
The cake and its original recipe originated from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. However it is widely considered a southern recipe. A resurgence of this cake's popularity is partly attributed to the film Steel Magnolias (1989) in which the groom's cake was a Red Velvet Cake in the shape of an armadillo.
Urban legend has it that a story with a recipe in the 1920's began circulating. The cake had been served at the New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Here is one account that came from the  book The Vanishing Hitchhiker by Jan Brunvand.

Our friend, Dean Blair, got on a bus in San Jose one morning and shortly after, a lady got on the bus and started passing out these 3 x 5 cards with the recipe for “Red Velvet Cake.” She said she had recently been in New York and had dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria and had this cake. After she returned to San Jose, she wrote to the hotel asking for the name of the chef who had originated the cake, and if she could have the recipe.
Subsequently she received the recipe in the mail along with a bill for something like $350 from the chef. She took the matter to her attorney, and he advised her that she would have to pay it because she had not inquired beforehand if there would be a charge for the service, and if so, how much it would be. Consequently, she apparently thought this would be a good way to get even with the chef.
Because of this popular story and similar variations, Red Velvet Cake is also known as Waldorf-Astoria Cake, $100 Cake, $200 Cake, etc. I guess yowill have to decide for yourself how much of this story you want to believe.
In this photo my daughter is holding our dessert plate with one of the goodies being her favorite Red Velvet Cake.  
I thought Red Velvet Cupcakes would be a good balance for a Super Bowl offerings. I jazzed them up a bit with Valentine cupcake liners and Valentine decorations. I picked Ina Garten's (Barefoot Contessa) recipe and the only change made was reducing sugar from 1-1/2 cups to 1-1/3 cups.
Red Velvet Cupcakes 
makes 16 cupcakes and you will need 3 different bowls
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (be sure to shake container first before pouring)
  • 1 TB. red food coloring
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  • 1-1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 extra large eggs at room temperature

Preheat oven  to 350 and line muffin tins with paper cupcake liners
Bowl #1
Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt
Bowl #2
Combine buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla
Bowl #3 
Beat butter and sugar till fluffy, add in eggs one at a time and beat till well mixed
With mixer on low speed in bowl #3 
Add in the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients alternating in 3 parts beginning and ending with dry ingredients
Mix until all is combined
Using a mixing cup (1/3 cup)fill muffin liners about 3/4 full  
Bake 18 minutes
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1- 3 oz. package cream cheese softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 TB. butter
  • milk 
  • Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla
  • Add in powdered sugar
  • Add enough milk to get the necessary spreading consistency-do tablespoons at a time
The World According to Bella
On The Bad List Again
It took me less that 24 hours at the lake to get into trouble. I was fine with it all but Mr. C and Mrs S. were embarrassed. But really it was not exactly my fault. How was I to know our next door neighbor had his dinner out in a snowbank! I saw it there in a plastic bag and thought it was for the taking. How could I  possibly resist 2 pieces of cleaned fish fillets. He has a refrigerator. Why wouldn't he use that rather than putting something outside so tempting? 
I had just polished the fillets off when Mr. C caught me with the plastic bag in my mouth. / really had my tail between my legs when the neighbor came over asking us about his bag of fish. Guess I was busted. 

Lucky though Mrs. S came to the rescue. She had just made a new batch of Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup and gave him a heaping bowl.  
As for me, perhaps my roaming days at the lake are soon to be over.  
Love, Bella

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