Sensual Valentine’s Day Red Velvet Cup Cakes

Red Velvet Valentine's treatOur special Valentine’s recipe is from Liz Bell, our regular baking contributor and owner of The Cookie Connection in Virginia. You can whip a batch up for your love, family, or friends to say Happy Valentine’s Day in a sweet way!

Here’s Liz:
I hope everybody is keeping warm and safe in this winter weather. If you are fortunate to live someplace warm during the winter, count your blessings. We here in northern Virginia and DC are still digging out from a three-day snow storm. 
I like to take advantage of this kind of weather to bake. When the weather is frightful outside, there is always something good baking in my house. Thinking of Valentine’s Day, I decided to bake some Red Velvet Cupcakes for my sweetheart. This is a wonderful recipe I found and wanted to share with you.
Red Velvet Cupcakes
Set the oven to 350 degrees.
Line two 12-cup muffin pans with 20 baking cups
“Mise en place” or gather and measure our ingredients and any bowls and utensils needed for this recipe
Ingredients needed
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ cup (1 stick) softened butter
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1½ teaspoons red icing color
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons water
1½ teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
Yield: About 20 standard cupcakes
In a medium bowl combine the all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder. Whisk dry ingredients together to ensure they are thoroughly combined, then set them aside.
In a large bowl cream the butter and granulated sugar. Beat with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, the red icing color, and the vanilla extract. Mix until icing color is well incorporated (scraping down sides of bowl as needed). Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture. Add the water and mix well.
In a small bowl, combine the white vinegar and baking soda: gently stir into cupcake mixture.
Spoon into the baking cups. Fill them cups about half to three-quarters full with the batter. Bake 20 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in a pan on a cooling rack for 5 to 8 minutes. Then, remove the cupcakes from the pan and cool completely.
Decorate as you wish. I chose a butter-cream icing and hearts. Get as creative as you want.
Below, is the recipe for the Butter cream icing.
Butter cream icing pure white icing
1 cup of shortening
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar. Sift, and then measure
2 tablespoons milk
This makes about 3 cups of icing. Unused icing can be refrigerated.
In a large bowl, cream the shortening and vanilla. Gradually add the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well at a medium speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl often. When all the sugar has been mixed in, the icing may appear dry. Add milk and beat at a medium speed until light and fluffy. The icing peaks should just fall over a little bit vs. standing up straight for stiff icing. If you need to make the icing thinner, add milk, a teaspoon at a time, until the desired consistency is achieved.
I hope you enjoy baking these cupcakes. Share them with all the special people in your life for Valentines Day!