Red Velvet Cupcakes: Now with 100% More Flavor!

I know it’s not Valentine’s Day anymore, but bear with me for a few more Valentine’s Week posts.. These were supposed to go up LAST week, but unfortunately, they either didn’t turn out right, or didn’t get made, so Valentine’s Week has been extended to 2 weeks! Why not show a little more love?

I finally got the Red Velvet Cupcakes right! Or at least got closer to right than I was. I had this great idea last week to post delicious red velvet cupcakes with fluffy cream cheese frosting, topped with a beautiful bouquet of fondant roses.. Absolute perfection for Valentine’s Day. I ended up with tasteless red cake, frosting that was good, but not good enough to save the cake, and mediocre roses that just looked kind of sad sitting on top of the mess I had made of my idea. I didn’t even give them away. They sat on my kitchen table for 3 days, taunting me, until I just threw them away. Talk about disappointment.

I think I’ve trained my coworkers a little too well to expect treats on holidays, because all weekend long, without even knowing about my disappointing attempt, they kept asking me, “Where are the cupcakes?” One even said the only thing she thought about on her walk to work was that there were bound to be cupcakes waiting for her when she got there. And she was sad when there weren’t. So Monday morning, I got up and tried Red Velvet Cupcakes one more time. To MUCH better results.

They were super moist (almost a little too moist for my liking, but Boyfriend raved) and actually had a taste to it! Even though they were up against a delicious chocolate cake another coworker had brought in, they disappeared within an hour and a half—and there were harsh words yelled when the last one was nabbed. I’ll take that as a good sign.

So was it the oil rather than butter that made the second attempt taste so much better than the first? Was it 2 tablespoons of cocoa instead of 1? Cake flour vs. AP, or white vinegar vs. cider vinegar? Who knows. It could’ve been one or all of the above that made the difference, but at least I feel a bit more redeemed. Hope you had a great Valentine’s Day!

P.S.- Excuse the rather awful pictures.. I was half asleep when I took them and I only made it through about 10 tries before I gave up and just ate the cupcake for breakfast.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes

2 ½ cups cake flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon red gel-paste food coloring, or 1 tablespoon liquid red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in food coloring and vanilla.
3. Reduce speed to low and add in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together baking soda and vinegar until foamy; add mixture to the batter and beat well to combine.
4. Divide batter evenly between prepared cups, filling three-quarters of the way full. (The usual 2 tablespoons of batter isn’t enough for these cupcakes. Fill a little fuller, otherwise you’ll have really short cupcakes.) Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool completely before removing cupcakes. (If you get a couple that the tops have spilled over onto the pans and seem stuck, run a knife around the edges of the cupcake to release before pulling them out of the tins to avoid ripping the tops off.) Once cooled, top with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes
Makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ packages (8 ounces each) full fat cream cheese, almost room temperature*
1 ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

*Note: I always have issues with my cream cheese frosting being almost runny, making it really hard to pipe onto cupcakes. After researching how to keep it thick, I saw on How to Eat a Cupcake to have the cream cheese cold rather than at room temperature. I tried this the first time and it really did work to keep it thick, however, it was almost too thick and practically popped my piping bag. So my second attempt, I took it out of the fridge about a half an hour to 45 minutes before I made my frosting, so it had softened a bit, but still had a bit of chill to it. It worked much better keeping it thick yet pipeable.

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until well combined. (I actually cut both my butter and cream cheese into cubes to make it easier to beat them together without over beating.) Add salt and vanilla extract, beating until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Gradually add in confectioners’ sugar and beat until fluffy. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.
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oneordinaryday said...

Looks perfect. No wonder they disappeared so quickly

Spread The Love said...

I just made these cupcakes two days ago. Your recipe is absolutely fabulous! I have just restarted my blog and have written up your website on mine in my first few articles. I truly enjoy following your site!


Lani said...

I'm totally behind on asking this, but could they be made a different color? Say bright pink, blue, or green? My concern is the darkness of the cocoa powder. IDK. I'm still new at all this. ;) I guess the worst that could happen (color wise!) is I end up with muck colored cupcakes that still taste fabulous!

Danae - The Busty Baker said...

I've seen blue velvet before, and green for St. Patrick's Day, but I didn't look closely at the recipes to see if they're a red velvet recipe or a white cake that's been dyed. I'll have to check them out and let you know!

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