I never really understood the whole hype with Red Velvet cupcakes until I started baking a few years ago. I always thought it was weird to eat something with such a strong artificial color to it, and was a bit averse to making them. After some perusing, I found another baker with the same thought process, and discovered this recipe on Joy the Baker (a fabulous blog, if you haven’t yet stumbled upon it). These Red Velvets have the delicious, lightly chocolate cake the type is known for, but are a subtle shade of rouge that won’t make you feel like you’ll be peeing red.
À la Martha, I tend to prefer Dutch processed cocoa for its milder flavor and use gel pastes for my food coloring, so those changes are reflected in the recipe below. I finish it off with my trusty, pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting, adding a bit of cinnamon for a surprise and finally top it off with a cinnamon candy heart in honor of the holiday. Enjoy and remember to share the love!
Red Velvet Cupcakes
adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 3 Tablespoons dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder (like Pernigotti)
- 1/4 tsp red gel paste food coloring
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 5/8 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Turn mixer to high and add the egg. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.
- Add in cocoa, vanilla and red food coloring, mixing thoroughly 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.
- Turn mixer to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and all of the salt and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.
- Turn mixer to low and add baking soda and white vinegar. Turn to high and beat until well incorporated.
- Scoop batter into a paper lined cupcake baking pan and bake at 325 F for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean.
- Let rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then place them of a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
(makes 2 cups, more than enough for 12 cupcakes, maybe closer to 16)
- 8 ounces cream cheese, cold
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted (measure, then sift into bowl)
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Have the cream cheese cold and the butter at room temperature. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until blended. Add sugar one-third at a time and beat just until smooth and the desired consistency. If frosting is too stiff, beat for few seconds longer. Do not overbeat. Stir in cinnamon to taste.
- To finish, use a piping bag to frost cupcakes. Garnish each with a cinnamon heart.