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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day: A Tongue-in-Cheek Perspective

The St. Valentine's Day Massacre remains the most notorious gangster killing of the Prohibition era, making Al Capone a national celebrity and since then plowing down innocent men who forget the significance that women put on this "greeting card" holiday.

Here's my tongue-in-cheek take on Dia de Amor.
You know what they say about gin, right?

Nothing says, "I love you" like a bouquet of steak flowers.

What's better than some Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting for Valentine's Day? This recipe hit my inbox on Friday [sorry, I don't know whom to credit for the recipe]. 

I have to say they were pretty, pretty good.

Cupcake Ingredients
• 1 1/2 cups of sugar
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, room temperature
• 2 eggs, room temperature
• 2 1/3 cups of cake flour
• 2 tablespoons of Dutch-processed cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon of baking soda
• 1 teaspoon of baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon of salt
• 1 cup of buttermilk*
• 1 1/2 tablespoons of red food coloring
• 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon of distilled white vinegar

Frosting Ingredients
• 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), room temperature
• 8 oz of Philly cream cheese (1 package), room temperature
• 2 - 3 cups of powdered sugar
• 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
*You can make your own buttermilk by adding a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar to milk and letting it stand for about 10 minutes.


The Cupcakes
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixer for 3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy.

2 Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

3 In a large bowl, sift together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla extract, and red food coloring.

4 Add a fourth of the dry ingredients and mix, then add a third of the wet. Continue adding in a dry, wet, dry pattern, ending with the dry ingredients.

5 Scoop into cupcake papers, about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Rotate the pan after the first 15 minutes of baking to ensure even baking.

6 Allow to cool for one minute in the pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

The Frosting
1 Cream the butter and cream cheese together, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

2 Add the vanilla extract and mix.

3 Add the powdered sugar, continually taste to get to desired sweetness.

Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes.