Cake is not my calling. I love to entertain with miniature cupcakes, but cookies and brownies are how I prefer to consume my calories. The bridal shower I attended a few weeks ago was co-hosted by a graduate of the pastry program at the French Culinary Institute. She so modestly said she worked for a caterer in Westchester. Later her sister in-law informed us it was Abigail Kirsh, a leading caterer in New York. She hasn’t baked professionally since her children were born, but it must be like riding a bike. Her red velvet cupcakes were AMAZING. They could easily land a place on my top 10 dessert list for 2009. The frosting (again not a frosting girl, typically) was delicious! Cream Cheese. MMMMMMMM.
I asked her if the recipe was secret, she uses Martha Stewart‘s recipe, but then added that she substitutes one ingredient. She did not offer it up, so I did not want to pry (Well, of course I wanted to, but I didn’t think it was polite.) Maybe I’ll see if my friend can find out.
Here is Martha Stewart’s recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes:
* 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
* 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted, plus more for pans
* 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 2 cups sugar
* 3 large eggs
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 2 one-ounce bottles liquid red food coloring
* 3 tablespoons lukewarm water
* 1 cup buttermilk
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 tablespoon white vinegar
* Cream Cheese Frosting for Red Velvet Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, and butter again. Dust with flour, and tap out the excess; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, cocoa, and baking powder; set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar, and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 15 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, salt, food coloring, and water; beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until well combined. Add reserved dry ingredients in additions, alternating with the buttermilk; beat on low speed until well combined.
3. In a small bowl, stir together baking soda and vinegar; add to batter. Beat on medium speed for 10 seconds. Be sure not to over beat. Divide batter between prepared pans, and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove pans from oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack; let stand until completely cool.
4. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes so surfaces are level. Place a layer on a cake stand or cardboard round, and spread about 1/3 of the frosting over top. Place the second layer on top, and spread with the remaining frosting over the tops and sides of assembled cake. Transfer to refrigerator, and chill until ready to serve.
What do you think she substituted?
Abigail Kirsch is the exclusive caterer to the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers. I am working a wedding there this evening. I am excited to sample her savory cuisine.
Photo credit: Flicker © 2005 Cheryl Porro