Red Velvet Cupcakes and Stuffed Acorn Squash

Happy . . . well, snowy first day of April. I couldn't believe it when I woke up to a couple of inches of snow this morning. And snow on my drive to school too. Again. Seriously, are we back in February? But, on a better note, I have 29 days of teaching left. I've finally broken the 30 day mark. Hooray!

In order to celebrate, and just because it's been way too long since I have had red velvet cake, and because it's one of my favorites, I decided I needed to make red velvet cupcakes tonight. I also had afternoon tea with AB today to celebrate. Scones, tea, jam and creme fraiche? Yes, please.
Ok, so it was from a mix, but you have to forgive me . . . I'm a college student and, well, the first and only time we made red velvet cake at home during my childhood, it was a major fail. Like runny frosting seeping everywhere. At least, that's how I remember it. My parents may tell a different story.

I also found these super fancy cupcake liners today that are supposed to stay colorful when you bake them. I like them.
I finally get to use the "homegrown eggs" too. I'm excited. I love that they are speckled.
But what I have done many times to make red velvet cake (with much more success!) is take devil's food cake mix and add red food coloring to it. I guess I need to try it for real again. But, I forgot to get red food coloring today when I got the cake mix. Oops. I really didn't want to compromise the redness, but I also didn't want to go back out in the snow, so I was trying to think of something to use instead. Then, it came to me: Ketchup!
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It's so red, that I figured it would do the trick. So, instead of adding the water to the cake mix, I added ketchup. Sure, it smelled a little funny, but chocolate is so strong, it covered the ketchup flavor right up. Plus, isn't there some sort of tomato soup cake that is just like spice cake? Same idea.
By the way, the super fancy "stay bright" liners? They work. I'm not 100% sure they are worth it, but they work.
Anyway, the consistency was a little different, just because of the different type of batter, but it works. When you're craving cupcakes, you just need cupcakes.

I also had time to make a recipe I have been meaning to make for a very long time: acorn squash with double mushroom stuffing. It's kind of a fall recipe, but, hey, better late than never.
It took a while, but roasting the squash took the longest. I think I have a little bit of "cooking anxiety" because I was fine when I was roasting the squash, but when it came time to make the stuffing on the stove, I was a little nervous. Cooking happens too fast. Not that I don't enjoy cooking. I'm just so much more relaxed when I am baking.
Also, as a college student, I had to work with what I have. And that means instead of walnuts, I used almonds. And instead of currants, I used golden raisins. And I had to use chicken broth that JLG was kind enough to give me because I forgot.
So, I like this recipe, but I also feel like the squash flavor kind of outdid the stuffing. But maybe that's because I had the choice of many, many large or giant squashes, but none of a normal size. That could have something to do with it.
Anyway, I'd make it again. Probably for entertaining, honestly, not just for myself. Although, I do love Israeli couscous. I don't like plain couscous, but I love this stuff. I think it's a consistency thing. Maybe I'll just make the stuffing part.
But it was good. And I have leftovers for later.

Oh, and the cupcakes have something to say:
Thanks to DJR for the idea!


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