Saturday, August 6, 2011

Red Velvet Hippo Cupcakes

For months I have been contemplating pastries in hippo form.  This year I had promised my daughter and a cousin who both had summer birthdays that I would make a hippo cake for the family reunion.  Of course, the whole family knew and we have been discussing what it would look like since before Easter.  That being said, I had to nix the whole cake idea a couple of days before the reunion cause I just wasn't going to have enough time to put the cake together the day we left with everything else I had to do and my work schedules.  Instead, I made hippo cupcakes and I must say I think they turned out great!  There are a few things I feel I should mention sure to try the batter.  It seemed way to bright to me and not very "red velvety" in color and when I tried it, all I could taste was red food coloring so I added more cocoa.  Also, don't be disturbed by the color of the long as it tastes good it will be fine!

Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl.

Add in the butter milk, eggs, oil...

Red food coloring, and vinegar.  I know...interesting look, trust me it gets better!

Mix well and add in vanilla...make sure you taste the batter to ensure the flavors have blended well...

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Spread frosting over the top using an angled spatula.

Using a round pastry tip, pipe on the little snouts.

Use a leaf tip to put on little ears.

Make some eyes and teeth out of candy melts and place on the cupcake. Viola!  Hippos!!

Red Velvet Hippo Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes
Adapted from Paula Dean's recipe

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 Tbsp. red food coloring
1 tsp. white vinegar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F and prepare cupcake tins.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.  In a separate larger bowl, beat together oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a mixer.  Add in the dry ingredients until smooth and completely combined.

Pour batter into the cupcake pans, filling each until about 2/3 to 3/4 full.  Bake in the oven for 18-22 minutes, turning the pan halfway through so that you don't get any hotspots.  Cool on wire racks completely before frosting.

I frosted with my basic buttercream frosting, tinted pink for the hippos.  Normally you would use cream cheese frosting with red velvet.  It's up to you!

To make the hippos, I frosted the top with an angled spatula and piped on a little snout with a round icing tip.  I used a leaf tip for the ears and I used candy melts and made the eyes and teeth on some waxed paper.

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