In the spirit of full disclosure, I should probably begin saying that this recipe and post were born out of my snobbery and stubbornness. I’m loathe to make food that comes from boxes for the most part. Sure, I use canned tomatoes, beans and pumpkin, but I always have a preference for my own. Sometimes, I don’t have the foresight to make chili by soaking my own beans – the mood just sort of strikes me, and out come the canned beans. But certain things are just as easy to make from scratch as their boxed cousins – like cupcakes. It takes mere minutes to make cake batter and the frosting, and before you know it, you have lovely, decadent cupcakes waiting for you and your friends. And who doesn’t love homemade frosting?
Since my friend Sharon was craving red-velvet cupcakes, I decided to give this Magnolia Bakery recipe a go, but, opted for a cream cheese frosting, rather than the suggested vanilla icing. I’m used to red-velvet cake to have a cream cheese frosting, and also, find Magnolia Bakery frosting impossibly sweet and a little grainy. Oh yes, and there’s too much of it and I’m very particular about my cupcake-to-frosting proportion.
People, let me tell you – this took up probably slightly more time than a cake-from-a-box project would have and it was worth each and every additional minute. The whole thing was a cinch – and a delicious cinch at that.
While Paul and Sharon liked the cupcakes, they preferred the cake part to be slightly more moist, though my Sharon indicated that this is how Magnolia cake part tastes on location. So if you like their cake consistency, then stick with this batter recipe. I liked the cake part as it was, it was little lighter than usual cupcakes, slightly spongier. The recipe called for 6 tablespoons of food coloring, which I think is a typo. We used one bottle – could probably have used a little more to give the cake a deeper shade of red, but 6 tablespoons implies six of those little bottles – which seems a bit much, no?
I would have to say this frosting was quite a winner – an agreement we all shared. It must have been the half a stick of butter blended in that just made the texture light and creamy. I think it’s important to beat the frosting for the time the recipe indicates – it makes a huge difference, make sure you don’t under-beat it. The result will make you swear off pre-made frosting forever – and you’ll be glad you did.