Today I am going to introduce you to a friend of mine, Angela AKA SpinachTiger. We met just a few weeks ago during the FoodBuzz Festival in San Francisco and although I haven’t known her for an extended period of time, I feel like we’ve been long time friends.
Angela happens to be a very talented, creative, funny, and outgoing food blogger. To help put that into perspective, she was nominated as one of the Bloggers we would most like to see have their own show on the Food Network. (Yep, that pretty much says it all…)
Saturday afternoon as we were waiting for the chartered bus to take us to the FoodBuzz Dinner & Awards Ceremony she casually mentioned that she was planing on hosting a “Cooking Red to Remember” day on her blog December 1st in honor of World AIDS Day and asked of I would like to participate.
Being that we had only met that same morning, I had no idea how deeply impacted she has been by this disease. I told her I would love to show my support and told her that I would be making Red Velvet Cupcakes, and we left it at that.
Once I went to her blog and I read her story I was speechless…
If you look at the top picture, you see one cupcake in the foreground, there standing strong is Angela, the cupcake in the background to your right is her brother James, and the one to your left is her cousin Sam. Although no longer in the foreground with Angela, they are forever present.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat together sugar and butter until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla.
Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake about 18-20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes before removing the cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months in airtight containers.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar ½ a cup at a time, and then vanilla, and mix until smooth and combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
2 tablespoons lemon zest (from approx. 2 large lemons)
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 jar lemon curd
1 tablespoon cornstarch
⅓ cup cool water
6 large egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
½ cup water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
Sift together cake flour, all purpose flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar and lemon zest until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg thoroughly, followed by vanilla. Alternate milk and flour in three additions, ending with flour. Evenly distribute in prepared pan.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, fill a metal-tipped pastry bag with the lemon curd and pipe into cupcakes. Poke the tip of the pasty bag about ½-1 inch into the top of each cupcake and squeeze about 2 tsp lemon curd into it.
Add ⅓ cup of water and the cornstarch to a small saucepan, place it over medium heat and stir with a whisk steadily until think and cloudy. Set aside.
In a mixer with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form when the beater is lifted. Add in ¼ cup of sugar and continue to beat
In a heavy saucepan, stir together the remaining 1¾ cups of sugar, the corn syrup, and ½ cup of water. Bring to a boil, and rinse down the sides of the pan with water on a pastry brush. Attach a candy thermometer to the saucepan, and continue to boil the syrup until it reaches 248 degrees F (hard-ball stage).
Continue beating the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Ideally, have the whites stiff when the syrup reaches 248 degrees F. Rinse a 2-cup heat proof glass measuring cup with a spout with the hottest tap water and dry well.
When the syrup reaches the hard-ball stage, carefully pour the syrup into the glass cup. Drizzle the hot sugar syrup into the meringue while beating on medium speed.
Try to avoid drizzling the syrup on the beaters or the sides of the bowl. The meringue will swell dramatically and fill the whole bowl.
Beat until the meringue has cooled, about 10 to 13 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and salt, then beat in a bout 3 tablespoons of the reserve cornstarch paste, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Spread the meringue on the cupcakes, and with a fork lightly tap and lift to form peaks.
I browned mine with a blowtorch, but you can also place the cupcakes on a baking sheet under the broiler for about 3 minutes until lightly browned.