Cream Cheese Icing for Red Velvet Cupcakes
To finish my previous post on Red Velvet Cupcakes, here are instructions for making standard cream cheese icing. I’ve also included some instructions about how to pipe icing onto the cupcakes using a Ziploc bag.
Cream Cheese Icing
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 packages (8 ounces, each) cream cheese, softened
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 boxes (16 ounces, each) confectioners’ sugar
In a medium bowl, beat butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until creamy.
Jack loves to run the stand mixer, with supervision of course. (This was just after a short walk outside in the cold weather … hence the hood.)
Add confectioners’ sugar, about 1 cup at a time, beating after you add each cup. (Or you can add less at a time, like Jack, if you wish.)
I love how Jack is so serious about his cooking … look at that concentration!
The icing is finished when all ingredients are thoroughly combined and creamy.
If you want, you can decorate each cupcake by spreading the icing on top of each cupcake with a butter knife. This is great for when you are in a rush or when kids want to participate. On the other hand, if you have time and want something that looks a little more professional, you can pipe the icing with a Ziploc bag.
Start with a quart size Ziploc bag. I like to use the Ziploc (name brand) Freezer Bags because they seem to be a little sturdier than the grocery-store or generic brands. To start, gently pull apart one side seam of the bag — about half way down the bag — so that the sides can fold down. This will create a bigger opening, which will make it easier to spoon the icing into the bag.
Now, on the opposite side of the split seam, snip off the bottom corner of the bag. This will create a small opening for the icing to flow out.
Using a spatula, place two large scoops of icing into the bag.
Bring up the sides of the bag and press the icing down toward the cut corner, smoothing out air bubbles as you go.
Here’s a close up of the cut corner.
Now, hold the bag in your hand with the cut corner facing down. Squeeze the bag with light pressure until the icing begins to flow out.
Bring the icing down to the cupcake. Continue to squeeze gently as you move the bag around the perimeter of the cupcake.
This will form the first layer of icing. Continue on to the second, bringing your hand in a few centimeters in order to create a stacked spiral effect.
Then make a third circle and end with a tip in the center. (I realize my instructions are a little clunky … but don’t let that discourage you. If you just try piping with a Ziploc a few times, you will quickly get the hang of it!)
To store the cupcakes, place them in a large baking pan and refrigerate for up to 48 hours. (You can keep them longer than 48 hours, but they won’t taste quite as fresh.)
For a little extra sparkle, I like to finish the cupcakes with simple red sprinkles
. Do this before refrigerating them, as the sprinkles will stick better when the icing is still room temperature. For serving, I like to place each cupcake in a second paper liner; this adds more color and depth. The green and red paper liners were perfect for our Christmas party. You could use red and white or silver for Valentine’s Day, or blue and red for the Fourth of July. Any other ideas? As always, please do share!
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing — Love in a Paper Liner.