Thursday, March 12, 2015

Green is Good.

While I still maintain that blue velvet really is the best velvet, yesterday I had an enlightening moment in time when a glob of green velvet batter ended up on my arm, and I was left with no choice (or nearby paper towels) but to lick it off and continue scraping my mixing bowl. Tough times, I know. But the resounding rich, sweet, slightly chocolate-y tastes lingered on my tongue for a brief, fleeting moment in time before dissolving into a blissful memory. Poetic, right? What can I say…aside from managing to constantly find new methods and body parts to cover with cake batter, I have a way with words. I also have a really festive streak. I have adored bringing you almost four weeks’ worth of Saint Patrick’s Day dessert blogging, and I will be capping things off with these green velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Let’s not kid ourselves, the best part of red, blue, green, purple, or plaid velvet cakes is the cream cheese frosting. 
Case in point. Although I’m not sure plaid velvet is a thing, but it really should be.
I know what you’re thinking: ‘This crazy broad is already back with another blog?! Didn’t she already bug the crap out of my Facebook news feed on Monday?’ Yes, yes I did. And although I am a firm believer in there being too much of a good thing, I’m also a firm believer in you needing this recipe before any St. Patty’s Day parties. Also, we’re going “to the city” this weekend so Derek can run an inflatable 5k, so I won’t be able to bake or blog. While a good wife would either participate or cheer her husband on from the sidelines, I will recuse myself and cash in all my good wife points I have racked up (like frequent flyer miles, but the rewards usually end in diamonds in this case) so that I can go to such wonderful places like Target, Ulta, DSW, and other fantastic stores that exist when the ratio of humans to cattle is larger and normally proportionate in your city. I remember fondly what that’s like, and then I am jarred back to reality by that lovely “cow” smell wafting through the air here.
Four leaf clovers really do bring great tidings.
I started searching for cute St. Patty’s Day cupcake stuff the first week in March, but apparently no one here knows such a holiday exists. I wonder if they do not realize the reasoning behind the Shamrock Shake they all crave so desperately.  Anyway, Walmart’s décor aisles went straight from candy hearts to candy eggs, and nary could a stitch of Kelly green be found in my Hobby Lobby.  I ended up ordering cupcake papers and toppers from Amazon, but if you have a Michael’s, Party City, or live in a town with more than five Irish families, you could probably find festive décor in town.  Onward to (greatness) the recipe!
Yeah, more on that vinegar in a minute.
·         1 egg, beaten into submission (or until fluffy)
·         ½ cup of vegetable oil
·         ½ cup of buttermilk
·         ½ tablespoon of white vinegar (I know, this really grosses me out, too, but it will work out in the end. I’m not trying to poison you. I ate these and lived to tell the tale.)
·         ½ teaspoon of vanilla
·         A buttload of green food coloring (more accurately, two tablespoons to make the color super rich)
·         1 ¼ cup of flour
·         1 cup of sugar
·         ½ tablespoon of Hershey’s cocoa powder
·         ½ teaspoon of salt
·         ½ teaspoon of baking soda
This recipe makes 12 cupcakes, which is the perfect amount for two people, right?

