1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar, Baker's Special Sugar or superfine preferred
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 teaspoons red velvet cake flavor*
1 tablespoon Cake Enhancer, optional, for tenderness
2 large eggs
¼ cup Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa, or any Dutch-process cocoa
2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour Blend, sifted; plus extra for the pans
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk (Substitute 1/4 cup dried buttermilk powder + 1 cup water, if desired)
1 teaspoon Instant ClearJel
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar or glazing sugar, sifted
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 drops lemon oil or 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind (zest), optional
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake papers.
2. Mix the butter, oil, sugar, salt, color, flavor, and cake enhancer, beating until light and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition.
4. Sift together the flour, cocoa, and baking soda (and dried buttermilk, if you're using it).
5. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the creamed mixture, one third at a time, beating well after each addition.
6. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, and bake the cupcakes for about 18 to 21 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the middle cupcakes comes out clean.
7. Remove the cupcakes from the oven, cool on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes, then turn it out of the pans to cool on the rack.
8. To prepare the frosting: Sift the ClearJel with the confectioners' or glazing sugar.
9. Add the heavy cream, and start beating. When the cream reaches a soft peak, set the mixture aside.
10. Beat the vanilla, lemon, and cream cheese together until fluffy.
11. Whisk in 1/4 of the whipped cream mixture and stir until completely combined. Fold in the remaining whipped cream.
12. Frost the cupcakes; refrigerate to set up the frosting. For best flavor and texture, bring the cakes to room temperature before serving.
Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes.
Formulation courtesy of King Arthur Flour