When my husband and I were married, the top layer of our wedding cake was red velvet with a vanilla buttercream. As per tradition, we saved the top layer of our cake to share on our first anniversary. For twelve months, that cake has been taking up valuable real estate in our freezer. I admit that on several occasions of frenzied kitchen-purging-fever, I was tempted to dispose of our wedding cake in order to free up room in the freezer. But I resisted, knowing how disappointed my husband would be to learn that I had thrown out our wedding cake. That would have been pretty heartless.
On Sunday, one year after we were married, we finally defrosted our cake. We invited my husband's family over for dinner and needed to have a dessert on hand. They were coming to celebrate our anniversary as well as his birthday, which just so happen to be the same day. I had been worried that the cake would taste terrible, given that it had been in the freezer for so very long. Surely it would be stale, or bland, or freezer-burned. Surely, no one would want to eat year-old cake, right?
Boy, was I wrong. Everyone was really, really excited to eat our wedding cake. And it was still gosh-darn delicious. We'd wrapped the cake box in five layers of plastic wrap, and then covered it with two layers of aluminum foil. Honestly, although the frosting wasn't quite as fluffy as I remembered it, the cake and frosting still tasted wonderful.
But just in case the top layer of our wedding cake hadn't been worth eating, I also made a fresh batch of red velvet cupcakes. After all, I didn't want to known as the lady who served year-old wedding cake to her husband's family. And I'm so glad I experimented with making red velvet cupcakes because these beauties are awfully tasty. My husband and I agreed that we should enjoy these every year to celebrate our anniversary. They could be our favorite chocolate dessert for the sentimental significance alone. But on top of that, these red velvet cupcakes have a little something special: crème de cacao in the frosting. The crème de cacao is subtle and it complements the chocolate undertones in the cupcakes perfectly.
(click here for printable recipe)
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Crème de Cacao Frosting
(cupcakes adapted from Sweet Surprises, a cookbook compilation from California Home Economics teachers)
Red Velvet Cupcakes
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp. vinegar
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup + 2 Tbsp. buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. red gel food coloring (not liquid food coloring and not decorating gel)
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tin with paper liners.
2. Using a hand mixer, cream oil, sugar, and eggs in a large bowl. Add in vanilla, vinegar, and cocoa powder.
3. Beat in buttermilk and gel food coloring (do this carefully, as red food coloring will stain very easily)
4. In separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt. With a wooden spoon, add flour mixture to wet ingredients, in two or three additions. Stir just until combined.
5. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, pour cake batter into prepared muffin tin. Bake in preheated oven for 21-23 minutes. Cake tester should come out clean.
6. Cool on wire racks and frost as desired.
Crème de Cacao Frosting
1/2 cup + 2 tsp. crème de cacao (divided)
1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
5 cup sifted powdered sugar
1. In a small, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, heat 1/2 cup crème de cacao over low-medium heat. Simmer gently for 5-7 minutes, until reduced by half. Set aside and allow to cool
2. Using a hand mixer, cream butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
3. Add crème de cacao and beat until well mixed. Add 1 cup powdered sugar and mix on low speed, until well incorporated. Add remaining 2 tsp. crème de cacao, and mix on low speed until well incorporated. Mix in remaining powdered sugar, by the cupful. Once all powdered sugar has been added, increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy. Frost cupcakes as desired.
Yield: 24 cupcakes
Did you see that Roxana of Roxana's Home Baking is hosting a giveaway to celebrate an anniversary of her own? She invited her readers to participate in her chocolate party by submitting their favorite chocolate recipe. Since my husband and I loved these chocolate-y red velvet cupcakes so much, I've made them my submission to Roxana's chocolate party!
Bring your favorite chocolate dessert to Roxana’s home baking #chocolateparty and win amazing prizes from OXO, Calphalon, Keurig, Imperial Sugar, Honey Ridge Farmsand Land O Lakes® Butter