Moist Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (from scratch, this time!)

It’s time to make this red cake from scratch…just because it’s V-day!   And yes, Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone (here, there and everywhere!).  I’d always rely on Duncan Hines for this red cake — and my only reason:  it bothers me to stir in 2 tablespoons of red food coloring, I just thought it’s too much, oh well.    And by using a cake box mix, I don’t have to see the addition of  “a lot, really a lot” red color in the cake batter.  But Valentine’s Day is screaming “red day”, so for just this day…I said yes.  But then I really didn’t have liquid red food color…I used Wilton’s red red icing colors…and color was off.   Guess, you can only use liquid red food color for red velvet cakes…lesson learned.

MOIST RED VELVET CUPCAKES WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Cake:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons buttermilk powder
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water
2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 box (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
3 to 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

For the cake:   Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line two regular muffin pans with cupcake liners.   In a medium  bowl, whisk to aerate the flour, baking soda, salt, buttermilk powder and cocoa; set aside.  In a large mixing bowl and using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together.  Add eggs one a time, beating well until light and fluffy.  Stir in flour mixture, water and red food coloring, mixing well.  Add vinegar last, and beat until thoroughly incorporated.  Divide cake batter into lined muffin pan holes.  Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden skewer inserted into  center of cake comes out clean.  Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

For the frosting:  Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter together.  Stir in whipping cream and continue beating until fluffy.  Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well until smooth and well-combined.

Using small offset spatula, ice baked cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  Finish off with a dusting  of Wilton red sugar sprinkles.  Enjoy!

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Peach-berry Smoothie


PEACH-BERRY SMOOTHIE
Use your blender or smoothie maker to make this refreshing thick mixed fruits smoothie.  I love the combination of frozen peach slices (peeled, pitted, sliced) and blueberries, tart yet very refreshing.   Let your taste be your guide for sweetness.

1 cup frozen peach slices

1 cup frozen blueberries

2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons regular cream cheese

2 cups whole milk

1 cup ice cubes

Blend all ingredients in blender or smoothie maker until well-mixed, thick and creamy.  Pour into glasses and serve.  (Smoothies are addicting, it won’t be a surprise if you’d be mixing 2 batches for family and friends to enjoy!)

BOB RECIPE: Philly Cheesy Dips (2 recipes)

2 Easy dips from Kraft and easy to enjoy in barely 15 minutes…perfect for summer “no fuzz” parties.

from:  Kraft
Product:  Philadelphia cream cheese

BOB RECIPE:  Philly Cheesy Pizza Dip
Prep:  10 minutes Total time:  12 minutes

1 pkg (8 oz) Cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons each:  chopped red and green peppers
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

Spread cream cheese onto bottom of microwaveable 9-inch pie plate.  Cover with pizza sauce; top with remaining ingredients.

Microwave on HiGH 2 minutes or until heated through.  Serve with Ritz Crackers.  Makes 2 cups.

BOB RECIPE:  Philly Cheesy Chili Dip
Prep:  5 minutes  Total time:  6 minutes

1 pkg (8 oz) Cream cheese, softened
1 can (15 oz) chili
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Spread cream cheese onto bottom of microwaveable pie plate; top with chili and Cheddar cheese.

Microwave on HIGH 1 minute or until Cheddar cheese is melted.  Sprinkle with cilantro.  Serve with Ritz Crackers.  Makes 3 cups.