Petit Gateau Rouge Velour

For those of you who have not studied French, the title is Red Velvet Cupcakes (I didn’t study French either, I looked it up).  So you are probably thinking that the title is in French because Red Velvet cupcakes come from France.  Makes sense, but not really.  As a matter of fact, no one really knows the exact source.  Many claim that the recipe for the unbelievably popular sweet is theirs, but no one can really prove it.  The common thinking is that it comes from the southern U.S., but there are also claims from the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, from an obscure town in Canada, etc etc.  You are probably asking why did I chose to title this post in French – I just thought that since no one knows FOR SURE where these cupcakes came from, they could just as well be from France.  Besides, I love French pastries!

I was excited to try this recipe because it seems that Red Velvet is one of those flavors that is hard to get right.  I think it should have the distinct flavor of rich and ahem….”velvety” cocoa, but not really taste like chocolate.  Confused??  Read on….

Start with the dry ingredients:

The dry ingredients are combined with the standard stuff – eggs, oil, sugar, flavoring, and the not so standard stuff – red food coloring (use paste coloring, it’s much more concentrated) to yield this batter:

One final addition is baking soda and vinegar mixed together and then blended into the batter.

Now, ready for the oven:

 After baking, here they are:

I let them cool and then used the suggested frosting – cream cheese, of course.

Here is a tip if you have trouble with runny cream cheese icing: Do not let the butter get too soft, just room temperature.  Then, cream the butter and confectioners’ sugar together before adding the cream cheese.  Add the cold cream cheese in chunks and do not beat too long, only until the frosting is smooth.

Here is the result; I think they turned out really nice:

They looked good, but there wasn’t a lot of flavor.  I really do not understand, the aroma when they came out of the oven was amazing.  Hmmmm….so disappointed.  The frosting was excellent and helped somewhat, but without it the cupcakes were tasteless.   On the plus side, the texture was wonderful and the cupcakes themselves were very moist.  Perhaps more cocoa would have helped.  I will definitely revisit these cupcakes.

Next: Rhubarb Cupcakes…now that will be a challenge!  Also, over the next few weeks I will be gearing up for the annual Haunted House at our local Youth Center.  I will have a booth and cupcakes and cake pops will be the scary (but sweet) treats!  I am looking forward to sharing my treats here on my blog.

Stay tuned,

Sweet Joan

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