I used to love cupcakes – little single servings of cake in their own little package. An occasional fun treat to brighten up your day. Back in the olden days, like a few years ago, they were the cornerstone of bake sales and kids parties all over America. If you were lucky, they were fancy and had sprinkles.
Then it happened – they took over. Every other goddman corner in NYC and B’klyn has a gourmet cupcake shop – or shoppe, if you will. There’s even a truck and TV shows. What was once so pure and simple is all fancy and expensive and small. What the hell is wrong with people? It’s a piece of fucking cake!
Oh, and heaven forbid they just be chocolate or vanilla. Oh no, now they must be infused with cardamom and topped with edible organic honeysuckle. That is not a cupcake – it’s an ambomination.
This Red Velvet situation is whole other issue. I have been making them for years. Got the recipe from a gal at work. I only make them on valentines day. I give them to my friends for free and they are adult sized. Now, I don’t want to see them anymore. You wanna know what the secret is – food coloring. It’s true. That’s it. Two bottles, one ounce each. Ah, but what about the vinegar you say? Did you even know about that? Well, vinegar is a very common ingredient in baking. It reacts with the baking soda to make the cake fluffier. It is not a secret. If you don’t believe me, just google it.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re all like, “yeah, but what about the frosting. Betcha can’t make that, can ya?” Well I’m gonna tell you how to do it right now. It’s really, really hard, so pay attention:
First, go to the store or bodega or whatever you got near your house. Your apartment and your house are the same damn thing, don’t get stupid. Anyhow, now that you’re there, you need one box of 10x AKA confectioner’s sugar and one bottle of vanilla – pure or fake, doesn’t matter. Now, go over to the dairy section and grab one block of cream cheese. It must be in block form, none of that whipped bullshit. Then pick up one stick of unsalted butter. Pay for your stuff.
When you get home, throw your bag of stuff on the counter and go do something. Come back like a half hour later and squish the butter. If it’s soft and mushy, it’s time to begin.
Now, your gonna need an electric hand mixer and a big bowl or a stand mixer. I suppose you could mix it by hand, but why? Plop you butter and cream cheese in the bowl. Mix it up. Dump in the whole box of 10x. Mix it up – not too fast at first or it’ll get everywhere. Now, add like a 1/2 tsp of vanilla. Mix it some more. Taste it. Is it yummy? Good. Wanna add more vanilla? Then go right ahead. When you’re done, put it on cake or cookies or just eat it out of the bowl. Feel fancy and stuff. Open a gourmet bake shoppe.
As for that fancy decorating, well, I can’t comment. I will admit that I must commend cake decorators because I myself can’t draw a straight line with a ruler. But fancy decorations are no excuse for charging $3.oo for a little cupcake and from what I’ve seen, they aren’t even that fancy and unless they are for a party or special occasion, do they really need to be?
For more fun, check out Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York article about this whole cupcake fiasco. There’s even a cartoon! http://vanishingnewyork.blogspot.com/2010/10/king-kong-cupcakes.html