We down here in the dirty old south have an unfortunately bad rep. So many people seriously don’t seem to comprehend that not every soul below the Mason-Dixon is a podunk, redneck, biscuit-swinging, hick-town ignoramus.
Say what you will, but the southern region of the United States has produced some of our nation’s most captivating culture, characters, and cuisine.. Coca-cola, Girl Scouts, Elvis, deep-fried everything, red velvet cake…
The list could truly go on for days.
Only a land that puts forth such greatness as corn nuggets could possibly mastermind the concept of such a uniquely delectable cake…and then dumping an entire bottle of dye into it.
The divine velvety factor, laced with cocoa and radiantly colored…like a beacon of utter dessert glory. Straightforward, sumptuous, and complimented by classic cream cheese frosting.
Gotta love it.
You’re gonna have to excuse my “the south will rise again” trip today.
But see, I’m coming off of a semi-nostalgic, southern-lovin weekend, and I’m still letting the remnants of that sentiment trickle out…even though it’s now Tuesday…Fat Tuesday, in fact… which makes me think of southern food…so there ya go, full circle.
I first started thinking about Mardi Gras last Friday,which took my brain down to New Orleans, which made me want crawfish, which made me want shrimp and grits and bread pudding and bourbon, then southern food in general.. Thank the Lord almighty above I spent the weekend with my long-time best friend and her family; thus stuffing my life with smoked butt, homemade bar-b-q sauce, baked beans, fried chicken, sofa socializing, pound cake, fried green tomatoes, lengthy strolls down memory lane, peach cobbler, sweet potatoes, post-church food-coma spurred afternoon naps.
Woowee, slap yo mama, what more could you ever ask for?
Well buddy let me tell you…on my way back home to make these here red velvet cupcakes for a baking order, my dear sweet car– Cammy the Camry– got all hot and bothered…then started smoking and spazzing out on the highway.
Now, do you think when I stopped at some obscure gas station in my Sunday clothes and attempted to alleviate my overheated radiator with a Dasani water bottle that the two old southern boys sitting at the counter turned the other cheek? Think they hopped on the chance to rip this dumb and desperate girl off?
No sir. Not at all. They had me sit out the way, fixed Cammy up free of charge and sent me on my merry way.
Angels in greasy blue jeans, that’s what they were.
So I know there are kind people everywhere. I know every culture has its soul-rocking comfort food. I am fully aware that every region has its own rich cultural history and traditions..
But some days, it’s just pleasant to thoroughly enjoy that which is closest to home.
Down here in my home, family isn’t limited to who you share blood with.
Gentleman don’t have to wear suits.
Fried chicken is an acceptable component of a spring break diet.
And velvet is always in style.
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 1/2 cups of sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, room temperature
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 2 1/3 cups of cake flour
- 2 tablespoons of Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup of buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of red food coloring
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon of distilled white vinegar
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixer for 3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
In a large bowl, sift together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla extract, and red food coloring.
Add a fourth of the dry ingredients and mix, then add a third of the wet. Continue adding in a dry, wet, dry pattern, ending with the dry ingredients.
Scoop into cupcake papers, about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool for one minute in the pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Frosting
- 1/2 cup of butter room temperature
- 8 oz of Philly cream cheese room temperature
- 3 cups of powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Cream the butter and cream cheese together, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
Add the vanilla extract and mix.
Add the powdered sugar, by 1/2 cup. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.