C-C-S-UUUUUUUU: Blue Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
This past weekend was Central Connecticut State University’s homecoming game, and since beginning this blog I knew that no matter what I was going to be baking Blue Velvet cupcakes in honor of the CCSU Blue Devils. What better way to show my pride than with blue cupcakes topped with white frosting?
Sadly the Blue Devils fell to our in-state rivals, the Sacred Heart Pioneers (whose colors happen to be red and white, so traditional red velvet cupcakes would have definitely been out of the question), 37-24. As a reporter up in the press box I could feel the heartache interviewing the players and Head Coach Jeff McInerney. Being a sports editor of the Recorder gives me access that most fans can only dream of, but it also takes away from some of my experiences.
For instance, I can’t fully tailgate, which is always a college right of passage. I have to remain professional and represent the paper in a good light, so when my peers are drinking from red cups and paper bags with white and blue painted faces I am dressed in black dress pants a nice top and accessorized by my CCSU Media Pass. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t give up what I do for the world, but this week I learned to compromise. Rather than tailgating to get in the homecoming spirit I baked!
I first saw the concept for a blue velvet cupcake on the FoodNetwork show, Cupcake Wars. In one episode the bakers were fighting for a chance to have their cupcakes displayed at a LA Kings hockey game (which automatically made it my favorite episode). To make a long story short, one of the cupcakes was a “black and blue” cupcake, which was a blue velvet cake with blackberry curd filling. I loved the idea for the Blue Devils, but I couldn’t see myself enjoying blackberry curd.
Instead I looked for a plain blue velvet cake, which I found on the blog, Sprinkle Bakes. What drew me to this cupcake recipe in particular was the coloring. From the research I had done, it seemed like the science of food coloring could be tricky. Too much and you could get teal…we’re the Blue Devils, not the Teal Devils, so that would be disastrous. The trick in this recipe was to not only add royal blue food coloring, but also a dab of violet to offset the reaction.
I couldn’t help but look at this batter and feel like I was mixing blue paint, but I can’t argue with the results. I had never made any type of velvet cake or cupcake before so as I was adding the baking soda and vinegar (yes, white vinegar) I felt like I was back in high school doing a science experiment, which isn’t a bad thing, because isn’t that what baking is anyway…experimentation?
Blue Velvet Cake (recipe adapted from Sprinkle Bakes)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 sticks butter- room temp– Again when they say room temperature they mean it, if the butter isn’t soft when you go to mix it with the sugar it’ll become clumpy rather than cream together. If the butter is still cold when you go to mix everything together feel free to soften them in the microwave.
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon Wilton Royal blue gel food coloring
- 1 dab Wilton violet gel food coloring
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line the cupcake tins with paper liners.
In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter, mix until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs 1 at a time and mix well after each addition.
Mix cocoa and food colorings together to form a paste before adding them to the mixture, and then add to sugar mixture; mix well.
Sift together flour and salt. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk.
Blend in vanilla. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar and add to mixture.
Pour batter into cupcake papers. Batter will be thick!
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
- 1 pound softened cream cheese (2 regular packages)
- 2 sticks softened butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups sifted confectionery sugar
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. Frost the cupcakes with a butter knife or pipe it on with a big star tip. Embellish as desired.
There is a reason as to why this particular cake is called velvet, because that is the best way to describe it. Not as sweet as a traditional vanilla or chocolate cake, the sweet cream cheese frosting compliments the cake nicely.
Check back next week, when I hope to have a profile of Wallingford, CT sweet spot, Mr. D’s!