Valentine's Day "Red" Party

| Category: Food & Wine | House & Home

Paint the town red with this quick and easy party idea from Trophy Cupcakes & Parties by Jennifer Shea. Whether your shade of choice is cardinal, crimson, scarlet, or wine— blanket everything in red! Start with a red invitation, encourage your guests to dress in red, and decorate your table with wide rolls of red crepe paper as table runners. A “DIY Valentine” table with lots of paper, doilies, heart craft punches, and glitter pens is a fun way to entertain your guests and send them home with a crafty party favor. Serve up yummy red-hued foods like strawberries or stuffed red peppers, and don’t forget red wine for adults and cranberry juice for the kids. A batch of Trophy Cupcake’s most popular flavor, Red Velvet (recipe below), serves as the tasty centerpiece for your red-hot party.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes

What You Need:

  • Red Velvet Cupcakes (recipe below)
  • Cream Cheese Buttercream (recipe below)
  • 2 dozen red candy hearts (optional)

1. First make the Red Velvet Cupcakes.

2. While the cupcakes cool, make the Cream Cheese Buttercream.

3. Place the buttercream in a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip, and pipe a low swirl on each cupcake. Top with a red candy heart.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes

  • 2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, sift together the cake flour, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. Combine the buttermilk, oil, food coloring, and vanilla in a large measuring cup with a spout. Set aside.

4. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat them at low speed for 1 minute, then increase the speed to medium and beat until the mixture becomes a smooth dough, about 1 more minute.

5. With the mixer at its lowest speed, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping the bowl after each addition, and waiting until all traces of each egg have disappeared before adding the next one. When all the eggs have been added, scrape the bowl and continue to beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Do not overmix.

6. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with adding the wet ingredients in 2 parts. Keep the mixer at the lowest speed, and mix each time just until the ingredients are combined. When adding the second half of the wet ingredients, combine the baking soda and vinegar in a small cup and add it to the batter along with the liquids. When everything has been added, scrape the bowl and paddle one more time, and stir the batter just until it’s smooth. Let the batter rest for 15 minutes and stir gently before using.

7. Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full and bake until the tops of the cupcakes are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center of a middle cupcake comes out with just a few crumbs, about 20 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool for 5 minutes in the tins before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Buttercream

Makes about 6 cups

  • 24 ounces (three 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups plus 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese. Start with the mixer at the lowest speed, then gradually increase the speed, using a rubber spatula to scrape the bowl as needed, until the cheese is perfectly smooth and creamy. Scrape the cream cheese into a small bowl and set aside.

2. Next, cream the butter. Start with the mixer at the lowest speed, then gradually increase the speed, using a rubber spatula to scrape the bowl as needed, until the butter is light in color, perfectly smooth, and makes a slapping sound as it hits the sides of the bowl. If the butter is soft, this should only take 30 seconds, but if the butter is cool, it can take a couple of minutes.

3. Add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, and mix at the lowest speed until it’s fully incorporated before adding the next cup. When all the sugar has been added, scrape the paddle and the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and beat it at low speed for 15 seconds. Increase the speed to as high as you can without making a mess and whip the butter- cream until the mixture is perfectly smooth, creamy, and light, about 5 minutes. Stop the mixer once or twice to scrape the bowl and paddle, then continue beating. At first the buttercream will appear to soften, then it will stiffen and increase in volume.

4. Scrape the bowl and paddle again, then add the whipped cream cheese. Beat the mixture at the lowest speed for 30 seconds to combine, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds to lighten the buttercream.

5. Use right away, or store in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to use it, let the buttercream come to room temperature, then put it back in the stand mixer and use the paddle attachment to beat it until it’s creamy and stiff again. Having trouble with the finer points of frosting? Check out these Trophy video tutorials on frosting the perfect cupcake.

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