Monday, June 18, 2012

How to Bake Red Velvet Cupcakes (with a surprising topping)

Tangy Raspberry Cream Cheese and Mascarpone Topping

For some reason, Red Velvet Cake is my son's favorite type of cake.  I don't get it.  I like fluffy light cakes, whereas red velvet seems moist, dense and errrr kinda springy.  But it's his birthday next month and I wanted to test out a recipe for red velvet cupcakes before the big day so that's how I wound up writing today's post.

To top that, I was hankering to try out a old fashioned syrup I bought months ago from the Pennsylvania General Store.  It is called Raspberry Shrub and I must confess I bought it because of its oddball name.  Raspberry Shrub is the old fashioned name for Raspberry Vinegar and is probably better known as the drink, also called Raspberry Shrub.  Bon Appetit ran the recipe for this summery drink recently and suggested switching out the sparkling water for Prosecco for special occasions.  

Raspberry Shrub

I was in the mood to mess around in the kitchen so whilst I followed a tried and tested recipe for the red velvet cupcakes (Paula Deen's recipe on the Food Network website) I decided to experiment with the icing.

I adore the combination of whipped cream cheese, mascarpone and powdered sugar in lieu of buttercream icing on cupcakes (I find buttercream too dense and the buttery taste is a little overpowering...) so as usual I started to improvise.

Raspberry Mascarpone Cream Cheese Icing
1 x 8oz tub of mascarpone cheese
4oz of whipped cream cheese (this is much easier to work with)
3 heaped tbsps of powdered sugar
1/4 - 1/3 cup of raspberry shrub (taste as you go along to decide how sharp you like the icing)
Fresh raspberries to decorate

Directions:  Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and beat on a medium speed until well blended.   Ice completely cooled cupcakes, and refrigerate them until ready to eat.   Set them out at room temperature for 30 minutes before you plan to consume them!

NB:  Again my son and I had a major disagreement about how sweet the cupcake topping needed to be.  I like the tart tangy-ness of the cream cheese; he prefers pretty sweet things.  So we compromised.  I added extra powdered sugar to his icing and even dusted the top of the cakes with additional sugar to be on the safe side. 

I kept mine pristine.  My cupcakes have a subtle bite.

Raspberries are at their best right now.  This raspberry icing does them justice too.

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