I don't know if you know this, but Heidi Klum's favorite cupcake is Red Velvet (or it was in 2008 when I was interning at her agency)… No big deal, guys. I've shared a cupcake with Heidi Klum. What have you done with your life…? Ok, fine. We didn't SHARE one cupcake. Like, she brought red velvet cupcakes into work, and then watched as I ate one. But still…
Anyway, so when I asked Robin what she wanted to eat at her birthday party, naturally her answer was Buffalo Chicken Dip and Red Velvet Cupcakes. She's probably one of my most stylish, classiest friends (though all my friends are classy, obviously, because I'm super classy).
So here's the trick about red velvet cupcakes. Did you know that all red velvet cupcakes really are is just chocolate cake with a TON of red food coloring in it? Um yeah. It's really that simple. So, as long as you've got cocoa powder, you can basically make it at home any time you want.
What You'll Need:
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder (I use Hershey's)
- 1 cup of water
- 4 tbsp cultured buttermilk blend powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups canola oil
- 1 tsp white distilled vinegar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 8 oz container of cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
- Red food coloring
- 3 cups of powdered sugar
- Candy pearls (find these in the baking aisle with the sprinkles)
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your cupcake tins with 2 layers each of cupcake papers (I like the double-layered look, so I use two cupcake liners per cupcake).
Next, in a small mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar (not the powdered sugar – that's for the frosting), cultured buttermilk powder, salt, cocoa and baking soda. Using a whisk, stir the dry ingredients, spinning the whisk while you stir. Next, in your electric mixer, combine water, oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla extract until blended, about 3 minutes on medium speed. Now, add in the dry ingredients and beat for an additional 3-5 minutes until the mixture is smooth. Now, it should look like chocolate cake mix (and taste like it too if you're like Mr. Grumpy and love eating cake mix raw… apparently he's immune to salmonella). Next, turn your mixer to low, and start adding in your red food coloring. A tip: you want it to be dark red when you're finished because when they bake, they turn lighter. So, I ended up using about 2 1/2 to 3 tbsp of red food coloring. Next, using an ice cream scoop, scoop the mix into each cupcake liner, until they are about 1/2 full. The mix makes a little more than 24 cupcakes. Bake the cupcakes in the oven for a solid 18 minutes – no more, no less. Halfway through baking your cupcakes, rotate them in your oven. Once they've cooked for 18 minutes, take them out of the oven and let them sit for 1 minute. Topple them onto a towel, and let them sit until they're cool. While they're cooling, we made our frosting. And by we, I mean I made the frosting while Mr. Grumpy played Nintendo and patiently waited for the beaters to lick…
For the frosting, combine the butter and cream cheese, and mix on medium speed – about 3-4 minutes until it's smooth. Next, add in the almond extract and the powdered sugar and mix on low for another 3 minutes. Place your frosting in the fridge for 10 minutes to cool. Next, place your frosting in a pastry bag, and squeeze it out onto your cupcakes. Sprinkle the candy pearls on top. Serve immediately, or place in the fridge until you're ready to eat them.
Now, being the classy lady that I am, I also made Robin a DIY present for her birthday. I got the idea from my bestie Ashley, who actually made me these coasters for me for my birthday last year. And I've been obsessed with them ever since and want everyone to have a set. Maybe because she made them using mustache paper and I think mustaches are hilarious. Which is also why, for Mr. Grumpy's birthday last year, Robin made us these amazing mustache glasses… I digress… So, I decided these would be the perfect housewarming/birthday present for Robin (especially considering I already got her and Mr. Salty mustache magnets for their fridge. I didn't want to exhaust the mustache thing). These are so much fun to make, you should go out and make them like… right now.
What You'll Need:
- Mod Podge – matte finish
- Scrapbooking paper
- 6 ceramic tiles
- Felt pads (you can find these at the cash register at Home Depot)
- Spongy paint brush (you know what I mean? Here… like this one)
Mr. Grumpy and I went to Home Depot to pick up the ceramic tiles, and just assumed that they would have felt or something soft to put on the back. You want to do this because if you don't, it will scratch your table. And then Mr. Grumpy will give you one of his looks… which is really just quite a hassle. So, after wandering for like 20 minutes, I asked a Home Depot associate if they had cork board or felt. He said, "Let me guess, you're making coasters." Like he knew everything in the world. I replied, "Um… yeah? How did you know? Is your girlfriend a Pinterest addict too?" To which HE replied, "Well, yeah she is. But that's not how I know you're making coasters. There's about ONE of YOU each month who comes in here looking for tiles and felt because they're making these COASTERS. Go to JoAnns, you'll find everything you need there." At this point, I wasn't sure if I should thank him or be offended. So I continued onto the cash register, where I found these felt pads, which are actually quite perfect because they stick to ceramic tile and you don't have to use super glue. This is great for me because I'm actually not allowed to use super glue anymore. Mr. Grumpy banned me from it the LAST time I tried to glue my jewelry holder back together and glued my fingers together instead. And then tried to rip them apart, which was very painful.
So let's DIY, friends. First, wipe off your ceramic tiles with a damp cloth or paper towel. Make sure they're completely dry. Now, take the paper you want to use, and flip it over so the pattern is facing down. Trace your tile with a pencil, getting as close to the edge of the tile as you can. This will act as your stencil. Cut it out, and measure it on the tile. It should be slightly smaller than the face of the tile (the shiny top part). So, you'll likely have to trim it a bit. Next, cut out all of your stencils. I used different paper for each set (two ceramic tiles matched one another). I also added some scrapbooking stickers to two of them by sticking them right on the patterned-side of the paper.
Now that all your tiles are washed and your squares are cut, it's time to Hodge Podge it, kids. So, take your foam brush and dip it into the hodge podge. Paint it evenly on the shiny side of the ceramic tile (like the side you'd want to be facing out if you were redoing your kitchen). Make sure it is a really even, thin layer because you don't want it to bubble when you place the paper on it. Next, place one of the paper squares, pattern up, on top of the tile. Smoosh it down so it's evenly place on the surface of the tile. Now, paint another layer of Modge Podge over the paper on the tile. Set it aside and let it dry. Do that for all six tiles. Once the tiles are completely dry, flip them over and place the felt circles, one in each corner. Each tile will get four felt circles (they are adhesive on one side which is awesome).
Voila! Homemade coasters. Which came in handy for the drinking games the boys decided to play on Robin's oak coffee table… Boys will be boys, I suppose.