Monday, February 14, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Every Valentine's my mom would make my grandma's Waldorf Red Cake in the shape of a heart. We looked forward to this cake every year. The past few months, my husband's not been eating any meat, dairy or eggs, and I don't need a whole cake to myself, so I started looking at cupcakes to scale down and share. For cakes, I like butter better, but for cupcakes, it seems like oil helps it stay together a little better. They're so small, they dry out pretty quickly on their own, and less mess is always nice.

Then out of curiosity, I thought I'd compare a vegan recipe with a traditional one. I used the Crimson Velveteen Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and an adaptation of Bakerella's red velvet cake that looked so moist, it'd have to be good for cupcakes. The Crimson Velveteen are a vegan recipe, but I just used my standard pantry, so mine aren't actually vegan. I didn't have liquid food coloring, so for both I subbed about 1/4 tsp Wilton no-taste red gel paste. Clearly 1/4 tsp isn't enough color for either recipe!

The vegan Crimson Velveteen had a
lot of cocoa for a red velvet recipe - 2Tb for 12 cupcakes - and a lot of vanilla - 2tsp. Most recipes I've seen for this scale would use 1/2-1TB cocoa. So even with more food coloring, I don't think these would ever be red. They had a great shape, not too domed. I'm always amazed with the vegan recipes that they can rise without any eggs. They were very vanilla and very moist. Almost too moist for me, but I usually like a little drier cake, I guess. Next time, I'll cut back the cocoa to probably 1/2TB and then also try cutting back the oil to maybe 1/4 c.

I made a half batch of the traditional recipe and cut the oil back to 1/2 c (from 3/4c). The traditional had a finer crumb and had more body. They were also sweeter, which seemed strange since they had the same proportion of flour-sugar.

So I don't think either recipe was perfect, but with some variations, I'm sure I'll use both again!

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