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Friday, October 28, 2011

baking lessons: "cupcakes 101"

i love cooking and baking.  i really, really do.  for as long as i can remember back, i have been helping my mom in the kitchen.  my mom is absolutely amazing when it comes to food, and i have always admired the way that she could whip up a gourmet meal in no time at all without ever breaking a sweat.  my mom says that i started helping her to cook and bake as soon as i could manage to keep myself sitting in an upright position on the kitchen counter.  as a kid, i actually learned basic math and fractions by baking and cutting recipes in half (did i mention that my mom is also a wiz at math?  really . . . she teaches elementary through high school level math.)  my mom seriously has the best patience when it comes to teaching me new things (and i love that she always lets me lick the spatula too!)  now that i'm married and no longer living at home with my parents, i love the occasions when my mom and i can make a meal together.

when i'm not able to cook and bake with my mom, i try to duplicate her recipes as best as possible.  i love being able to cook and bake with ryan now.  he is great in the kitchen too . . . i always said that i would never marry a man who could not cook.  :-)  we have such fun creating recipes together for our family and friend's events.  we always offer to bring dessert whenever someone is having a function!  (at some point, i will post a few pictures of our creations.)

our dear friend kelly is one of our biggest fans.  she is willing to try anything that we make, and is so gracious about it.  so, when kelly said that she wanted to learn how to bake cupcakes, we jumped at the occasion!  last night, kelly came over and we had baking lessons in our kitchen.

kelly's favorite cupcake flavor is red velvet.  typically, i try to avoid red velvet cupcakes like the plague because i am not a fan of the exorbitant amount of red dye that often goes into them.  however, i don't mind making a natural version of red velvet that uses beet juice to dye the batter red instead of food coloring.  i know what you are thinking . . . but the truth is, you don't even taste the beet flavor at all, and it is a really healthy alternative to red food coloring (a trick that i learned from my mom)!

kelly brought cute halloween decorations with her for the cupcakes, and they turned out so good.  when our friend chris found out that we were baking, he stopped by and joined us for a cupcake too!  i had a BLAST teaching kelly how to bake, and she did a great job!  (maybe i should start my own show on the food network, ha ha!)

{getting our ingredients ready}

{kelly looks like a pro at that mixer}

{red velvet cupcake batter}

{cupcakes baking in the oven}

{kelly making cream cheese frosting for the cupcakes}

{cooling the cupcakes and decorating the cupcakes}

{kelly's finished product}

{they turned out great!}

{a great night with a great friend}

. . .

red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
prep time: 15-20 minutes
baking time: 20 minutes
yields: 24 cupcakes

cupcake ingredients:
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup beet juice (for color)
2 teaspoons red food coloring (optional)
1/2 cup softened butter
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 room temperature eggs

frosting ingredients:
8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
4 tablespoons salted butter (softened)
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  line 24 muffin cups with paper muffin liners.  combine cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and baking soda.  set aside.  combine buttermilk, vanilla, and beet juice (add optional red food coloring if you desire).  set aside.  beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  add the eggs one at a time.  allow each egg to blend into the mixture before adding the next.  add the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients alternately while the mixer is on a low speed.  mix until all ingredients are combined.  avoid over mixing.  scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups.  bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  cool the cupcakes for at least 10 minutes on a wire rack.  once the cupcakes are cool, frost the cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

to make the cream cheese frosting: beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until smooth.  gradually beat in the powdered sugar alternating with the milk a little at a time, until incorporated.  add the vanilla and beat until fluffy.

love, laurie


Kelly Doyle said...

I had a BLAST learning & hanging out with you! I love you guys :) and I can't wait to do it again! I'm so excited to see that you started a blog. I'm your biggest fan & I hope your thoughts & ideas are shared by many of your followers! You are going to inspire so many! I'm telling everyone about it <3 Love you my dear friend.

Taryn said...

These are so cute--what an inspiration =)

Kelsey Cole said...

oh my goodness those look AMAZING! I love the tip on using the beet juice to dye the batter red - I'm all about making recipe's healthier! I definitely want to try this:)

Such a fun girls night!

Laurie said...

@kelly i am so glad that you enjoyed yourself! we had so much fun having you over! i'm so glad that you like the blog. love you!

Laurie said...

@taryn thanks!

Laurie said...

@kelsey it was such a fun girls night! let me know what you think of the beet juice when you try it.

Unknown said...

oh my gosh how fun...I love baking too! :-) Thanks for the tips! And i love the cute heart apron!

I came across your blog and just had to comment :-) Come check out my fun giveaway:


Laurie said...

@aarean thanks! we did have fun. thanks so much for visiting my blog! i will stop by and check yours out too!