The other night my mother called me. She had a question. She needed a frosting recipe and asked if I had a good one. She was baking a cake! She took me off guard. I was a little confused. I needed more information! It wasn’t the question about the frosting that stumped me, it was the fact that MY mother was baking a cake. My mother hasn’t baked a cake since 1978!!!
What was going on? Who’s birthday did I forget? What kind of a cake was she baking? Where did she get the recipe for the cake?
I should preface the story by explaining that my mother and I are two peas out of the same pod. We get a bee in our bonnet about a particular recipe, soup, vegetable, sauce, drink or in this case, a cake, and we become obsessed! What is the history? What will make the recipe the best possible recipe ever! We talk about it. We share it. If necessary we will serve it three days in a row, until it is out of our system, and then as quickly as we have become obsessed we loose interest. We drop it like a hot potato!
It all began when my mother’s friend (for the sake of anonymity we will call my mother’s friend Sylvia), showed up with a big slice of Red Velvet Cake. Sylvia loves Red Velvet Cake. It must be her southern roots that attract her to the cake and she orders it every time she goes to this Italian restaurant in South Boston. Yes, that is right, I said Italian restaurant in South Boston. Why Red Velvet Cake would be on the menu is beyond me but that is a question for another post.
Sylvia has been experimenting with Red Velvet. She too, along with her husband, What’s His Name, also gets a little obsessed over food. Anyway getting back to my mother, I guess her hillbilly roots came out the night Sylvia showed up with the cake and she started calling it Devil’s food. My mother has never heard of Red Velvet. Where she is from they have always called that kind of a cake Red Devil’s food. She also calls a roof, “a ruff” and you don’t wash your hands you “wush” them.
Well Sylvia and What’s his name invited my parents over for dinner a couple of days later and my mother decided that she was going to surprise Sylvia with a Devil’s food cake. That is where the phone call to me came in. It made me start thinking.. what is the difference between Red Velvet and a Devil’s food? I needed to find out. I had to try it myself! My goal was to create a very moist, tender cake that is every so slightly flavored with cocoa powder and blood red from massive amounts of food coloring! There are many takes on who invented the Red Velvet Cake. Some say it was created at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City during the 1920’s. From what I can tell there really isn’t much of a difference between the two cakes except maybe the addition of the red food coloring. Both cakes are made with cocoa powder and not melted chocolate.
So Sylvia and What’s his name, if you are reading this post get ready to taste MY take on Red Velvet Devil’s Food Cupcakes! I think I did a pretty good job!
Red Velvet Devil’s Food Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 tablespoons red food coloring
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper cups and set aside (makes 18 cupcakes)
In a mixing bowl combined flour, baking soda, baking powder and cocoa powder. Set aside.
In another mixing bowl with a hand beater or in the bowl of a stand mixer beat eggs, sugar canola oil, vinegar, and vanilla until light and fluffy about 2 minutes. Gradually add flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Add buttermilk and food coloring.
Divide batter evenly into cupcake cups about 2/3 of the way up. Bake 15-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely
Now you are ready to frost!
Frosting for Red Velvet Devils Food Cupcakes
1 stick butter
1 8oz package of Cream Cheese
1 pound of Confectioners’ Sugar
Beat until combined. Chill slightly if too soft.
For the devil’s horns I used a little rolling fondant colored black.
I cut out little triangles and then shaped them into horn using my fingers. I let them get hard over night.
You have a choice with the frosting. You could color the frosting red and pipe in on or you can do what I did and that is to give the frosting a very thin coat of red chocolate. I used the colored chocolate wafers. I melted it over a double boiler and then dipped the frosted cupcakes into the chocolate.
Then you just stick the horns into the cupcake and use a little royal icing to complete the eyes and pitch fork tail!