Both of my daughters wanted me to submit some cupcakes for their schools fun fair. I decided some popcorn and a ticket for admittance would be fun to decorate and we got to work to craft some delicious and fun inspired cupcakes. We tried to stick with the theme fun fair.
Baking and decorating all day, even the kids helped me to make the popcorn accents. A lot of time and effort went into these cupcakes, so imagine our surprise when we arrived at the fun fair to see them on sale for 50 cents each. Yikes, I can’t even make them that cheap! Next time I think I’ll donate a decorated cake to be raffled instead. The school had blow up bouncy castles, slides and obstacle courses, cupcake walks, games set up in every room – even face painting! It was a really big event and the kids had a blast winning prizes and bidding on fun fair gift baskets.
A silent auction was held to raise funds as well, and the kids from each class were asked to bring in a specific themed item to compile a gift basket for their class. The baskets were massive and filled with so many great items. We won a summer fun basket for $60.00 – so many awesome things inside, Tim Hortons Gift Card, iTunes Gift Card, tons of Pool Toys, Sunscreen, Gardening Tools and Gloves, Tableclothes and outdoor games for the kids to play. It was a steal and the gift baskets certainly raised a great deal for the school. They also had a room set up with guessing jars – people compiled candies of all kinds and you could pay for tickets to guess how many were in each jar. What a fabulous idea for fund raising that doesn’t involve your child having to bug friends and family for donations! It was open to the public and no doubt they raised a good amount, it was absolutely packed!
Want to make some Red Velvet Cupcakes of your own? See below for our recipe including the cream cheese frosting!
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from Food Networks Red Velvet Cake Recipe)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 Cup of Buttermilk (don’t have buttermilk? 1 cup milk + 1 tsp vinegar – allow to sit for 10 minutes – Voila!)
2 Large Eggs (room temp – if cold, soak in some warm water to bring to temp)
(**I am not recommending liquid red flavouring as I find it’s simply too much Red dye, if you do use it’s 1 ounce)
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees (We’re going to turn it down when the cupcakes go in so don’t forget this step!) Prepare you muffin tins with cupcake liners.
Sift together all of your dry ingredients and set aside. (Don’t have a sifter? Use a whisk – it’ll work just as well!)
Add red gel to your buttermilk and mix well. This prevents a huge mess in your mixer and it’s pre-mixed and ready to be added to the batter. Some recipes will recommended mixing the cocoa with the red dye (recommended if you use a liquid dye).
Using your stand mixer, add your wet ingredients together and mix until well combined. Slowly add your dry ingredients 1/3 of the batter at a time and mix until batters texture is smooth.
Fill your baking cups about 3/4 full (I use a large muffin scoop I got from Pampered Chef). Place your tins in the oven and reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees. Bake 15 minutes and check by poking a toothpick in the centre. Cupcakes will be finished when the toothpick comes out clean. Why 15 minutes? It’s a good time to start checking the batter to ensure you do not dry out the cupcakes. The red dye can dry out the batter, to ensure you have moist cupcakes anytime you bake follow this method. Check the cupcakes every 2 minutes until complete.
Remove the cupcakes from the tin 10 minutes after they leave the oven to a cooling rack to prevent the wrappers from becoming saturated with steam and peeling away from the edges of your cupcake. This recipe yields about 18 cupcakes.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 Pound of Cream Cheese Softened
1/2 Pound of Unsalted Butter Room Temp
4 Cups of Powdered Sugar/Icing Sugar (SIFTED)
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
In the bowl of your stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the sugar, butter and cream cheese until well combined. Add a small amount of the icing sugar 1/2-1 cup at time and mix well. Add 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract and mix well. Scoop into piping bag and fill/top cupcakes for a deliciously sinful sweet!
If you would like to make your cream cheese frosting a little more stable (it’s prone to melt) mix it with half a batch of Swiss Meringue Buttercream to create a stiffer frosting.
(This recipes yields enough to frost 2 dozen cupcakes)
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Why do you only recommend using gel colour? Where can I find it?
Liquid red dye is pretty potent. I don’t recommend that most children consume it in larger quantities (ie large cake slice and frostings/fondant with it in it). Liquid colour makes a mess and will dry out your cake/cupcakes. I get my gel colours from Flour Confections in Pickering. They have great starter kits with a variety of gel colours or they sell singles if you use colours on a regular basis. Gel produces better results and less mess. (Beet Juice can also be used and we are working on a recipe and will post as soon as we have it perfected for a natural dye option!)
Every time I make Red Velvet it’s dry and not very tasty, how come?
Chances are you are baking with a recipe that has a heavier dry to liquid content. The liquid colouring is what’s killing your recipe, and the taste! Switch to the Gel colour paste and you will see better results.
Do you have a recipe that uses a natural dye instead? Like Beets?
We’re working on it and will share as soon as we test it! Promise!
How do I keep my cream cheese frosting from melting?
Mix half with Swiss Meringue Buttercream above. If it’s really runny, try putting it in the fridge for a bit and keep checking on the consistency. It should be much easier to pipe and stay put!
I would love to have my wedding cake red velvet with cream cheese frosting at my summer outdoor wedding – can it be done?
Red Velvet is either something guests love or hate. I think the filling is what sells the cake, plus it’s really moist. I usually advise brides to pick at least one other flavour when it comes to their wedding cake. Because the filling contains cream cheese, and your cake will be outdoors might I suggest you have a display cake outside and the real cake inside an air conditioned venue/kitchen? You don’t want to make your guests ill, and cream cheese + heat do not make a great mix. Display cakes can be made using styrofoam dummies. The real cake can be kept in the kitchen to be served by the caterer on site for optimum safety.
Why is my fondant covered red velvet cake oozing cream cheese everywhere and melting? My cake is ruined and no matter how cold I keep it the filling runs out and under the fondant.
Whenever you use a filling such as cream cheese, you need to pipe a solid dam of swiss meringue to hold in the filling. Cream cheese melts fast and will ruin your beautiful work if you don’t pipe a dam first to contain the filling! Never cover a cake in cream cheese frosting and expect fondant to cover it without looking lumpy and a mess. Although brides will argue they want all cream cheese frosting, might I suggest showing them some examples from Cake Wrecks? :-p There is a reason we crumb coat all of our cakes no matter the filling with a plain vanilla buttercream on the outside – it keeps everything in, and it will stay solid in order to be covered in fondant and avoid any red velvet soup cake disasters.
No one will taste the difference, cream cheese is plenty powerful to overpower the very small amount of flavouring you would get from a Swiss Meringue Buttercream covering the cake and creating a dam. I promise you, and brides everywhere to trust this advice. We did the same for Brad & Katies wedding cake last Spring – despite the heat and humidity plus 1 1/2 hour delivery time, the cake stayed solid and kept it’s shape – no buldging! All of the guests raved about the taste.
Have any questions? Post them here or email us and we’ll answer them in the blog! Have a Sweet Day!