Red Velvet Cupcakes

I used to think of red velvet cake as just another buttermilk cake with lots of liquid food coloring and a hint of cocoa, but with their tremendous popularity in recent times I was tempted to try them.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Red velvet cupcakes have a moist and tender crumb with a subtle chocolate flavor which comes from using just a tablespoon of cocoa in this recipe. The buttermilk (which you can easily make at home too) makes them really light and fluffy. For me, the best part is the cream cheese frosting. I used the recipe from Joy of Baking. For the cupcakes , I followed the recipe as given but for the cream cheese frosting frosting I increased the sugar to one and a half cups. I’m not a fan of super sweet frostings but I felt that just half a cup of sugar with a block of cream cheese made the frosting taste salty. I also increased the vanilla by half a spoon.

Ingredients for cupcakes:
1 1/4 cups (125 grams) sifted cake flour

1 tablespoons (10 grams) regular or Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cups (150 grams) granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk (To make buttermilk at home mix 1/2 cup milk with 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar. Let it stand for 5-10 minutes before using)
1 tablespoon liquid red food color
1/2 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and line 12 muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.
I2 )n a large bowl sift together the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa,baking powder, salt)
3) In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).
4) Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Scrape downthe sides of the bowl.Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.
5) In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
6) In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.
7) Working quickly, divide the batter evenly among the 12  muffin cups and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 18 -23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
8) Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then remove from pan. Let cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces (227 grams) block cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup (60 grams) icing sugar, sifted
2/3 cup (160 ml) cold heavy whipping cream (double cream)
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and icing sugar and beat until smooth. Using the whisk attachment, gradually add the heavy cream and whip until the frosting is thick.

One reason why I had resisted this cake for so long was because the idea of using so much food coloring didn’t really appeal to me. I had read about people’s attempts to use beet juice instead of artificial red color but they have not been successful in getting the bright red color that these cakes/cupcakes are known for. I guess it’s OK to use food coloring once in a while, since it is approved by the FDA. Even in my cake decorating ventures I try not to go overboard with food colors .

Bitten red velvet cupcake
One  problem that I faced  with this recipe was the consistency of the frosting. Even with the additional sugar it was too runny for piping swirls. After watching Stephanie’s video closely, I later discovered that many others had also faced this problem. She mentioned that this could be because of low fat whipping cream but in my case it was not true as I had used whipping cream with 35% fat. Next time I will use the cream cheese+butter combination rather than whipping cream . This time I just used a round tip (Wilton Tip 12) to spread the frosting in a circle.
With Valentine’s Day just round the corner, I had found these cute little pink,white and red heart shaped sprinkles, candies and baking cups which I thought would go perfectly with the red and white color of red velvet cupcakes. However, I personally don’t like the feel of sprinkles in my mouth so I decorated a few cupcakes with sprinkles while for the rest I crumbled one cupcake and used the red crumbs to decorate them.
Red Velvet Cupcakes for Valentine's Day
I’m sending this to the following events:
Valentine’s Event  at Anzz Cafe
Valentine’s Day Event at Teenz’ Yummy Delights
Bake Fest started by Zesty Palette and guest hosted by The The Pumpkin Farm
ABC Series – Desserts at Ramya’s Recipe

46 comments on “Red Velvet Cupcakes

  1. I also do not like a lot of food coloring in my cakes as kids eat much of the baked goodies at home. This is very tempting and you have done a fab job.
    Love Ash.

  2. Ahh..this is so pretty & yum!! Loved the colours which is perfect for a Valentine! Thanks a lot for linking with my event 🙂 Hoping to see more of your creativity before Feb 20th!

  3. Hi there!Thanks for the lovely words on my blog. You have a nice blog in here. Loved the cupcakes. Red velvet cake is in fashion now I guess. I see it on every blog!!I am not sure how I will take that much of colour in, wanted to try it too!May be I will make it and give it away.Yours have come out brilliant!

  4. Thanks Teena. I hope your event is a great success. I have a few more ideas in mind which are suitable for your event. I hope I get the chance to post them since I’m going on vacation soon.

  5. Thanks Haleema. Actually, this is the third recipe I have tried for cream cheese frosting and none of them have been good enough for piping. Last time I tried cream cheese with white chocolate frosting which thickened after refrigeration but was a bit lumpy (due to chocolate bits), so I guess I need to work on getting the perfect temperature for all the ingredients. If you have a good recipe for cream cheese frosting which is not too sweet and is suitable for piping please let me know..

  6. This is quite a popular cake and it looks lovely..:) I like the frosting which looks yummy..

    Perfect for this valentine season ..

  7. Thanks Jay. A good chicken curry recipe is always welcome since it’s a staple on my dinner table…will try out yours. I’m not very fond of packaged masalas but once in a while I give in to the convenience that they offer.

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