The origin of the Red Velvet Cake is much disputed. Traditionally, the caked got their red hue from the cocoa used in the batter. Today's cakes use red food coloring or even beetroot juice to give them that deep red color.
For the Cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups (180g) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tablespoons (15g) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (187g) well shaken buttermilk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons red gel food coloring (or 1 1/2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring)
3/4 cup (170g/ 6oz) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 tablespoons (23g) neutral-tasting oil (such as vegetable, sunflower, or corn oil)
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (238g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
For the Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 cup (227g/ 8oz) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 cups (340g) powdered sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
12 ounces (340g) cream cheese, cold straight from the fridge (cut into 1-inch pieces)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons (28g) sour cream, optional
To make the cupcakes:
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 338F. Line two 12-
cup cupcake pans with 16 paper liners.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt to combine. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl or a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla and food coloring. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl and an electric hand mixer), beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. With the mixer running, gradually add in the sugar, then slowly drizzle the oil. Raise the speed to medium-high and continue beating together, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until lightened up in both color and texture; 4 to 5 minutes. The color should turn very pale (almost white) and texture should look soft and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Scrape down the bowl and beater with a spatula, then resume mixing on lowest speed. Add in one-third of the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated. Pour in half of the buttermilk mixture and beat lightly until combined. Repeat with half of the remaining flour mixture, remaining buttermilk mixture, and ending with the remaining flour mixture, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Mix until just combined and a smooth batter forms, being careful not overmix.
6. With a rubber spatula, give the batter one good, final stir to make sure that everything is well incorporated. Divide the batter evenly among the 16 cupcake liners, filling them up 3/4 of the way.
7. Bake until the cupcake's center springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached, about 20 minutes. Resist the urge to open the oven's door while the surface is still looking wet, or the cupcakes might risk sinking in the middle.
8. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. While the cupcakes bake, make the Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting.
To make the Frosting:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl and an electric handheld mixer), beat the butter until lightened up and creamy; 2 to 3 minutes.
2. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar, followed by the salt. Raise the speed to medium-high and whip until lightened in both color and texture; about 5 minutes.
3. With the mixer still on medium-high speed, add one piece of cream cheese at a time, one after the other, mixing well after each addition so there are no lumps. Continue whipping until light and fluffy, and air pockets have formed.
4. Beat in the vanilla and sour cream (if using) just until incorporated. Frost the cupcakes using a regular knife or pastry bag fitted with plain or star tip.
Aaron Webb of Centerville is the owner of The Daily Paper. He recently took the time to answer a few questions about how he got started and how he thought an incubator program like ours might help others in the food business.
Why did you choose to become a chef/restaurant owner?
After 3+ years of liberal arts college, it became clear that I should change direction. I enrolled at New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, VT, and was awarded an associate degree in culinary arts. After 15+ years of fine-dining, nighttime work, The Daily Paper opportunity became available and my wife, Samantha, and I jumped at a chance for more “regular” hours. It still meant working weekends, but being home seven nights a week with a young family (13 years ago) made sense. I am forever grateful for that switch.
What advice would you give someone wanting to follow a similar path?
Try not to get bogged down in minute details; so many little decisions to make come up every day, especially when starting out. This can easily slow you down and add stress to an already stressful day/week/month. Also, take people’s criticisms in stride; if restaurant work was easy, way more folks would be successful at it!
In your business, what has been your most gratifying moment?
Opening our second location, for sure. To see our “brand” duplicate itself and have the success we’ve had is very gratifying. We quickly learned that it’s impossible to be in two places at once, so letting our group make those on-the-fly decisions not only allows us to learn from them but also empowers them to treat each location as if it were their own. It’s a great feeling.
How has the CCCI helped you get your business off the ground, OR how would you have benefitted from a similar organization when you were starting out?
CCCI wasn’t available to us at the time we began, but since I am a much more “learn as I go” cook, I probably would have gotten bogged down with details had I had too much time to work recipes out, etc. To have had a “mentor” to help with start-up, licensing requirements, purveyors, equipment specialists. etc. would have been invaluable help.
What one thing/service in the food industry do you think the Cape is missing?
Million-dollar question, no? I have a few thoughts but hate to share all my secrets with the world. Trends are always changing…we’ll see!
What keeps you busy outside work?
Family, work and pickleball¬–the fastest growing sport in America, and I am hooked!
Describe your perfect day of eating on Cape Cod?
Breakfast used to be my favorite meal…hahaha, and I guess it still is, as long as someone else is cooking. Then, heading with the family to any of Cape Cod’s Main Streets or Commercial Street in P’town, where there is always a variety of dining spots and eating “al fresco” is the way to go!