I got an email a few days ago asking about bakeries in the New York area that make good parve red velvet cupcakes. Since I tend to make most of my desserts I didn’t have any good advice, so if anyone else knows of a good place please leave a comment letting me know. The email said that a simple substitution of soymilk hadn’t worked so I decided to experiment with making parve red velvet cupcakes myself. I had never made red velvet cupcakes before because I never quite understood adding red food coloring to cake, but I have to admit I enjoyed these immensely. Something about the light texture with a hint of chocolate flavor and cream cheese frosting is quite alluring. While red velvet cupcakes will never be my favorites, I now think I understand their appeal.
In order to get the particular texture of red velvet cake the recipes all call for buttermilk. A good parve substitution is soymilk curdled with vinegar or lemon juice. I wouldn’t want to drink it but it is a great substitution in baking.
Yield: approximately 35 cupcakes
1 1/4 cup soy milk
1 tablespoon vinegar
3 1/2 cups cake flour (do not substitute all purpose flour)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch process)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups canola oil
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) red food coloring or 1 teaspoon red gel food coloring dissolved in 6 tablespoons of water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin pans with cupcake papers.
Combine soymilk and one tablespoon vinegar. Stir to combine and set aside. In a few minutes it should curdle and thicken.
Whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl.
Place oil and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well-blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. With machine on low, very slowly add red food coloring. (Take care: it may splash.) Add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with curdled soymilk in two batches. Scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine.
Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running. Beat for 10 seconds.
Pour batter into cupcake pans filling them ¾ full. Place cupcakes in the over and immediately turn the temperature down to 350.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from The Well Decorated Cake by Toba Garrett)
1/2 cup margarine
1 oz solid vegetable shortening
5 oz toffuti cream cheese
3/4 lb 10X confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (more to taste)
1 1/2 teaspoon meringue powder
Cream butter, shortening, and cream cheese together for 1-2 minutes. Stop and scrape the bowl. Cream for an additional 60 seconds. If the mixture starts to look oily it has beaten enough, even if it has been shorter than 2 minutes.
Sift the sugar. Beat sugar 1 cup at a time into the margarine mixture.
Add the lemon juice, vanilla and meringue powder.
Beat for a minute or two making sure the ingredients are throughly incorporated.
Add more lemon juice to taste to give the frosting the desired layer of tanginess.