Red Velvet Cupcakes


December 11, 2010 by buttermilkbaker

Greetings from…the Boy! Here we have them, the famed, the delicious, the oh-so-red Red Velvet Cupcakes:

Now as you all know, Buttermilk Baker is a pretty finicky eater.  A lover of spices, seasonings, and ketchup in salads (weird), she has to have things just right in order to be happy.  Therefore the pressure was on when she demanded politely asked me to whip up a red velvet cake in honor of her birthday.  I am many things (oooohh…mysterious!), but I am no baker.  Thankfully, Buttermilk Baker helped me create these little goodies and they were verry well received (if I do say so myself) at a dinner we held to celebrate her twenty-two years of making this earth a better place.

First off, I have literally no idea why red velvet cake has to be red. You can add food coloring to pretty much anything and it seems to be completely random that this generic cocoa and butter cake has such a desire to be reddish.  I think I’m onto something, though, and that is that red is a very versatile color!  Red symbolizes a lot of things…love, passion, hate, and anger being just a few.  Red cupcakes are thus extremely adaptable to any sort of situation in which you might find yourself.  You can give them to someone with the intent of saying “I love you, care about you, blahblahblah,” and could just as easily hand them over to your mortal enemy, trying to convey a “try these…if you dare…and if you like subtle notes of rat poison in your dessert” sort of message.

Also, most of the pictures we found online prove that the cake oftentimes isn’t even that red, anyways.  It’s sort-of-red velvet cake.  I don’t get it.  Go big or go home.  I went big, but more on that later.

The process of making these little red bundles of holiday cheer is actually remarkably easy. (Especially thanks to that recently acquired KitchenAid mixer…) You mix together butter, eggs, flour, sugar, way too much food coloring, and maybe some other things to make a batter (if I’m getting too specific with the instructions here, let me know).  You then pour the batter into lined muffin tins and bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees, I think.  While they’re baking, you can make the frosting using more butter, cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla extract.  When the cupcakes are done and cooled, you top them with this frosting.  The red velvet + cream cheese frosting go well together, hence our generous inclusion of both recipes in this post.  A truly novel approach to food blogging, I know.

A note about the cupcakes: they are RED. The recipe we used called for 3 tablespoons of food coloring, but we only had a small bottle of red food coloring and knowing it would be less than 3 tablespoons, we just threw the whole thing right in the mix. Told you I went big. What we were unaware of, however, was that our gel was about 999999999999% more powerful than typical watery food coloring.  Sorry, I am not.  If Buttermilk Baker asks for red velvet cupcakes, she will get red velvet cupcakes.  And like them.  Dammit.

Happy Kwanzaa everyone.


Isn’t he cute? What a sweet, sweet boy. At least when he’s putting something on the internet. On my blog, specifically. The one he knows my grandma reads (Hi, Granpat!).

Ah, I’ll take what I can get.

So what am I doing here? Well I’m here to show you the step-by-step photos of our RVC-making experience, of course! As wonderful a job B-Boy did with explaining the ins and outs of cupcake making, I figured I might want to fill in, um, the gaps.

Creaming the butter + sugar.

The bowl of food coloring paste that has been forever dyed red.

As have our fingers.

Look at that batter!

Bravo, B-Boy–you have a knack for filling cupcake tins, I have to say. I wonder what the money’s like in batter pouring these days…

Ingreds for delicious cream cheese frosting.

Whip, whip, whip!

Badda bing badda boom–done!

Just in time for the cupcakes.

I filled a gallon-size Ziploc with the frosting and snipped off the corner for a DIY piping bag.

How pretty do these look?

They tasted even better.

Thank you, Buttermilk Boy, for being such a good sport and for making this birthday oh-so special. You’re my favorite.

Red Velvet Cupcakes (from Brown Eyed Baker)

Yield: 12 cupcakes, Prep time: 30 minutes (if you’re working, um, a little slowly), Bake time: 15 minutes

For the Cupcakes:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons red food coloring
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk (we made our own with 1 tbsp vinegar + enough milk to make 1/2 cup)
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons distilled white vinegar

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 ounces butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar (we ran out and probably used only 2 cups, still tasted deelish)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin/cupcake pan with liners.

2. On medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to high and add the egg. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.

3. In a separate small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter and mix on medium speed until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.

5. Again, reduce the mixer speed to low and add the salt, baking soda and vinegar. Turn to high and beat for another couple of minutes until completely combined and smooth.

6. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a thin knife or skewer inserted into the center of the largest cupcake comes out clean.

7. Cool for 10 minutes and then remove cupcakes from the pan and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

8. Using the whisk attachment, whip the butter and cream cheese on high speed for about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl down as necessary. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar until all is incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Increase the speed to medium high and whip for a few minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary.


One thought on “Red Velvet Cupcakes

  1. […] Recipe courtesy of Baking with Buttermilk […]

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