I do segregate my ingredients by dryness, thanks for noticing.
While your oven is preheating to 350, get your cupcake liners ready to roll. Now get ready for how stupid easy this is: in your stand mixer bowl, dump all of your dry ingredients together and simply give them a swirl or two with a spatula until lightly mixed together. Super tricky, but you can handle it.
Guess what happens next?
Now, in a small bowl, mix together all your wet ingredients. Use a whisk; I happen to have thisbad ass whisk that makes life super easy and can be found, surprisingly, at Walmart. 
And here is where things get downright cray. Dump your wet ingredients into the dry ones, and mix on medium for a minute total. Stop after 30 seconds and scrape your bowl, then continue to mix for another 30 seconds. Insert color here velvet batters are thick and can get super tough (think cabbie in the Bronx), so you don’t want to agitate them by roughing them up too much. Don’t over mix is what I’m saying. Sometimes my figurative language use just makes things more complicated. Poetically complicated, of course. 
Can I just eat these by the spoonful?
Spooning the batter into your cupcake liners can be a bit tricky because as I mentioned, the batter is really thick. I found the most effective (read: best way to keep the batter in the liner and not on you) method to distributing batter was to scoop some into a ¼ measuring cup and use a spoon to slide off any excess before pouring into a liner. Fill these just a tad more than halfway because they will expand greatly. Bake for 17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
It needs more…green.
I noticed my green velvet was more like pimento olive velvet, and yeah, it wasn’t the prettiest. I didn’t want to add and mix in more green dye because I didn’t want really tough cupcakes asking me if I had a problem in a New York accent.  So heed my warning, you need A LOT OF DYE to make these a festive green. I seriously added a tablespoon of dye in thinking it would be enough, but yeah, olive drab it was and shall be.  Once removed from the oven, let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing and placing on a cooling rack. Now shove your (hopefully) green velvet cupcakes in the freezer for 15 minutes to cool while you make the frosting.
A few steps away from the literal icing on the cake.
Here’s what is needed to frost 12 cupcakes with a large French tip:
·         1 ½ blocks of cream cheese (12 ounces) at room temp
·         1 ½ sticks of butter (12 tablespoons) at room temp
·         1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla
·         6 cups of powdered sugar

Start by creaming together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Then, one cup at a time, add in your powdered sugar. This will yield a sweet frosting that still has a distinct cream cheese flavor. If you just want to frost with a small tip or slather icing on the cupcakes, you could reduce this amount to one block of cream cheese, one stick of butter, one teaspoon of vanilla, and four cups of sugar. I, on the other hand, had plans.
Really, really big plans.
This monstrosity is known at the Ateco large star tip. Ateco is to Wilton like what the Great Value Walmart brand is to the actual name brand stuff. Not as popular, but essentially the exact same thing for a better value. I knew I wanted to use a large French tip to decorate these cupcakes, mostly because (to my knowledge) an Irish tip doesn’t exist (other than “Top o’ the morning to ya”), so I went with my own roots in lieu of this. 
This makes me want ice cream…
I simply started piping on one side of the cupcake, making a circle around, and then lifting my piping tip a bit to cover my starting point when I came full circle, and finished by piping a small mound of frosting in the middle of the circle. I pushed my tip down and pulled up and away quickly to make the “Dairy Queen” tip you see here. 
Sprinkles. Everything is better with sprinkles.
I wanted to add a real pop of actual, fun, bright, non-olive (grumble) green to the tops, so I dusted them with light green flakes I found at Hobby Lobby in the cake aisle. Of course, no Saint Patrick’s Day cupcake is complete without some clover or green flag toppers.
So go to town.
Dear Lord are these delicious. If you’re not into the amazingly deep, moist chocolate flavor from last week’s Guinness dark chocolate cake, these green velvet cupcakes are absolutely the perfect party favor for you. They are dense in consistency, but the flavoring is almost light and airy…what a wonderful paradox for your taste buds. The cream cheese frosting is absolute perfection. You could probably dye a bowl of it green and just hand out spoons if you’re really lazy. People will flock to it.  Now go forth and conquer, my fellow Saint Patrick’s Day lovers! Eat (green desserts), drink (green beer), and be merry (while wearing green). It has been my distinct pleasure to remind you all that a holiday actually does exist after Valentine’s Day and before Easter. Walmart won’t tell you that because they’re bag-candy-loving jerks. ‘Til next time, my fellow eaters!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave me some love, some advice, tell me the meaning of life...whatever you fancy! You don't have to have a Blogger account, you can leave a comment by clicking "Anonymous" in the "Comment As" box..but if you're not a troll, leave me your name after your comment so I know who said what!