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Friday the 13th + Red Velvet Cupcakes

August 14, 2010

Story time:

Friday morning I woke up at 5:30 AM, a tad bit later than I desired–I had things I needed to accomplish before 8AM. The night before, I came home to a refrigerator full of Red Velvet cupcakes, about fifty or more (I refuse to count, because then I will have to come to terms with how many I ate…).

I baked them the day prior for a Friday night party with my co-workers plus friends. My plan for Thursday evening was to: 1. Frost cupcakes and 2. finish up a project for work. Much to my dismay, I was without WiFi (its in and out) and spent the whole evening making frosting, eating frosting, decorating with frosting, and eating frosting. Thus I needed to get up early Friday, finish work, and go for my morning run (which was essential after the mass sugar-cream cheese-butter consumption the night prior…my poor little heart).

Back to my 5:30 wake up call Friday morning–I was able mooch off the local WiFi, finished up some work, laced up my new running shoes, and headed out by 6:15AM. The weather was perfect. The day before we had crazy (seriously, CRAZY) thunderstorms. I was getting ready to leave for work and realized it was dark outside still at 7:30AM. I opened my blinds to see what was up just in time for lightning, gusts of wind, and a torrential downpour (later predicted to cause flash floods). Thus Friday morning, I was quite content to find cooler temperatures and a bit of a drizzle (reminded me of my Salem runs). I was off–in my new shoes to bid good morning to Lincoln, with cupcakes at home ready to take to work. As I rounded the Washington Monument, I was content to think, “today has the potential to be a really good day.” As I headed back toward my apartment building I stepped in a puddle. In my new shoes. Wet sock and all. Next thought: “Uh oh, could this be the point in which this day turns for the worst…?” Maybe. (I’m a tad bit dramatic sometimes…but only sometimes) :)

I headed about 4 more blocks in my wet shoe.

Walked into my apartment building and there was a man standing in the stairwell on his cell phone.

I smiled politely, dripping in sweat, wanting to move quickly by him so I could take off my wet shoe and get started for the day.

He looks at me, slightly panicked, and says Don’t go down there.

My face never learned the art of concealing my thoughts, so it was clear that I was confused and not buying his instruction.

He continues, No, there’s a burglar down there…

My face was clear: Excuse me, a what?

There’s a man dressed in black…I’m on the phone with the police… Jose (our maintenance man) trapped him…

I move further from the stairwell. Surprisingly calm. I guess, moving to the city, I knew things like this were possible. (I really don’t live in the sketchiest part of DC, promise). In fact, I’ve already had experience with burglars and guns–16 years old, Redmond OR, Coffee Depot.

So I just stand by. Let the man talk to the police and trying to glean some information from him.

Once the man with the cell phone got off with the police. He explained that: Jose, our maintenance man, saw the man dressed in black on the bottom level (where I live). I don’t think the man actually got into anyone’s apartment. But Jose was able to chase him outside where there is a fenced off area by our garbages. He thought he trapped him. From there he began to head down the stairs to check on Jose and meet the police. I walked with him and slipped into my apartment to get ready for the day. I tried to eavesdrop as much as possible when the police came…but…I really don’t know much.

As I was trying to listen through the door, my friend forwarded me the DC Weather Alert message: which let all of us know that the crazy storms would not be a part of our Friday. The e-mail subject read:

“Happy Friday the 13th.”

Hah! If I were superstitious my morning would have been explained. Instead my first thoughts were, “Oh, this will make a great blog post.” (Actually, my true first thought was, ‘Uh, oh, how am I going to tell Mom?’) It also makes me think of Sovereignty. had I not gone for my run, this commotion would have been happening in front of my door I think this would be quite a different post had that been the case. I think the Lord knew I needed to be out of the building when this was going on. Just another reminder of His constant grace in my life.

So I got ready for work. Packed up my cupcakes. And headed in, uncertain as to which way the day would be headed after that start.

I am happy to say that it was a wonderful day. I was able to feed my coworkers (but had to say good bye to our remaining Summer Associates…). The regular cupcakes were a hit with the staff. Maya asked me to make Red Velvet Cupcakes for her wedding in May! (OF COURSE!!) Looks like there will quite a bit of testing to find that perfect recipe between now and then. I also took about 40 (ish) mini-cupcakes (also referred to as vitamins) to the party that evening. Oh, what joy I have in feeding people desserts!

The workings of a small baking side business may be a brewing. Emily’s Edibles…Le Petite (mini cupcakes?)…just a few thoughts. For now I’ll just share this recipe with you + a few thoughts:


Red Velvet: via Spork and Foon

½ cups cake flour (not self-rising)

¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 ½ cups sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

6 tbsp red food coloring

4-6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

1½ tsp vanilla extract
1½ tsp salt
1½ cups buttermilk

1½ tsp cider vinegar

1½ tsp baking soda

Cream Cheese Frosting

12 ounces cold cream cheese (I used 16oz, makes it a bit firmer)

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, firm but not cold

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 pounds (1 1/2 boxes) powdered sugar, sifted (I didn’t sift it, and may have used more or less sugar)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour 2 cupcake pans (24 cupcakes).

To make the batter: In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.

In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Arrange the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and bake the cupcakes, switching positions of the pans halfway through baking, until a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a rack before icing.


Combine butter, salt, and cream cheese in mixer and beat on medium speed 2-3 minutes.

Add sugar until just incorporated. Don’t over mix. It should be thick but not fluffy.

Add vanilla. If necessary, add milk to thin.


Since I will be baking these for the wedding, there will be several posts figuring out which are the best. This one calls for butter, but tomorrow I will be trying out a recipe that calls for oil instead. Don’t worry…you’ll see pictures…and hear my thoughts. Of course. But here is my confession: I don’t really get the big deal with Red Velvet. I mean, there’s chocolate in it, but you can’t taste it. There’s so much food coloring, that I am convinced I’m poisoning myself (yet I eat them anyway). I honestly think the entire purpose of a Red Velvet Cupcake is to eat CreamCheese Frosting. And oh, boy, this frosting is TO DIE FOR!


From → Baking

One Comment
  1. Yes indeed- the frosting is to die for! Thanks for making them again for Monday!

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