Red Velvet Project I

This is one of many projects I’m currently in the middle of. Perfecting the Red Velvet Cupcake. I’ve actually only started this two months ago when I first attempted to make the famous cupcake flavor. I label this as my ‘first’ red velvet project since I wasn’t able to document the initial trial back in May. As for my other projects– finding the best lemon (curd) cupcake recipe, mastering the art (actually science) of bread making, consuming my current kitchen pantry inventory, etc.– well, those are still in progress. I am starting to think I should create an ACTUAL note of these projects rather than a mental one. As someone with OCD tendencies, lists are my life. There’s just no way for me to function without them.

The first time I made red velvet cupcakes, I made the cupcakes according to two recipes that I’ve adapted based on the comments I’ve read. The first one was Paula Deen’s red velvet cupcakes. Common complaints from the recipe: too oily, lacked taste and texture was not as moist. So I found another recipe that used butter instead of vegetable oil and used more cocoa powder. That is pretty much how I tweaked and merged the two recipes but I wasn’t satisfied since it still lacked flavor, the cupcakes were still a little greasy and the texture wasn’t as expected either.

unfrosted cupcakes

So two months later and several red velvet cupcake recipes bookmarked, I go back to my project and test yet another recipe. This one caught my eye because it used a lot less vegetable oil and a lot more cocoa powder. I figured since texture, greasiness and flavor were the usual sensitive elements, this would be the perfect recipe. And was it?? Well, it was a BETTER one. But NOT PERFECT. I really don’t know how to explain it but there’s just still something missing. These cupcakes turned out great texture wise since it was a batch of very moist, fluffy cupcakes. Color was lovely and vibrant as well. But analyzing the flavor component of it, it was definitely lacking something. Was it the cocoa powder? Does the vinegar really make a difference in adding that extra tang? Or does that come from the buttermilk. I’m not really sure as of yet. These were delicious cupcakes nonetheless and worth making again. Oh and one thing I realized, always make LESS frosting. These cream cheese frosting recipes make way too much. I suggest doing just a quarter of the recipes unless you plan to slather it on other things (banana bread, carrot cakes.. yumm)

NOTES SO FAR ON RED VELVET PROJECT:
1. more cocoa the better (actually, this depends on preference. I personally like the cocoa taste.)
2. use of vegetable oil: too much turns out greasy, just right comes out moist
3. use of butter: nice denser cake but not as fluffy
4. buttermilk: increased amounts may promote a moister cupcake, does this add to the flavor?
5. cake flour is better than all purpose (remains to be proven though)
6. what is the perfect ratio of these ingredients??? NO IDEA.

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