Sunday, January 30, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I procrastinated for a very long time before breaking down and making red velvet cupcakes. I really didn't get the attraction. Red food coloring? Wth? But, I kept hearing how good they were. Seriously, everytime I brought up the subject, my sister went on and on about how good red velvet cake was. So, today I decided I was going to give it a try.

The very first thing that I had to do was find a good recipe. Naturally, I googled. Holy cow---there are a slew of red velvet cake recipes out there! I found out a few things about the history of the cake, as well. Back in the day, beets used to provide the color. I kind of get that-- like how carrots or zucchini can make baked goods moist. Now, almost all of the recipes use red food coloring. Really, that's the part that gave me some misgivings. A few drops I can understand, but a bottle? Some of those recipes used a 1/4 cup of food coloring! Yikes! I ended up making up my own recipe by picking out the things that sounded good in several recipes:

Red Velvet Cupcakes


2 ½ cups cake flour
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 oz (1 bottle) red food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.; line cupcake pans with liners.

All of the recipes I found used some cocoa powder, but they varied alot....from 1 teaspoon (really?) to 1/2 cup. Most specified a tablespoon or two, so I decided to use just one tablespoon. I was going for the red color.

You can sift it if it makes you feel better. I like to whisk.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa and soda in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, buttermilk and oil and blend well. Stir in the vinegar, vanilla, and almond extract. Add the food coloring, making sure to blend in completely.

Now that is red.

Fill the cupcake liners ¾ full. Bake cupcakes for 15-18 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched.

Frost with buttercream or cream cheese frosting.

I almost decided not to frost them, but I couldn't disappoint. I chose a buttercream frosting this time, but a nice cream cheese frosting is probably classic for a red velvet cake.

The verdict? Yum! Next time I will make them with the cream cheese frosting just to compare.


  1. Beautiful cupcakes! I love your liners too.

  2. I've often wondered about the red velvet obsession myself LOL I wonder mostly if people have tried using a paste or gel food coloring? Anywho, your cupcakes look fantastic! Absolutely perfect in fact! I could obsess over these ;)

  3. Red Velvet is my weakness! These look like perfection

  4. Yummy... I usually only use about 1 TB trying to keep it to a minimum. Then there are times I leave is out all together... velvet cake doesn't HAVE to be red to be delicious. LOL

    That being said, those look phenomenal! I may have to make a cake. I always use the Boiled milk frosting (Ermine) on mine.

  5. They are indeed lovely, and my daughter is always asking if we can make them with the entire bottle... but I'm not a dye fan, so we just haven't made them . Maybe one of these days we'll try too! Nicely done, and your pics make us want to reach out and grab them!

  6. I've made it....and I still don't actually "get it". But thats me. I do have to say....I LOVE your frosting with the pink and white swirl :)

  7. Hi Cathy, so the red in Red Velvet only refers to the food coloring? I always wondered how this was made, and now I know. They look absolutely delicious (and today's Carl's birthday....hmmmmm.....)

  8. Whenever I've made red velvet anything I cut the dye component down a lot. I want to taste my chocolate not the dye. Of course some folks like that taste. The first red velvet cake I made was for a friend's birthday and his wife gave me his favorite recipe (she was afraid of baking) and I personally couldn't stand the flavor, all I could taste was dye, but he adored it.

  9. Well, the red dye is definately there for the color. I guess I didn't taste dye, but I didn't taste chocolate, either (there was only a tablespoon of cocoa). Mainly, it tasted like the almond extract. I would make these again for a special Valentine's day, but next time I might add a little more chocolate.

    Happy Birthday to Carl! I'll bet I can guess how old he is....he was in my first grade class. LOL

  10. Yummmy!!! I amde a cake the other day, i love the flavour!

  11. I have been craving red velvet cupcakes! Yours just makes me want one even more!
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