I tend to stick to pareve desserts for most of the year – it’s just easier when it comes to Shabbat meals and often during the week.
But Shavuot – that is the time to dream of rich cheesecakes, sweet blintzes and decadent danishes. I certainly have grand cheesecake plans for this year, it is also nice to indulge in a touch of dairy desserts without going overboard. These red velvet cupcakes, with a sweet and creamy frosting, hit the spot.
The red velvet craze is still strong in many bakeries and restaurants – and once you try these you’ll find out why. With a chocolate flavor that is pronounced but not overpowering, and a pleasant tang from the buttermilk, these are a unique dessert. If you don’t keep buttermilk on hand, you can make your own by mixing ½ cup milk with ½ teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar, and letting it stand for 10 minutes.
*Note: Once the cupcakes are frosted they should be kept in the fridge, but removed at least an hour before serving to come to room temperature.
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting:
2/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons red food coloring or 1/3 teaspoon red gel food coloring dissolved in 2
tablespoons of water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2/3 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon white vinegar
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat the oil and sugar together until well blended. Add in the egg and beat until combined, then mix in the food coloring. Add in the vanilla.
Gradually mix in half the flour, then half the buttermilk, then the remaining flour, cocoa and salt, then the remaining buttermilk.
In a small dish, mix the baking soda and vinegar together (hello, 7th grade science class), then add to the batter and beat for 10 seconds.
Divide the batter evenly among paper-lined cupcake cases. The recipe makes about 12 cupcakes.
Bake at 350 F for 18 to 22 minutes, until test done. Let cool.
Beat the cream cheese and butter together until well blended. Add in the sugar and beat to combine. Add in the vanilla. Refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes before using. Spread or pipe on to cupcakes.