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Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Valentien's Day Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting | recipe from runawayrice.comWith gorgeous red color, these super-moist and fluffy Red Velvet Cupcakes topped with luscious swirls of a cream cheese frosting are simply delicious. This recipe is just in time for Valentine’s Day and making these scrumptious cupcakes is the perfect way to pamper your special someone with a decadent, sweet treat.  After all, who doesn’t love cupcakes?! 🙂

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

If you don’t have cake flour, make your own by sifting together 2 cups all-purpose flour + 1/2 cup corn starch.

Use a mild vegetable oil like soybean or canola.

If using gel food coloring, add just 1/2 tsp as it’s more concentrated than the liquid food coloring.

Don’t over-mix the batter.  This will lead to dense and heavy cupcakes.

After adding the baking soda and vinegar, work quickly to transfer the batter into the pans and then into the oven. Don’t let the batter sit too long or the cupcakes will deflate.

This recipe is generous and there will be some leftover batter. Resist the urge to fill-up the cups as they will overflow during baking.  Fill the cups just two-thirds full.

The secret to moist cupcakes is to not over-bake them; 20 minutes is all it takes. Also, as soon as they are cool enough to handle, remove the cupcakes from the pan so they don’t continue baking.

At the end of the day, refrigerator any remaining cupcakes in an air-tight container. Cupcakes can also be frozen for up to 2 months.

Watch the video below for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Sponge Cake (Banh Bong Lan).

Ingredients

for the Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups cake flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 Tbsp red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

for the Cream Cheese Frosting
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

Line two cupcake pans with baking cups.  Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sift the cake flour, cocoa powder and salt into a medium bowl.  Stir to combine.

In a stand mixer, add the sugar and vegetable oil and whisk together on Medium High speed until combined, approximately 15-20 seconds.  Add one egg to the mixture and whisk until incorporated, approximately 10 seconds.  Add the second egg and whisk until incorporated.  Turn off the mixer.

Add the vanilla extract and red food coloring.  Starting on Low speed and gradually increasing to Medium speed, whisk for 15 seconds or until evenly combined.

Add one-third of the flour mixture, approximately 1 cup, along with half of the buttermilk and mix on Low speed until most of the dry ingredients are incorporated.  Add another third of the flour mixture, the remaining buttermilk and continue whisking.  Add the remaining flour mixture and whisk together.  Stop the mixer and scrape around the bowl working in the remaining dry ingredients.  Whisk for another 10 seconds.

In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and vinegar. Pour into the batter and whisk together on Medium speed for 10 seconds.

Use an ice cream scoop or batter pen to transfer the batter into the cups, filling each two-thirds full.

Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick and making sure it comes out clean.

Remove the pans from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and allow to cool for another 30 minutes.

Sift the confectioners sugar into a large bowl.

In a stand mixer, whisk the cream cheese and butter on Medium speed until fluffy, approximately 2-3 minutes.

On Low speed, confectioners sugar, 1 cup at a time, and mix together until the sugar is fully incorporated.  Stop the mixer and scrape around the bowl working in any remaining sugar.

Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract. Whip the frosting on Medium High speed until fluffy, approximately 15 seconds.

Frost the cupcakes using an offset spatula.  Alternatively put the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a decorator’s tip and frost the cupcakes.

Yields: 24 cupcakes

Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

Luscious Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting | recipe from runawayrice.com*This post contains affiliate links.*

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Cotton Cheesecake / Japanese Cheesecake

Light and fluffy yet creamy and decadent. This is the perfect combination of sponge cake and cheesecake!

This is my new favorite dessert and after you try this recipe it will become your favorite too.  It’s the perfect combination of sponge cake and cheesecake in both taste and texture.  What I also love about this cake is that it’s not overly sweet as some cakes can be.  The combination of fluffy cake with creamy and slightly tart cream cheese is absolutely heavenly and I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as I do.  Please note this recipe can be a bit tricky.  Please watch the video and follow the steps exactly.  Happy Baking!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

As the cream cheese, eggs and butter need to be at room temperature, advanced planning is required. About 2 hours before making the cake, remove the cream cheese and butter from the refrigerator.  About 1 hour before take the eggs out of the fridge.  The cream cheese and butter should be soft and spreadable for this recipe.  If these ingredients are not quite ready, pop them in the microwave on Low power for about 15-20 seconds.

Eggs are easiest to separate when they are cold.  Egg whites are best beaten at room temperature to achieve the fluffiest texture.   You can separate the eggs while they are cold and then let them come to room temperature as you prep the remaining ingredients for the recipe.

I am using an 8-inch round X 3-inch high springform pan.  If using a pan that is less than 3 inches high, line the pan so the parchment paper extends about 2 inches above the pan.  The parchment paper wall provides support since the cake rises to about 3 inches tall during baking.  Keep the paper to no more than 4 inches tall. Too much paper will prevent the top of the cake from browning nicely.

