Saturday, August 30, 2008

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I made these for our summer intern's goodbye party, as a tribute to her southern roots. Paula Deen's recipe looked popular online, but I took note of comments about the recipe being too oily and the funny undertaste of food coloring and made adjustments. Actually, the latter adjustment was involuntary -- I had only a half-bottle of red food coloring, about half a tablespoon (a quarter of what the recipe called for), and the batter still came out scarlet, like a pretty nail polish, as you can see here.

It effectively tastes like yellow cake, and I used my own cream cheese frosting recipe, which goes on all my carrot cakes and pumpkin squares. They made a great first impression on my coworkers, but some of them asked, "What's in them?" Doesn't everyone know what red velvet cake is? A couple even wrinkled their faces and walked off when I joked, "red food coloring," but they generally got great reviews.

RED VELVET CUPCAKES (Adapted from Paula Deen's)
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 tbs red food coloring
1 tsp white distilled vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl, lightly beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer. Stir in the dry ingredients.
Fill the cupcake tins about 2/3 full, and bake 20 to 22 minutes. Turn the pans around halfway through baking. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting. Makes 24 cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat the cream cheese and butter together on high, and then mix in the confectioners sugar and vanilla extract on low. Frost cupcakes with an offset spatula or piping bag fitted with a star tip. Or snip the corner off a Ziploc bag to make a makeshift piping bag.


  1. Oh my! I wish I could have one! You decorated them so beautifully! I realized belatedly while icing the carrot cupcakes that my star tip was a bit narrow.

  2. Thanks! It was really easy, and funny because the editors in the adjacent office got intrigued by my piping on-site and tapped the glass to ask me about it. LOL


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