Cream cheese frosting is probably somewhere near the top of my list of favorite things. Deliciously creamy, and completely worth every calorie, there’s nothing I can’t love about cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla, all mixed together into a fluffy cloud of pure delight. Seriously, I love this stuff.
It was while I was in the midst of a craving for cream cheese frosting that my grandmother’s birthday rolled around. My family and I were just a couple days away from packing our bags and carting ourselves down to Destin, Florida, to the house she’s lived in since before my kid brother and I were born. So, I thought it not a bad idea nor a bad excuse to make a batch of red velvet cupcakes to put under that delectable frosting and bring along to Florida.
I made four large cupcakes, monstrously sized cupcakes, and presented them unceremoniously in a plastic container. She was still very appreciative, though, which made me feel good. I felt even better later that evening after devouring my cupcake.
A quick word of caution: depending on what kind of food coloring you use, you may want to change out of those white clothes. In truth, I don’t usually use food coloring at all, which seems to work just as well. But my family insists that it’s not red velvet if the cake itself isn’t red. Sometimes (as in this case) I must relent.
The cake’s recipe (reproduced below) is that of Pinch My Salt, and makes about twenty four cupcakes.
For the cake:
- 2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 oz. red food coloring (optional)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or line two cupcake sheets.
Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together, mixing until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla and the food coloring. Mix in about one-third of the dry ingredients, then around half of the buttermilk. Mix well, then add about half of the remaining dry ingredients, and the rest of the buttermilk. Add the rest of the dry ingredients, then mix well. Mix in the baking soda and the vinegar.
Distribute the batter evenly, filling the wells until just over half-full. Bake for 22 – 30 minutes (mine usually take 28 minutes). Cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting:
- 16 oz. (2 packages) of cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar
- 2 – 6 Tbsp heavy whipping cream (optional)
In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. On a low speed, beat in the confectioners sugar until well combined. Add in the vanilla and cream, then beat until fluffy without over beating.