During this season's American Idol, a girl named Allison Iraheta (okay, just figured out how to do a hyperlink--very exciting) has moved all the way up to the Top Five. She's only 16 and had the funkiest pink/red hair that you have every seen. One of our local deejay's, Todd Chance, calls her "Red Velvet Cake Hair Girl." It makes me laugh.
But it also got me thinking about food, of course. And I decided that I had never eaten Red Velvet Cake before. What a travesty! But then our fabulous friend, Oprah, published a recipe for Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream in the February 2009 issue of the magazine. It's from a new cookbook called Baked and there is a Brooklyn pastry shop of the same name.
I had to try it. We are having friends over tomorrow night to play Guitar Hero World Tour (I am sure that will bring some stories!) and so in honor of Red Velvet Cake Hair Girl, I've been baking the cupcakes tonight.
It's been puzzling though as to why the recipe calls for cider vinegar! This is not an easy recipe to be sure, lots of separate bowls and special things to do. And oh my--so full of fat. Come on people, it uses buttermilk and shortening and butter...YUM. I will make the icing on Friday since I ran out of butter tonight. Yeah. Good for weight loss.
Anyway, I needed to know about the cider vinegar thing, so I googled it and this terrific article on the cake's history came up from the New York Times (I'm getting good at the hyperlinks!). I guess something about the combination of cocoa with the vinegar causes it to go red, then it is supplemented with red food coloring. My recipe called for 2T but I ran out, and so it only got half of that. Oh, well, I don't like to use red food coloring anyway. But the cakes are amazing!
A lovely little treat for a fun night.