The water bath is essential for keeping the cake moist.  As the cake bakes for longer than the typical cake, the water bath is crucial.  Additionally the water bath insulates the cake and allows it to cook at a consist temperature.  These factors are important for achieving the fluffy and moist texture for the cake.

Be sure to fold the egg whites into the batter.  Do not beat or mix vigorously as this will deflate the egg whites. (If you’re not familiar with the fold technique, check out how I do it in the video.)

As oven temperatures vary, check to see if the cake is done (using a toothpick) after 1 hour of baking.  Then bake the cake until the top is golden brown.  This is one recipe where over-baking the cake is ok.  You won’t ruin the cake!  Depending on your oven it may take up to 1 1/2 hours.  Again, this is just fine.

If your cake cracks on top, the heat is too high or the cake is too close to the heating element.  Make note of this and adjust these things the next time.

This cake will shrink (about 1/2 an inch or so) after cooling so please don’t despair.  Leaving the cake in the oven after it’s done baking helps to minimize some of the deflating.

Refrigerate the cake for at least 4 hours before eating.  The cold sets the cream cheese and greatly improves the flavor and texture.

Watch the video below for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Sponge Cake (Banh Bong Lan) and Orange Chiffon Cake with Edible Flowers.

Ingredients

8 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 cup milk
5 large eggs (room temperature)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar + 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch

8-inch round springform pan

Directions

Line the bottom and sides of the springform pan with parchment paper.  Wrap the springform pan with several sheets of foil, sealing it completely.

Fill a large baking pan halfway with water.  Place it in the oven on the lowest rack.  Preheat the oven to 315 degrees Fahrenheit.

Separate the eggs and place the egg whites into a mixing bowl and the yolks into a measuring cup.

Beat egg whites on Low speed for 30 seconds.  Increase the speed to Medium Low and beat for another 30 seconds or until foamy.   Add the cream of tartar.  Increase the speed to Medium High and beat until the egg whites just start to thicken.  Add 1/4 cup of sugar gradually.  Continue beating until the egg whites reach the soft peaks stage, approximately 3 minutes using a stand mixer.

In a separate bowl add the cream cheese and milk.  Mix on Low speed until creamy and smooth (approximately 2-3 minutes.)  Add the butter, sugar and lemon juice and beat for 1 minute.  Add the flour and cornstarch and mix for another minute.  Finally add the egg yolks and mix for 1 more minute.  Strain the batter using a sieve.

Add 1/3 of the egg whites and gently fold into the batter until mostly incorporated.  Add another 1/3 and gently fold.  Add the remaining 1/3 and gently fold.

Pour the batter into the lined springform pan.  Spread the batter evenly into the pan and smooth out the top using a spatula.  Holding the sides of the pan, gently lift and drop the pan on the counter about 6 times to remove any big air bubbles.

Place the springform pan into the water bath and bake the cake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Check the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake.  It should come out clean.  Bake the cake for an additional 10-15 minutes to brown up the top.

Turn off oven, open the oven the door slightly (about 2-3 inches) and let the cake cool in the oven for 1 hour.

Remove cake from the pan.  Place on a plate and refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Serve with fresh fruit, fruit puree, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, etc.

Yields: 8 servings

Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

    

Simply Amazing Japanese Cotton Cheesecake | recipe from runwayrice.com*This post contains affiliate links.*

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Summer Fruit Salad

Summertime is my favorite time of the year for many reasons but what I love most is the abundance of fresh fruits.  It seems during the warmer months, I reach for fruit to cool, quench and satisfy my (constant) sweet tooth.  This dessert is as easy as it gets and is the perfect sweet treat to round out any summer meals.  You can use any fruit in this recipe so feel free to add what you like!

When I can’t find my favorite fresh fruits, I’ll check the freezer section of my Asian grocery store.  If I can’t find the frozen variety, my last resort is to used the canned versions.  As most of the canned fruits are packed in heavy syrup, they are super sweet. So what I do is rinse the fruit with cold water before using.  If you enjoy all that sugar, just drain the liquid well before you make your fruit salad.  Enjoy!

Watch the video below for directions.

Ingredients

1 cup chopped mangoes
1 cup chopped rambutan
1 cup chopped honeydew melon
1 cup chopped lychees
1 cup chopped jackfruit

1 cup cold whipping cream
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
2 Tbsp coconut milk
2 Tbsp whipped cream cheese

Directions

Chop fruit into small pieces and add into a large bowl.

In a stand or hand mixer, add the cold cream and whip on high for 1-2 minutes until soft peaks form.  Add the sugar, coconut milk and cream cheese.  Whip together for another minute.  Fold the whipped cream mixture into the fruit.  (Reserve a little bit of the cream to use as a topping if desired.)   Cover and chill in refrigerator or at least one hour.

To serve, spoon into dessert bowls or martini glasses.  Garnish with more whipped cream and mint.

Yields: 6 cups

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