Admittedly, there wasn't much cracking to be done. Recall that the sea-level recipe for Hummingbird Bakery red velvet cupcakes worked perfectly fine at high-altitude; the only problem was that these cupcakes had wrinkly, old-man tops instead of the smooth, good-looking cupcake tops they would have had at sea-level. I tried altering the amount of baking soda in the recipe several times, but these attempts yielded cupcakes that were inferior in flavor.
Finally, I threw down the towel and accepted that the sea-level recipe was perfectly fine for high-altitudes. I begrudgingly remade the sea-level recipe to see if the results would be consistent; to my surprise, I was awarded with smoother cupcake tops.
I decided that I may have overmixed my first batch of red velvet cupcakes; overmixing leads to too many air bubbles in baked goods, and these air bubbles expand in the heat. Too many of them causes baked goods to be bloated. So I followed the sea-level recipe again, this time creaming the butter and sugar together for 3 minutes instead of the usual 5 minute creaming process recommended by the Hummingbird Bakery.
These were the results:
The Amended 3-Minute Cream
Wa-hey! Not bad, eh? They look as smooth as the red velvet cupcakes I made at sea-level.
If you look closely at the photo above, you'll notice that the cupcakes in the pink cupcake cases are bigger than the cupcakes in the yellow cupcake cases. This was done on purpose. My first attempt had resulted in cupcakes that had bloated tops:
I wondered if I had spooned too much batter into them. I had followed the Hummingbird Bakery recipe's recommendation, filling the cases up until 2/3rds full, but this seemed like too much.
Since I use a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop to ensure that all my cupcakes are the same size, I decided to experiment with different amounts of batter quantities in the cupcake cases. This time around, I filled the pink cases with 2 tablespoons of batter, while the yellow were only filled with 1 1/2 tablespoons.
These were the results:
To be honest, I much prefer the cupcake to the left with 2 tablespoons of batter. It had a slightly better texture -- definitely more moist than the cupcake to the right with only 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter. Sure, although its top is slightly more bloated, the cake clears the case -- making it significantly easier to frost. Frosting cupcakes when the cake doesn't clear the case (as depicted by the cupcake to the right) is a hassle -- I usually end up accidentally taking part of the case off as I try and spread the frosting evenly.
Perhaps a good compromise would be filling the cases up with 1 3/4 tablespoons of batter, yes? Either way, phew. I'm glad this recipe is cracked! I never thought I'd say this, but I was starting to get sick of eating all those red velvet cupcakes!
Stay tuned for the final, official recipe for my next post!