Red Velvet delights for Valentine’s Day

When it comes to Valentine’s Day the color red is everywhere, symbolizing joy, passion, and love.  In honor of that, this week’s recipes are two takes on red velvet.  Red Velvet Cake has long been a Southern classic, but these recipes take a slightly different spin on them. 

Cupcake CEC WEB 

Red Velvet Cupcakes
This recipe is based on Paula Deen’s recipe.  The Lady knows her Southern cooking, there is no doubting that!  To really increase the oomph of this dish, use the highest quality cocoa powder you can, with organic cocoa being the best.  The difference will surprise you.

2 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups high quality butter, melted, or vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs
2 TB red food coloring
1 tsp white distilled vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Icing:
1 pound cream cheese, softened at room temperature
2 sticks butter, softened at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups sifted powdered sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line 24 muffin cups with cupcake papers.
2. In a mixing bowl, blend together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Next, gently mix in the melted butter or vegetable oil, eggs, red food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla extract.  Mix together until thoroughly combined.
3. Pour batter into the cupcake papers, filling approximately two-thirds the way full.  These will rise while baking! 
4. Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, turning the pans halfway through.  Insert a toothpick in the center when they come out to test for doneness.  Allow to completely cool while making the icing.

To Make the Cream Cheese Icing:
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.
2. Use a pastry bag with a large star tip to pipe the icing onto the cupcakes.
3. Garnish with your choice of chopped nuts, fresh strawberries, drizzled chocolate, or Valentine’s sprinkles.


Red Velvet Pancakes
This is a unique and upscale twist on your more traditional red velvet recipes.  While still decadent enough to be red velvet it is refined enough to be served for breakfast or brunch, or anytime of the day you choose to truly treat yourself with pancakes! 

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
3 TB sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
1 large egg
¾ cup buttermilk
¼ cup half & half
2 TB red food coloring
3 TB unsalted butter, melted

Mascarpone Glaze:
½ cup mascarpone cheese
¼ half & half
2 TB sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp lemon zest

1. Prepare the batter by first blending together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and cocoa powder in a large bowl.  Next, add in the egg, buttermilk, half & half, red food coloring, and butter.  Blend well, stirring until only small lumps remain.  If batter is too thick, add more buttermilk.
2. Pre-heat a lightly oiled griddle over medium high heat.  Drop batter by large spoonfuls (a ¼ cup measuring cup works wonders here) onto the griddle.  Cook until bubbles begin forming in the center and edges begin drying, then flip, cooking until browned on the other side.
3. Make the Mascarpone Glaze by whisking together the mascarpone cheese, half & half, sugar, vanilla extract and lemon zest until smooth. 
4. Top pancakes with glaze before serving.

Article By Carrie E. Cox

Red Velvet heart shaped pancakes cooking on the griddle.  - Photo by Carrie E. Cox
Red Velvet heart shaped pancakes cooking on the griddle. - Photo by Carrie E. Cox