It’s getting to be that time of year again when everyone’s minds supposedly turn to love, and everything starts looking pink and red. Unless you’re in Norway, of course, where everything is still white and frosty, and everyone’s minds continue to fixate on summer (and where many people don’t observe our great day of love). Many Norwegians joke that we have two seasons in this region: winter and not winter. And I think that about adequately sums it up. We’re well into the first part of February, but we’ve continued to get snow the last few days, although oddly enough that means that it’s warmer rather than colder here. So as my American mind turns to all things lovey dovey this time of year, I’ll warm my cold Norwegian nights with some delicious goodies baked with love.
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
Yields 12 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
4 tbsp. (57 grams) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup sour cream
A few drops red gel food coloring OR 3 tbsp. red food coloring
For the frosting:
2 1/2 sticks (300 grams) butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
3-5 tbsp. milk
Start by preheating your oven to 350* Fahrenheit (175* Celsius) and lining your cupcake pan(s) with liners. In a large bowl, cream your butter on high until smooth, then add the granulated sugar. Mix the butter and sugar until the mixture becomes smooth again (about a couple minutes). Add the egg and mix until everything is well incorporated. Add the vanilla extract, baking soda, and cocoa powder. Mix until a smooth mixture forms and there are no lumps (particularly of the cocoa powder). Add half of the milk (1/4 cup) and mix until it’s well incorporated into the batter, then do the same with half of the flour (1/2 cup). Add the sour cream and the rest of the milk, again mixing until it’s full integrated with the batter. Add the last 1/2 cup of flour and mix. Once the batter is well mixed and lump free, add the food coloring. I used a few drops of red gel food coloring, but you can also use regular food coloring if you don’t have the gel available or don’t want to buy it. Pour the batter into your lined pan(s) and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
While the cupcakes bake you can prepare the frosting. Given the chocolately nature of the cupcakes, I chose to frost mine with a simple vanilla buttercream frosting, but you can easily substitute a different frosting if you prefer. To make the vanilla buttercream, cream the butter in a medium bowl on high until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and powdered sugar, and mix until the frosting returns to a smooth, thick mixture. Add the milk, a few tablespoons at a time, to thin the frosting to a more workable consistency. Spoon into a piping bag and frost the cooled cupcakes with a tip of your choosing.
Cupcake recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker