Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Oreo cream cheese frosting & red velvet cupcakes

Goodness gracious, why didn't I do this sooner?

These cupcakes.  With this frosting!  It tastes like Oreo cheesecake.  How would you like a mini Oreo cheesecake atop a cupcake?

Ruminate on that for a moment while I digress.

(I tend to do that from time to time.  One of these days I'll cut to the chase, I swear.  Unfortunately for you, today is not that day.)

Halloween is just a few days away, which means Baking Season has begun... and I couldn't be happier.  Swimsuits have been stashed until next summer, and cozy wardrobe staples have taken center stage in my closet.

In three weeks, I've gone through four pounds of butter.  I've made pies, cookies, cakes, and brownies.  I can't seem to keep flour and sugar in the pantry long enough to indulge all of my baking brainstorms and whims.

Some of my ideas have been shelved for a few weeks, partly due to the current season and partly because I haven't yet figured out a way to turn my love of baking into a full-time paying gig.  If you or someone you know is independently wealthy and is interested in making dreams come true, I'd like to direct your attention to the Contact Me widget conveniently located on the right side of your screen :)

Fortunately, many of my sugary plans are suitable at any time for just about any appetite.  Like this Oreo cream cheese frosting.  Because who doesn't love Oreos?!

It seems that red velvet cake dictates one type of frosting and only one -- cream cheese.  People are devout about that pairing.  You can't have one without the other... or can you?

Strangely enough, folks love when cream cheese frosting appears on pumpkin rolls or zucchini cupcakes, neither of which is red or velvety.  Right?

So, as it turns out, you can separate the two without creating international panic.

Feeling inspired, emboldened, and downright hungry, I went one step further and paired red velvet cupcakes with a different kind of frosting.  Not just any run of the mill cream cheese frosting, but a newer, better, cookie-er variety.  A creamy, dreamy icing loaded with Oreo cookie crumbs.

"You bucked tradition!  You're crazy!  How could you?" you may be thinking.  But, I promise you're going to love this.  Just hear me out.

Oreo cream cheese frosting is just a tiny skip beyond the classic.  There's still the trademark subtle tang of the cream cheese.  The rich and smooth texture that makes it impossible to resist a swipe (or two) at the top of a fluffy, crimson cupcake.  It's all there, trust me.

What's also there is an extra oomph.  A pop, zing, and wow on top of all of that goodness.  The Oreo crumbs add a touch of sweetness to the frosting without overpowering it.  And reinforces the subtle cocoa flavor of the cupcake.

Like a mini Oreo cheesecake atop a mini cake.  Be still my heart.

Just in case you thought I was totally off my rocker, I should say that I made a double batch of cupcakes, one of which were topped with traditional cream cheese frosting.

And you know what?  The Oreo cream cheese frosting totally stacked up.  In fact, I preferred it to the original.


Before you call me crazy, whip up a batch and see for yourself.

Then we can be crazy together.

One year ago: Sun-dried tomato parmesan salmon
Two years ago: Sweet potato & black bean quinoa salad with apple cider dressing
Three years ago: Red velvet cake pops
Four years ago: Scallops & chorizo
Five years ago: Pumpkin spice cheesecake brownies

Oreo Cream Cheese Frosting
-makes enough to frost 12-15 cupcakes

A few notes: For the red velvet cupcakes, I used this recipe and reduced ingredients to 2/3 their original quantities, which yielded roughly 26 cupcakes. 

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 ounces (1/2 block) cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Oreo cookie crumbs
Pinch of salt
2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 Tablespoons milk

Using the whisk attachment, beat cool cream cheese on high for 2 minutes.  Add softened butter and continue to beat on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until smooth and well mixed, scraping down bowl as necessary.  Add vanilla, salt, sugar, and milk, and beat on medium high until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Add Oreo crumbs and beat for 1 minute on medium high until uniformly mixed, scraping down bowl as needed.  Frost completely cooled cupcakes.

Frosted cupcakes can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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