Thursday, April 23, 2015

All Natural Red Velvet Whoopie Pie

If anyone used a recipe that requires red food coloring, they know that it takes A LOT of that "lovely red chemical liquid" to get the bright red color that everyone wants to see. Anything Red velvet is no exception.

So I decided to do some research to find an All Natural red food color. I found Red beets to be a good substitute. Now the recipe that I found didn't use beet juice, it required beet puree, so there are extra steps to take before starting the recipe. Also it has a lovely reward of lightly dyed red fingers.

I believe I decided on red beet puree because I learn to love the flavor of red beets and also I remember roasting POUNDS red beets when I was a line cook for one beet salad on the menu. No doubt, very popular.

The recipe is from Allie from Baking A Moment. A former pastry chef who shares the same passion that I have. Having any free time from work and life; Just run straight to the kitchen and make magic from scratch.

Base Recipe: All Natural Red Velvet Whoopie Pie

This was the recipe I used as my base recipe. I made some changes which I will explain a bit later and the reason why I decided to do it this way. Additionally there were factors that I would've done differently because it affected the final product.

The new recipe:
All Natural Red Velvet Whoopie Pie
Author: adapted by
Yield: 18 Whoopie Pie

1 cup granulated sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 egg, room temperature and separated
3/4 cup beet puree
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or bean paste)
1 3/4 cup AP flour
2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or bean paste)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cream the butter and 3/4 cup of sugar until fluffy and white.
3. Mix in the egg yolk.
4. Whisk together the beet puree, buttermilk, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and vanilla until combine.
5. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Mix until combine.
6. In a clean separate bowl and clean whisk, whip the egg whites until the frothy and white. While whisking, slowly sprinkle in the remaining sugar and whisk until stiff peaks.
7. Fold in the meringue in 2 parts until the batter is smooth. First lightening the heavy batter, and then lightly fold in the remaining meringue to keep as much air as possible.
8. Using a 1 1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop the batter onto 3 half sheet trays (4 by 3 scoops of batter).
9. Bake in the oven for 6 minutes. Rotate, then bake for another 6 minutes. (If baking more than 1 half sheet, rotate front to back and switch the position.)
10. Cool completely.
11. Cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Taste. Add more if needed.
12. Spread about a tablespoon of cream cheese filling. Enjoy!

It's time for iPhone Pictures (might want an upgrade one day):

Now it's time for the changes I've made from the base recipe. 
Firstly, I omitted the almond extract just because I don't have that in my pantry; I will always have a bottle of vanilla bean paste though. 

The next change is taking out 1/4 cup of sugar from the creaming of the butter and sugar stage because by adding sugar to the meringue, it prevents from over whipping the whites and creating a Styrofoam textured meringue. It is really hard to fold in over whipped meringue because you'll lose more air before the batter is homogeneous and smooth.   

I've mentioned before that there was a factor that affected the final product. I was referring to the color of the red velvet whoopie pie. The color is a dark red color and not the bright red that all red velvet is known for. Allie said in her post, that the reason why I got the dark red-purple color is because the cocoa powder. I used a blended (Natural and Dutch-Processed) cocoa powder and the dutch-processed cocoa powder created the darker color because of the change in pH of the batter. The taste is still good, but as an aspiring pastry chef, I want everything to look right, so when its red velvet, it should really be red. 

The taste was good. It had a pleasant chocolate flavor with subtle earthy flavor (from the beets). The cream cheese filling adds a slight creaminess and tang, which is the miniature version of the slice of cake. My Cream cheese frosting looks yellow rather than white is because I don't want to whip too much air to a point where it starts to weep and break down. I thought the cake was fluffy and moist already that it didn't needed extra air, just enough to spread the frosting. 

How to make beet puree:
Cut the tops and bottom off the 3 small beet root. Scrub lightly until water. Wrap the beets in foil. Bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour and 30 minutes or until fork tender. Let them cool until cool enough to handle. Use gloves and paper towels, rub the skin off the beets. You'll know when the skin is removed, when the beets shines until the light. Cut the beets into bite size pieces and place into a food processor. Blend it for a minute, stopping twice to make sure there are no large pieces of beets. This has to be a very smooth puree. 

I really hope you would try this recipe and let me know how it turns out. 

If you have any question for me, leave a comment down below.
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