November 7, 2011

A vision in red

Do you know that store, Anthropologie?  It’s a unique clothing and home store.  It has a bohemian flair that just draws you inside.  My friend Rachel introduced me to this store for the first time.  Before her initiation, I had only heard about this store, but I hadn’t known about it.  Today, I do frequent the store from time to time.  Every time that I’m in there, I feel as if I were in an antiquity museum.  The atmosphere, with scented candles burning all over the store, transcends me to a different era.  It is magical.  Sometimes, I feel that I go there only to relax and clear up my mind.  For me, this works better than yoga!   

Unfortunately, clothing wise, I hardly ever find anything that would fit me.  But I always find something in the home section that would fascinate me.  I practically get lost in their house & home area.  From their colorful cups and lemon-shaped sugar holders, to their interior design ideas and cookbooks, Anthropologie has it all, and they all catch my eyes and curiosity.  Sometimes, I get lost in there, in the ideas and selections.  I simply forget about the world outside, and get transported into a whimsical world.  

I can’t help myself and I always skim through the pastry books, especially those about cupcakes.  I sprawl onto a sofa and start getting mesmerized.  I really like cupcakes!  They deliver a delectable array of flavors and colors in a petite, elegant, individual package.  You can make them extra special on top, and dress them up in any kind of paper costume you like.  Not to mention that they are so fun and easy to make.  What else can you ask for?

This week, I’ve decided to try something new.  I’ve never made red velvet cupcakes.  I’ve always been intrigued by the red velvet cake, so I thought, why not transform the cake into cupcakes?  And for that, I found the perfect recipe – Chuck Hughes’s Red Velvet Cupcakes recipe.  Chuck Hughes is a world-renowned Canadian chef.  He loves food so much that he has his favorite foods tattooed on his arms.  If you didn’t know he was a chef, you would think he’d be a tattoo artist or some rock and roll, unconventional, tough guy.  But, fortunately for all of us, he is an amazing chef, who shows a lot of finesse and creativity in his food.  And these cupcakes are here to prove it!

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Adapted slightly from Red Velvet Cupcakes by Chuck Hughes

Yield: 20 - 24 cupcakes

Ingredients for the cupcakes:

•    1 ½ cups sugar
•    2 eggs, at room temperature
•    1 ½ cups vegetable oil
•    1 cup plain yogurt, such as Dannon
•    2 Tablespoons red food coloring
•    1 teaspoon vinegar
•    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•    2 ½ cups flour
•    1 Tablespoon cocoa
•    1 teaspoon baking soda
•    1 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for the icing:

•    2 cups mascarpone or cream cheese, at room temperature
•    1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
•    ½ cup heavy cream
•    Zest of 1 lemon


For the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, beat the sugar, eggs, oil, yogurt, vinegar and vanilla with an electric hand mixer.  Using a rubber spatula, mix in the food coloring.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the red mixture and blend until just incorporated.

Place paper cupcake liners into a muffin pan, and divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, pouring only halfway so the batter doesn’t overflow.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Remove the cupcakes and let cool.

For the icing:

In a bowl, blend the mascarpone, confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream, and lemon zest together until the mixture is smooth.  Spoon a dollop of mascarpone cream on the cupcakes.  

The cupcakes are red and elegant on the outside, velvety and moist on the inside, and the lemon zest in the mascarpone icing brightens them up.  Like Chuck says, “these sweet bundles of heaven are just delicious”.  And they will definitely bring a pop of color to your holiday table.  Enjoy!


  1. They look amazing! Louise

  2. Yum! Can you send some my way? :))) And yay for Anthropologie