God bless the South and Southern Living magazine for keeping it real with alcoholic desserts and lots of sugar, spice, and everything gum-achingly, teeth-stained-ly nice.
While at home in Ohio for Thanksgiving break, lounging around in my pajamas for the third day straight, eating cheetos with my dad as my overly-awesome mom washed my laundry and cooked my dinner [so good to be home…and an only child], I discovered this wonderful recipe for alcoholic frosting that’s just enough to stop adults from serving them to the kids’ table during the holidays. “Oh my goth!” I exclaimed, my mouth full of neon orange Chester, “thith lookths amathing!”
“Damn, straight, kiddo,” said my dad.
And so it was decided.
The red velvet cupcakes are extremely moist and just the right density to let people know they didn’t come from a box. And let’s face it: nothing says Merry Christmas like ganache and liqueur. I used Hazelnut liqueur (Frangelico), but Amaretto can also be used-basically, any type of sweet liqueur will do.
The little red edible decorating balls are all the rage this year with food magazines, Southern Living included, something which was annoying me since they were nowhere to be found. At least, that’s what I thought until I stepped into Crate & Barrel (of all places). As I was reaching to look at a ridiculous Belgian waffle maker I have no business buying but crave nonetheless, BAM! red decorating balls. So thanks, Crate & Barrel, for being so eccentric you now sell designer cupcake accessories that cost more than my metro commute. But of course, could I live without them? “Are all 5 containers yours, ma’am?” Why yes, overly-holiday-cheerful employee, yes they are.
- Electric or stand mixer
For the cupcakes (can make about 30 when filled correctly: don’t fill these more than 2/3 full-they puff up nicely)
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar + 1 Tbl. sugar
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbl. cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk, rm. temp.
- 2 large eggs, rm. temp.
- Some red food coloring (use your judgement on this one)
- 1 tsp. white distilled vinegar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the frosting:
- 2 (4 oz.) bars white chocolate
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, rm. temp.
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup Frangelico or Amaretto
For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa in a medium bowl. In another large bowl, whisk oil, buttermilk, eggs, red food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla extract.
Mix the dry ingredients, in increments, into the wet ingredients with an electric mixer on low speed, just until combined and smooth, about 2 min. Pour into cupcake liners or greased pan and bake 20-25 min. Let cool completely.
For the frosting: Break both white chocolate bars into pieces and place in a microwave bowl. Add heavy cream and microwave on MEDIUM (50% power) 1 min. Take out and stir with a spatula. If not completely melted yet, keep microwaving on medium in increments of 30 seconds, stirring each time. Make sure the chocolate and cream have completely blended. Let cool to rm. temp.-about 30 min.
Beat butter and one cup of SIFTED powdered sugar at low speed with a stand or electric mixer until blended. Add 5 cups of sifted powdered sugar, alternating with the liqueur, beating at low speed until blended after each addition. Add white chocolate ganache and beat at medium speed until spreading consistency.
*Note: The frosting was piped with a large star tip and piping bag. The white chocolate star decorations were made by melting white chocolate in the microwave, then spreading it on waxed paper and putting it in the fridge to solidify. Once solid, use a star aspic cutter, or any other cutter to cut out shapes.