Tonight I really feel thankful for a lot of things. I should be thankful always, really, because there are so many things that I am blessed with. A joyful family who loves me just the way I am. Loving friends who are just where I left them when we finally meet again. Being part of a church with so much love and excitement to see one another grow! And even the everyday and not so everyday gifts I have in life.
But being thankful isn't just about the good stuff in life. True thanksgiving is even about the rainclouds and thunderstorms. Because by those moments, it shapes who we are now. So I am thankful for them too. I realized today that during the times that are harder, I am actually more lucky. The fact that during those difficult moments I can have faith in myself, in God, in the people around me, is more meaningful and incredible than having an easy and happy life. So I am ever grateful that I am still standing, no matter the circumstance.
Today I would also like to celebrate my friend Minsoo's birthday! Happy Birthday, baby! You'll always have a special spot in my heart! ;) I hope you have an exciting year with lots of adventures and victories! Love you and I'll be praying for you!
Okay okay, now that I got the ooey-gooey stuff and birthday shoutouts done, let's talk about these red velvet cupcakes. It's a new recipe: I thought it was about time for me to try another one. I saw this on Martha Stewart a while back where the guest was famous in the South for her red velvet cake. She actually doesn't put any cocoa powder in it at all -- she likes it brilliant red. Plus instead of butter, she uses vegetable oil, which I think gave it a pretty fluffy texture. Great!
BUT! These cupcakes are proof that I am still such a novice baker. Everything was really easy and great except: these babies aren't so cuppy-sized at all!! I made them ginormously giant-sized. And totally my fault. When I was diving the batter, I used my usual ice cream scoop but the batter being more watery, it seemed to scoop a lot more than usual. So most of the cups were filled like 90% to the top! It should be around 2/3 full, and even though I knew it looked very wrong, I just went with it anyway. Bad idea. They turned out huge, awkward and with big crusty muffin-tops. Hahaha!
I also tried to be a little rebellious and decided to squeeze in some cocoa powder... which I don't think was the best idea. I used dutch processed cocoa (cuz that's the only kind I had at home), but apparently dutch processed cocoa isn't good for red velvet cakes because of the counter acidity and such and such.. which just means that it results in a less brilliant red. The cake in Martha Stewart's recipe is a bright deep red, but mine was a blotchy pink. Heeehee. Hey but it's all about experimenting and learning, right?
But don't get me wrong. They tasted wonderful and it had a great crumb. I will definitely use this recipe again. The people at the party loved it and once again I somehow made it look like I was an expert baker. :P No way! I've got such a looong way to go and I'm enjoying every bit of it!
Red Velvet Cupcakes
2 dozen normal sized cupcakes
from Martha Stewart
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole buttermilk
2 1/2 tablespoons red food coloring
Cream Cheese Frosting
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake tins. Set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour and baking soda. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla. With an electric mixer, beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix on low speed just until flour has been incorporated. Slowly add buttermilk. Add food coloring, and beat to combine.
3. Divide batter among cupcake tins; each about 2/3 full. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Remove the pans to a rack to cool.
4. When completely cooled, frosting with cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
for 2 dozen normal sized cupcakes
1 stick butter
8-oz cream cheese
3 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until well mixed. Add vanilla extract. Sift in 1 cup of confectioner's sugar and beat until combined. Then sift in the remaining sugar and mix until consistency is smooth and thick, about 7 minutes.