They don’t look like much, do they? Cocoa nibs look like gravel, or peanuts, or…I really just lost track of that thought.
Regardless, they’re delicious, grown-up chocolate chips. Well, maybe not grown up, but definitely a little fancier.
I made red velvet, again, but this time, I did it with an old-fashioned cooked frosting, which I liked a LOT better than most of the buttercream frosting I’ve had. I also understand why cream cheese frosting is usually paired with the cake; the textures are similar (though the cream cheese is tangier).
They ended up turning out really well, and the cocoa nibs were extremely delicious, and I was totally in love with the frosting (note: this frosting stays more delicious if you keep it in the fridge because of the butter and cream content of the frosting).
I used the recipe Toks used back in the day, Classic Red Velvet, but added about a quarter cup of lightly sweetened cocoa nibs. I promise to breakout with some awesome cupcake creativity soon.
Red Velvet cupcakes with Old-fashioned Cooked Frosting
Makes about 3 dozen regular cupcakes
3 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups cream, room temperature
3 tablespoons red food coloring
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1.5 sticks), room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line the tins. Curdle the cream by adding the apple cider vinegar. After letting it rest for a few minutes, add the vanilla and dye.
In another bowl, sift together the cake flour, salt, cocoa and baking powder to combine.
In yet another bowl beat together the butter and sugar until well-combined and fluffy, and then beat in the eggs (one at a time makes it less messy and easier).
Now beat in the flour in half-cup increments, alternating with the curdled milk mixture (this helps keep the cake from getting over-beaten).
Before adding the final bit of flour, fold in at least a half-cup of cocoa nibs. Fill each tin about 2/3 to 3/4 full of batter, and bake for 18-20 minutes.
Once they’re out of the oven, let them cool, and make your old-fashioned cooked frosting.
Ingredients for an old-fashioned frosting:
1 cup cream
3 tablespoons flour flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar (trust me, granulated)
Heat the cream on the stove. When it starts steaming whisk in the vanilla, and then add the flour, thoroughly whisking it. It will start cooking and getting thicker.
Once it reaches a thick, custard-y texture, take it off the stove top and allow it to cool. In the meantime, beat together the sugar and butter. Once the cream/flour mixture has cooled, beat it into the thoroughly mixed butter/sugar mixture, and continue to mix until it is smooth. It will have a slight flour-y taste, but it is really good. DON’T use cake flour for this; the custard forms because of the gluten in flour, and cake flour has less gluten than regular AP flour.
Then, pipe on the frosting or do whatever seems delicious and appropriate.
Ta-Da! Serious, the frosting totally sounds weird (I mean, flour?) but it is totally totally worth it. I mean, unless you’re gluten intolerant, in which case I’ll be whipping up something in the next few weeks that is delicious and gluten-free. As I’ve now started working (note: the reason for my recent radio silence) and have this mysterious thing known as income, I am thinking about buying a non-stick cupcake tin so I can be sure that my gluten-free cupcakes don’t have *any* gluten in them (it’s easier to be sure that my cleaning picked up all the residual gluten on a baking tin when it’s non-stick).