One Last Baking Endeavor Before I Set Sail for Spain…

Yep, you read correctly. I’m going to Spain on Sunday for four months!! While most students these days seem to feel as though studying abroad is a right of passage, I look at it more as a great privilege. I will have the privilege to travel across Europe, experience culture, art, language and, oh yeah, FOOD, of so many different countries I expect to be begging to come back to America for a nice hearty hamburger by the time I’m through. Thanks to José Andrés, I’ve fallen in love with Spanish food, and I can’t wait to get my hands on some authentic comida. I will hopefully blog about my travels as much as possible, but I couldn’t leave without sharing one last all-American recipe: red velvet cupcakes.

This first time I had Magnolia Bakery’s red velvet cupcakes I was in heaven. The first time I baked Magnolia Bakery’s red velvet cupcakes I was stunned that I could recreate something so perfect, and so true to the original. I want to share that experience with you.

After weeks of pretty decent weather considering both the month and my place of residence (Cleveland, Ohio), it finally decided to snow today. As I am doing my last minute shopping, running around and saying bye to friends and family, I decided to wind down tonight, stay in and take the last opportunity I’ll have to bake for four months. I’m not expecting to find cupcakery’s every five miles in Europe like you do in America these days, and I’m definitely not expecting to find any red velvet cupcakes, at least not the ones as good as Magnolia’s (or Sprinkle’s or Baked & Wired, or White Flower Cake Shoppe for that matter).

What I like about my version of these cupcakes is they stick to the more classic combo: red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. Magnolia frosts theirs with vanilla buttercream, but for me, the cream cheese frosting is, well, the icing on the cake! For anyone who loves a good cupcake, is a fan of Magnolia Bakery, or just has an aching sweet tooth, this one’s for you. Adios for now!

INGREDIENTS (makes 24 cupcakes)

for the cupcakes

3 ½ cups cake flour

¾ cup softened unsalted butter

2 ¼ cups sugar

3 large eggs

6 tablespoons red food coloring (roughly 3 bottles)

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 ½ cups buttermilk

1 ½ teaspoons cider vinegar

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda


for the frosting

½ lb (1 8-oz package) cream cheese, softened and cut into small pieces

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces

¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ½ cups sifted confectioners’ sugar



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Grease and line cupcake sheets with cupcake tins. In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside.

Spraying the pan- even if you use cupcake liners- is VERY important. I learned the hard way.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, on medium speed, about five minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.

In another small bowl, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts, alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. In another small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula. Using an ice cream scoop, spoon out batter into cupcake trays. Bake for 20 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool before frosting.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth, on medium speed, for about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat well. Gradually add the sugar, one cup at a time, beating continuously until smooth and creamy. Cover and refrigerate icing for up to 3 hours before using.


brings me right back to NYC...


Making Use of What’s Left

So as I embark on my bake sale adventure, I have bought an abundance of baking ingredients with most of them only serving a function for one or two recipes (i.e. peanut butter chips, a large bag of m&m’s and buttermilk). I’ve been trying to be economical in my recipe hunting, which is the reason these babies came into existence.

Chocolate buttermilk cupcakes with whipped cream. They made use of a ridiculous amount of cocoa powder and my leftover buttermilk and heavy cream from red velvet cupcakes. While the recipe is more or less not mine, the size of the cupcakes are and so is the fact that they are topped with plain whipped cream, rather than mint-infused. They look as moist as they taste, but they are still fluffy and light, thanks in part to the cloud-like whipped topping. For the full recipe, click here. Here is my take.

INGREDIENTS (makes 24 cupcakes)

for the cupcakes:

3/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

7 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (i told you it was a lot)

3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

7 tablespoons buttermilk

1 large egg

1 large egg white

for the whipped cream:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 mini 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

With an electric mixer, combine cocoa and 5-7 tablespoons hot water until a thick paste forms (this process intensifies the chocolate flavor).

Add butter, buttermilk, egg, and egg white; beat until combined. Whisk in flour mixture until smooth.

Scoop batter into prepared tin. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 10 minutes.

Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

In a food processor or with an electric mixer, whip cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Top cooled cupcakes with whipped cream and enjoy.