The other day was my husband Mark's birthday. One of his favorite cakes is a red velvet cake, so being the loving wife that I am, I decided to make it for him. I decided that it would be nice to make cupcakes instead because, well, I think they are cooler :) Cupcakes are better than full cakes. They are the perfect portion, and you cant argue with that. Cupcakes rock. I pulled all of my mis en place together and made sure to check the ingredients lists for anything questionable. The only item that I was unsure about was the red food coloring. I'm just not down with the Modified Food Starch, so I kicked it out of the recipe...hence the name "Not-So-Red".
I wanted to make them special and a little bit different; something that he has never had before, so I thought it would be cool to incorporate a meringue disk inside the cupcakes. It's something that I learned in culinary school back in the day, and it is classic in a lot of European tortes to include meringue disks as a layer. Thinking about it a bit more, I decided that instead of splitting each cupcake to add a disk inside, I would use the meringue in place of the cream cheese frosting. I would make meringue "kisses" if you will. It was very simple, I measured the top of the muffin rounds with a corresponding round pastry cutter to find the right size. I then placed the cutter onto my silpat lined baking sheet and spooned the whipped egg whites into the cutter. I pulled the cutter off and used the back of a spoon to kind of mound a 'dollop' shape, or a 'kiss'. I then baked them off in a 200* oven until they dried out.
Once the cupcakes were baked and cooled, I cut the tops off to make a flat surface. I then spread just a bit of raspberry ganache on them, sort of as a glue if you will, and then I placed the meringues on the top. Voila! They turned out beautifully, and so delicious! It made for quite a nice dessert with different textures. Paired up with some ice cream and a few raspberries, it lightens it up quite nicely.
Not-So-Red Velvet Meringue Cupcakes
2 whole Eggs, room temp
1/2 C Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 1/4 C Sylvan Border Farms GF All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Xanthan Gum
1/2 C Butter
1 1/2 C Sugar (or Agave/sugar substitute)
1 tsp Vanilla
1 C Buttermilk (or soured milk)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp white Vinegar
1/2 tsp Salt
Preheat the oven to 350*. Sift together the flour, xanthan gum and salt. To make sure there is no lumps, it is very important that you don't skip the sifting part. Cream the butter and sugar together in a separate mixing bowl. Add the vanilla and then each egg, one at a time, until each is incorporated. Turning your mixer on low, add in the cocoa powder. Alternately add in the milk and flour, making sure to end on flour. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar, then add it into the batter. Mix thoroughly.
You will have enough batter to make 24 big cupcakes or 2- 9" cakes. You could also make 12 cupcakes and 1- 9" cake. Whatever combo you want :) The batter will be turbo thick...the vinegar has an effect on the eggs, and it begins to coagulate them fairly quickly, so be patient and work quickly while spooning them into your pans. Bake them for about 30 minutes or so. Depending on your altitude, it could take less or more time. I would check it after 20 or 25 minutes, and watch it after that.
*Cooks Note- If you have red food coloring that you would like to use, just mix a couple Tbsp in with the cocoa powder to make a paste and incorporate it into the batter as directed.
-recipe inspired by Ruth Lendrick, off of the Food Network site
1 1/2 # Milk chocolate
1 C Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 C Raspberry Jam
Place the chocolate into a large glass bowl. Bring the cream up to scalding on the stove, while mixing the jam into it. Once scalding, pour the cream/jam mixture over the chocolate. Let it sit there, without stirring for about 3-5 minutes. This is to allow the heat from the cream to melt the chocolate without incorporating air into it, and will create a more glossy and fine appearance to your ganache. Using a rubber scraper (spatula), gently and slowly stir the ganache together. Work in small circles, and do not incorporate air. Refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes,basically until your cupcakes are cooled.
4 Egg Whites
6 Tbsp Sugar
Using a mixer, beat the whites and sugar together until medium/stiff peaks are formed. Proceed by following the directions in description above.
*Cooks Note: Humidity will soften your meringues, so it is best to eat these the same day, unless you live in Nevada and it never rains. Then they will last for a few weeks! :)
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