Friday, January 13

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Undisputed and arguably one of the best cupcakes I've ever tasted come from "Cupcakes" in Vancouver and "Sprinkles" in California.  My cupcakes are nowhere near their rich, velvety, moist, and indulgent marvels, but when I do feel the need to create something fun and insanely nice to eat with The Young Tongue, we bake (or cook) in our kitchen.  Yesterday, we decided to make Red Velvet cupcakes for my best friend and The Young Tongue's god mother, Garlic (yes, that's her name!), who is all the way in the Philippines and for our Nanny, who celebrates her birthday today with us here in Bangkok.  The Young Tongue helped me spread icing on the cupcakes, and well, all over the place!  With christmasy colors for our cupcake paper cups, we've climbed the festive ladder a few good steps, don't you think?!

Did you know that originally, the red color came from an acidic reaction of cocoa powder to buttermilk?  These days, most people use red food coloring.  But if you have the urge to go for natural, try to look for cocoa powder that will react with the buttermilk and reveal it's anthocyanin.  Okay, enough of the science!

I'd love to say that I came up with the recipe for this one, but I must admit, I just lifted it from the internet (tons to choose from, just choose one that you're comfortable with), called an expert pastry chef from Singapore named Dennis to verify a few steps and processes, tweaked here and there, and the results turned out surprisingly good.  I still want to work on my icing though since I want it to hold more ground but I sort of don't want to put unctuous amounts of icing sugar into the recipe.  So there, it's still a toss up between finding the balance among the usual players -- cream cheese, butter, icing sugar, vanilla, and sour cream (yes, sour cream!).  And admittedly, I'd like to come across some liquid Madagascan vanilla here in Thailand -- anyone know where?
The only real trouble here is, I think I've made too many.  Our kitchen churned about 35 cupcakes last night, and there's really only 3 of us here.  I already ate 3 pieces (and The Young Tongue's other half since she was too busy hoarding and devouring the icing on it's own) and I don't have enough containers to transport them to the office where I think I can bully a few people to eat them (pun intended).  Oh well, there's still the weekend and if I take say 5 pieces to work later, we're left with about 18 pieces which gives me, The Young Tongue, and our Nanny 3 days to eat 2 cupcakes a day.  Alright then, sold!

Happy birthday Garlic a.k.a. Big Bad Bawang!  We love and miss you so much.  And since we can't celebrate with you today in Manila, we're going to eat as much cupcakes as we can in honor of you.  Fly and visit us soon!