Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Sweet All Natural Treat for Valentine’s Day

Eric Lanlard, acclaimed patissier and author of CAKE BOY, offers a sublime version of Red Velvet Cupcakes for Valentine’s Day with a unique twist—all natural ingredients! Unlike most red velvet recipes, there is not a hint of food coloring in this mixture. Instead, the rich color results from the interaction of baking soda with vinegar.

Lanlard is a stickler for using the very best, all natural ingredients, including Nielsen-Massey Vanillas. Lanlard uses Nielsen-Massey products at his London pastry shop, Cake Boy, and on his UK TV series, Baking Mad because they offer delicious flavor that artificial products can’t complete with.

“I am mad for Nielsen-Massey,” says Chef Lanlard, “one of my favorite purveyors!”

Throughout its more than 100 year history, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas has earned its reputation as a manufacturer of the finest extracts in the world. All Nielsen-Massey products are Allergen-Free and certified Kosher and Gluten-Free making them a perfect fit for Lanlard’s all natural Red Velvet Cupcake recipe below.

RED VELVET CUPCAKES from Cake Boy by Eric Lanlard
Makes 24 cupcakes
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

For the cupcakes
¾ cup pure cocoa powder

1½ tsp Nielsen-Massey Vanillas Pure Vanilla Extract
¼lb plus 1 tbsp (11/8 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 generous cup superfine sugar
4 egg yolks
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp fine salt
2¾ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp white wine vinegar

For the frosting
1 cup milk
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
a pinch of fine salt
8oz of either bittersweet chocolate (62% cocoa solids) or white chocolate, broken into pieces
¼lb plus 6 tbsp (1¾ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2¾ cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp pure cocoa powder (omit if making white chocolate frosting)
1 tsp Nielsen-Massey Vanillas Pure Vanilla Extract (omit if making white chocolate frosting)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake papers.
Sift the cocoa and mix with the vanilla in a small bowl. Set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer set on medium-high speed, or a stand mixer. Once the butter and sugar mixture is pale, light, and fluffy, add the egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until everything is combined. Add the cocoa mixture and beat well for another minute to combine.

Stir the buttermilk and salt together and add it to the butter and sugar mixture, a third at a time, alternating with the flour. Mix the baking soda with the vinegar and blend into the batter. Then, with your mixer on high, beat everything together on a high speed for about 5 minutes, until you have a smooth, glossy batter.

Fill each cupcake paper to three-quarters full. Bake for 18–20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the cupcake center comes out clean.

Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes and cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, whisk the milk, flour, and salt in a small saucepan over a medium heat until the mixture thickens and begins to bubble, about 1–2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and allow to cool.
Melt dark or white chocolate. Set aside to cool.

Beat the butter, sugar, and cocoa (if using) together until fluffy. Add to the cooled chocolate followed by the milk mixture and vanilla extract (if using). Beat together until smooth, then spoon into a pastry bag with a small plain or star tip. Pipe immediately onto the cupcakes.

It is really important that an electric hand-held or stand mixer is used to blend the cupcake batter thoroughly, so that a loose, glossy mixture is achieved.

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