Cree’s Red Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting

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I was fortunate enough to have a client request Birthday cupcakes this week.  When the request was for Red Velvet from a client from Chicago, I knew I had to bring the South, flavor and elegance…So I turned to Rose Levy Beranbaum’s cookbooks for assistance..I pulled out my collection of Rose’s baking books and decided on Rose’s Heavenly Cakes..After further review of my client’s request and my need for a challenge, I decided to take Rose’s Red Velvet Cake recipe and turn it into cupcakes…The frosting was such a wonderful adventure as a pastry chef, baker and as a deliverable to my client’s consultation of her desires for her “BIRTHDAY” order…

So I began by reviewing and editing to exceed my client’s request.

First we weighed the butter

First we weighed the butter

The buttermilk

The egg whites

Buttermilk

Buttermilk

and welcomed the STAR of our show

and welcomed the STAR of our show

such an impressionistic experience as we bake....maybe that's why I love it

such an impressionistic experience as we bake….maybe that’s why I love it so much

The batter was such a brilliant experience to create

The batter was such a brilliant experience to create

With a number 30 ice cream scoop, which is 1 oz, the prepared cupcake liners were filled

With a number 30 ice cream scoop, which is 1 oz, the prepared cupcake liners were filled

Baked until a paring knife inserted into the middle of the cupcakes cake out clean and the cupcakes bounced back when touching in the center

Baked until a paring knife inserted into the middle of the cupcakes come out clean and the cupcakes bounced back when touching in the center

Out of the oven to cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack before removing from the cupcake pan

Out of the oven to cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack before removing from the cupcake pan

After cooling, the delightful frosting is created

After cooling, the delightful frosting is created – I saw a Greek Cream Cheese mixed with Greek Yogurt that intrigued me and I thought what a wonderful depth of flavor this would create, so I chose that.  Rose highly recommended the Green and Black’s white chocolate with Vanilla.  I was so pleased when the frosting showed specs of the vanilla bean that I jumped for joy in my kitchen – TRUE STORY

The white chocolate was measured

The white chocolate was measured

I find that chocolate melts best, no matter the kind, if it is first cut into a dice cut; my technique is to first cut in one direction and then the other to achieve a small dice cut for melting

I find that chocolate melts best, no matter the kind, if it is first cut into a dice cut; my technique is to first cut in one direction and then the other to achieve a small dice cut for melting

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While Rose list a few options for melting the chocolate, I always opt for the microwave version as I can control the heat and end product

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My client requested walnuts to top the cupcakes, and Rose has taught us that the skins are quite bitter and undesirable in a high quality pastry

My client requested walnuts to top the cupcakes, and Rose has taught us that the skins are quite bitter and undesirable in a high quality pastry

In learning from Rose, I have found that the walnut skins can be very bitter and impair the quality and taste of the dessert outcome, competing with the other delicate flavors and textures.  By thoroughly removing the walnut skins, you reduce the negative quality in taste and enhance the flavors allowing them to support and compliment your dessert. Likewise, by toasting the walnuts, you are bringing the earthly, nutty quality to the dessert adding a refined, dimension of flavor.

Rose gives us guides to the temperature, timing, etc… in her baking books, however, I have developed a technique that for me works every time in removing the skins.

Immediately after you toast the walnuts and directly from the oven, place the nuts in a glass container with a lid and as if you were shaking a cocktail, shake for 60 seconds, to aid in the removal of the bitter skins

Immediately after you toast the walnuts and directly from the oven, place the nuts in a glass container with a lid and as if you were shaking a cocktail, shake for 60 seconds, to aid in the removal of the bitter skins.  As you can see, a majority of the skins have been removed

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However, being a perfectionist, I take it a step further and gently remove the nuts from the jar onto a kitchen terry cloth tea towel – non-terry cloth tea towels do not pull the skins as well, I find…. and then rub the nuts again to remove as much of the outer skins as you possibly can

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It’s amazing at the amount of skins that still need to be removed

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Nuts are chopped and reserved for decoration

Nuts are chopped and reserved for decoration

Next the cream cheese, butter and creme fraiche are added to the food processor for blending and incorporation

Next the cream cheese, butter and creme fraiche are added to the food processor for blending and incorporation

The melted white chocolate is added

The melted white chocolate is added

and the frosting is prepared for piping

and the frosting is prepared for piping

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The cupcakes are then decorated per plan

The cupcakes are then decorated per plan

Happy Baking!

Happy Baking!

 

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