BIG Baking Day

31 Aug

I don’t know what helps me relieve stress more than being in the kitchen.  Since I have acquired a second job and have started back to school, I have not had the time to really get in the kitchen and go bonkers.  Today I ended up being off from both jobs and got out of school, with minimal homework, around 3 P.M.  I believe that the only place in my house I have visited has been the kitchen.  Speaking of … I am still here, at the kitchen table. 

Because I am completely OBSESSED with everything cupcakes, I had to try a different recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes I recently found on  OK everyone who bakes knows what Red Velvet is, the lightly chocolate cake with a buncha red food coloring, usually containing both buttermilk and white vinegar.  My real problem with Red Velvet is its dryness so when I saw this recipe I knew I had to test it.  How is this cake different? 

  1. No buttermilk
  2. No vinegar
  3. Much more cocoa powder and
  4. Sour Cream

I know Southern women will turn over in their graves to hear of this but after careful taste testing I have decided that this recipe completely solves the “dry” problem with Red Velvet.  However, for my taste, the chocolate flavor was too much.  I love chocolate but everything has expectations associated with its name, Red Velvet should not taste like straight-up chocolate cake.  I also made mine a slight bit healthier, but only so I could eat more of them 🙂  

Red Velvet Cupcakes:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I would use 1/4 cup maximum)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 cup butter (I used 1/2 cup butter + 1/2 cup reduced fat vanilla yogurt)
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream (I used reduced fat)
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used skim)
  • 1 oz. Red food coloring
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees then start by creaming the room temperature butter and sugar together, about 7 minutes or until pale yellow and fluffy.   Meanwhile, whisk together flour, salt, cocoa powder and soda to remove lumps.  Scrape the sides of your bowl then turn mixer on low.  Add all four eggs, one at a time, then gradually the vanilla, sour cream, (yogurt,) food coloring and milk.  Scrape the sides of the bowl again then add all the flour mixture at once.  Start SLOW with the mixer speed, or you will get a flour shower.  The easiest way to not cover your kitchen in flour and cocoa powder would be to pulse your mixer at first, let it go on slow approximately 1 minute, scrape the bowl, then mix on low again for 30 seconds.  Grease or line standard size muffin tins, divide the batter evenly amongst them, and bake for 20-22 minutes.  This makes about 30 standard sized cupcakes.  Cool on wire rack and prepare your favorite icing.  I go with cream cheese although the true classic pairing is vanilla stove top glaze.

Had to make mine purple because I have no red food coloring.

Topped with a tangy Sour Cream Cheese Frosting

Next on the agenda …

  • Mom: “What would you like for breakfast?”
  • Child: “Cake!”
  • Mom: “Sweetheart, you know you can’t have cake for breakfast, but you can have these sugar laden ‘pancakes’ covered in fatty butter and sugary syrup.”

OK I admit that it didn’t go exactly like that … however it brings me to my point, muffins.  Generally, when given the choice, I would choose to bake/eat a cupcake over a muffin any day, but I am one of those split personality cooks who loves their health along with the ultra indulgent foods.

Fig, Banana, and Chocolate Chip Muffins:

  •  1 over ripened banana
  • 1/2 cup dried figs, diced
  • 2-3 tbsp. rum
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup 10 grain cereal/bread mix
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees then start by creaming the room temperature butter and brown sugar.  Meanwhile, combine diced figs and banana with rum and vanilla.  Squish banana through your fingers to mix with rum, or use a fork.  Next combine flour, 10 grain mix, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl.  Whisk to combine and break up lumps.  Scrape sides of your bowl then add egg.  When completely combined add yogurt and banana mixture.  Dump dry ingredients into mixing bowl, all at once, and mix to combine.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Prepare standard muffin tins with liners or nonstick spray, divide batter evenly amongst them, and bake for 20-22 minutes.  Cool on wire racks and enjoy. 


Didn’t I tell you it was a BIG Baking Day?  Well, I’m still not finished.  I’m heading to Italy for these.

Ricotta Cookies:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 16 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees then start by creaming the room temperature butter and sugar, for about 7 minutes or until pale yellow and fluffy.  Next, combine your flour, baking soda and baking powder.  Add eggs to wet mixture, one at a time, then vanilla extract and ricotta cheese.  Dump flour in, all at once, mix on slow until combined.  Scoop onto greased cookie sheets in 1-2 tablespoonfuls.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, cool on wire rack and enjoy!


Can you tell that I liked them?


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