Last February, the American Women’s Club of Antwerp celebrated its 89th anniversary at our annual Founder’s Day luncheon. An elegant affair, as always, we traveled through the decades celebrating fashion and the history of the club. We were invited to dress in the decade of our choice, applauded the women of the club who were celebrating significant anniversaries, and concluded the already-sophisticated meal with a luscious slice of red velvet cake. The cake was homemade by our Activities Director, Ariadna and I messaged her afterwards for the recipe. Months later, my son turned 7 and he requested red velvet cupcakes to share with his Belgian classmates at school. That afternoon, as I picked him up, a girl from his class tugged on my sleeve. “Lekker cupcakes!” she said, and I gleamed. Elegant enough for an American Women’s Club Founder’s Day celebration and tasty enough for a Belgian 7th birthday classroom party, this recipe pleases all audiences. (Note, this recipe makes about 15 cupcakes, so you may need to double the recipe depending on the party attendance)
2 1/2 cups (310 grams) flour
1/4 cup (25 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (Pearl of wisdom, cocoa powder is stocked with the teas and coffees in Europe)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk (karnemelk)
1 Tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon white vinegar (witte azijn)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cup (190 grams) sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese (225 grams), at room temperature
3/4 cup (1 ½ sticks or 170 grams) butter at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups (385 grams) powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius)
In a small bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large measuring cup or small bowl, mix buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar on medium speed with a hand mixer for about a minute, until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined. With the mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients and the wet ingredients – alternating in three parts. Beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the sides of the bowl and continue to mix.
Line muffin tins with paper liners and spoon batter into cups, filling 3/4 cup full. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick, when inserted into the center, comes out clean. Cool in pans and frost cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Mix cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a bowl using a hand mixer, until combined. Do not whip. Add powdered sugar until smooth.