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Wednesday Food: Cupcakes and Hating the “Good”

IMG_1478Admittedly, red velvet cupcakes were not what I had in mind for Wednesday Food today.  I spent the weekend cooking and photographing but left my camera card at home and I’ll be damned if it was all for nothing.  The truth of the matter is that I’ve been out of coffee beans for three days and Earl Grey only gets me as far as leaving the house clothed.

I made these cupcakes for July 4th and they were a hit, though they made me feel falsely patriotic.  When approaching the idea of red velvet cake I hadn’t the foggiest as to how they would taste or out of what they were made.  The verdict was mildly chocolaty and a large amount of red dye.  They’re simple and straightforward and would benefit now from a topping of sliced peaches.  Recipe after the jump.

On another note, I have a bone to pick with certain food writers and food personalities.  Never encourage your audience to use “good” olive oil… or anything “good” for that matter.  The biggest problem is that it is entirely vague.  Does “good” only require that I spend $30 on a liter of olive oil?  I have common sense enough to understand that extra-virgin is preferable because it is less processed, amongst other things, but what beyond that?  Is something “good” only if it is purchased from a charming overpriced food boutique, or at the farm stand three blocks away that I roll up to in my Lexus?   It occurs to me that the people who employ this impotent term live somewhere in between East Hampton and the Left Bank and spout out incompetent foodie jargon primarily because they are incapable of being informative.  Thank god for Alton Brown.

So by all means, pepper your ingredient list with suitable adjectives– fresh, ripe, fragrant, imported, local– but for the love of all that is holy stop demanding that we use “good” mayonnaise if it’s just Best Foods.



  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 2 tbs unsweetened coco powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (plain yogurt also works)
  • 1 tbs red food coloring
  • 1 tsp distilled white vinegar or cider vinegar
  • t tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2 eggs


  • 2 x 8 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temp (halve this if the prospect is horrifying)
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 1/2-1 cup powdered sugar to taste
  • Seasonal fruit, to top

Oven at 350.

Fill a cupcake pan with liners, or butter and flour 2 9″ cake pans.  Sift dry ingredients together.  In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla.  In a mixer cream sugar and butter.  Add the eggs individually, until blended.  Now add dry ingredients and wet, alternating, in about four batches each.

Fill cupcakes 2/3 full.  Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 25-30 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool completely.

To frost, simply beat frosting ingredients and administer generously.  Top with fruit.

Makes about a 18.


August 20, 2009 - Posted by | Wednesday Food


  1. AHAHAHAHAH! And be sure to measure out your salt and pepper, heaven forbid we “season to taste”.

    Comment by Vanessa | August 20, 2009

  2. Are you talking to Ina?

    Comment by Sarah | August 21, 2009

  3. On another note, I have a bone to pick with certain food writers and food personalities. Never encourage your audience to use “good” olive oil… or anything “good” for that matter. The biggest problem is that it is entirely vague.


    This is one of the casual snobberies that drives all non-food-obsessives into a stupor of hopelessness when they are trying to take part in a food discussion. As soon as someone says “Ahi tuna, with good sesame seeds, on good bread…that’s all you need! Why do people complicate things?” all I can think is “I wish I was one of these people who knew what constitutes ‘good sesame seeds’, because I have no hope of enjoying food until I attain that status.”

    Comment by Cryptic ned | August 21, 2009

  4. Comment by Cryptic ned | August 21, 2009

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