Red Velvet Cake: a New Summer Sensation
I’m a professional media consultant by day with a sprinkling of modeling thrown in and a nightlife consumed with writing and cooking…when the two personalities collided, I was asked to bring some cupcakes to my next party I’m promoting, this Sunday, for a TV Personality client. It’s an incredible opportunity to network in downtown Chicago (I was born in the suburbs and move around as the acclaimed modern-day gypsy I am…) so I am coming strong, and bringing the second-most delicious cupcake I have ever created on this fair earth (if only the party was in Pumpkin Season…but I digress).
It is the perfect summer treat, and a real twist on a Southern Classic: Red Velvet Cake. This, however, is no ordinary red velvet cake: it is filled with scrumptious strawberry morsels, and flavored with fresh strawberry puree and oranges. The cake is so moist and dense and very beautiful. I smother these cupcakes in a decadent fresh Strawberry-Orange cream cheese frosting that is finished with a hint of Organic Chocolate Extract instead of the usual Vanilla. At first taste, I saw my life flash before my eyes, and a small twinge of regret that I had not been inspired to create this treat earlier in my time.
Needless to say, I have not had a single man take one bite and not immediately demand the recipe. It’s become quite famous amongst friends and family, and a sure crowd-pleaser for Labor Day parties, too. Do you think I made a good choice?
For the Cake, You will need:
- 1 ounce red food coloring (2 oz. if you want it quite red)
- 3 Tablespoons cocoa (heaping)
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- ½ cup strawberries puree (directions below)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Zest and Juice from 2 Oranges (your preferred choice)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (I use unbleached)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup shortening
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup small chunks of strawberry diced into about 1 centimeter cubes
For the Frosting, You will need:
- 2 (8 0z. each) packs cream cheese, softened by being at room temperature 10-15 minutes but no longer
- ⅓ cup strawberries puree (directions below)
- Zest and Juice of one Orange
- 1 stick butter, softened by being at room temperature about 20 minutes
- 2 teaspoons Chocolate Extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
To Prepare Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- First, cut the greens off on package of strawberries.
- Pull about 4 or 5 beautiful strawberries out of the pile, and dice them up in 1 cm cubes, putting them into a small ramekin when you are done.
- Next, put the remaining strawberries in a food processor or blender with 1 teaspoon of vanilla and blend until smooth, pulsating just a few times, and making sure not to completely liquefy it, leaving small pieces of strawberry in the puree.
- Separate what you need for the cake and what you need for the frosting. There should be just enough. If not, sacrifice one of your strawberries used for chunks and add it to the puree.
- Next, make a paste with the Cocoa Powder, Red food coloring and Vinegar and set aside.
- Then, in a small mixing bowl, combine strawberries puree, Orange Juice and Zest, buttermilk and baking soda, whisking together to combine.
- In another small mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder.
- Combine the cocoa powder mixture and powdered sugar in a small dish.
- Line 2 12 cupcake pans with cupcake liners.
- Now, cream the shortening, sugar and eggs.
- Add food coloring/chocolate paste to the creamed mixture.
- Add buttermilk mixture, alternating with the flour mixture.
- Mix on medium speed for about two minutes, making sure to scrape and clean the sides on the bowl as you go.
- Measure batter into cupcake liners, about ⅔ full.
- Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Take cupcakes out of oven and place on a wire rack to cool 10 minutes in the pan, then remove them from the pans and cool on the wire racks completely.
To Prepare Frosting:
- Take Cream Cheese and butter and cream together.
- Next, add strawberry puree, orange juice, orange zest and chocolate extract. Next, add 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, making sure to stop the mixer and thoroughly scrape down the bowl sides and bottom before adding the next cup of powdered sugar.
- Do this until all 4 cups of sugar are incorporated into frosting. Serve immediately. Can be refrigerated up to 4 days.