Big Mama’s Forest Cupcakes

Autumn is the perfect time for rich, thick cream-cheese frosting and red velvet cupcakes, don’t you think? And with fall-themed cupcake liners, I’m sure Big Mama would agree that there is hardly a better treat out there to chase away the chill! Big Mama is, of course, the motherly owl from Fox and the Hound, and she was my inspiration for these Red Velvet Forest Cupcakes.

I found my red velvet recipe from allrecipes.com, and up to date is the best recipe I’ve found so far. Believe me, I’ve gone through my share of red velvet cupcake recipes! None are perfect, but this one is close. The link to the original recipe is here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/red-velvet-cupcakes/detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=red%20velvet%20cupcakes&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page.

Once these beauties come out of the oven, let them cool completely before frosting to keep the heat from melting cream cheese all over the top. Speaking of frosting, it can conveniently be whipped up while these cupcakes cool.

Just combine cream cheese (best if at room temperature), butter, vanilla and powdered sugar. Quick and easy!

Of course, the fun part is the actual frosting of the cupcakes. And as if the leaf-patterned cupcake liners weren’t adorable enough, gold edible sprinkles finish off the magical effect! You can find edible sprinkles or ‘disco dust’ like these at specialty food stores.

For an extra-special touch, melt some chocolate and spoon into a plastic bag. Cut off a small tip of the bag and pipe desired designs onto waxed paper. Stick them in the freezer to set them up quickly.

Then stick them right on top for extra pizzaz!

Voila! Cute as can be! And, even better, any leftover melted chocolate can be used for drizzling strawberries or other fruits. Why let perfectly good chocolate go to waste?

Just like…well, magic!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

1/2 cup butter

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 fluid ounce red food coloring

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or line muffin tins (recipe makes about 2 dozen)
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, red food coloring and vanilla. Stir in the baking soda and vinegar. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt; stir into the batter just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups.
  3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until tops spring back lightly when pressed. Cool cupcakes on wire rack.

* Oil can be substituted for butter for a more moist cupcake if desired.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/2 cup butter, softened

8 oz cream cheese

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Beat softened butter and cream cheese until well blended.
  2. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, beat until combined well.

 

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