A month or so ago a friend of mine asked me if I could create Big Red cupcakes without using a boxed mix as an ingredient. I like challenges. I like Big Red..it tasted a bit like bubbly, liquid red licorice.
I mulled over quite a lot of possibilities. I initially knew that I wanted a pastry cream filling and of course, Big Red frosting.. I had the idea that marshmallows toasted on top would be amazing.
And they would have been, too…but it just didn’t work for me.
A Little Glitter Never Hurt Anyone
I went with a little pink glitter.
Yes, you CAN taste the Big Red. The cream filling adds a nice texture and gives it a bit of a taste boost – sort of like a Big Red Float. I use the eggs from our chickens and the yolks are orange-yellow. Had I thought about it I would have used 4 egg whites rather than 2 eggs to enhance the color. These are a bit on the coral side color-wise because of the yolks. If you want a pinker/redder cake than use egg whites rather than whole eggs.
Beware the Red Dye
Big Red does have red dye in it. I wouldn’t use it often, and if your kids are sensitive to the red dye (and many are) you may want to substitute cream soda with a little cherry juice added to it. You will get a similar flavor and color. Or, just go with the cream soda with no additions.
Big Red soda was created in 1937. It is marketed as a cream soda but I think the flavor is, as I said, more like red licorice. It has not been a hit like Coke or Dr. Pepper but it does have a very loyal following.
And you may be part of that loyal few after you taste these cupcakes.
I did not give the recipe for pastry cream because it isn’t essential in these and I think I have given the same recipe about a million times. If you want to fill the cupcakes (and who wouldn’t) you just need to hollow them out and spoon in about a teaspoon or so of cooled pastry cream.
Big Red Cupcakes Recipe
- 1 cup unsalted butter , room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs , room temperature
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup Big Red soda , room temp
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsalted butter ,softened
- 3-4 cups confectioners ,(powdered) sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Up to 4 tablespoons Big Red
Preheat oven to 350F.
Beat butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beat thoroughly after each addition.
Blend flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda, in a bowl.
Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low until mixed.
Add ½ the Big Red.
Continue to alternate the flour and Big Red ending with the flour.
Scoop into cupcake papers about 3/4 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
Cool and frost with desired buttercream frosting.
Cream together the butter and confectioner's.
Add the Big Red to get a good, spreadable consistency.