Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Despite last week’s creativity, this week I’m going with a classic: red velvet cake. I’m rather embarrassed to admit that I didn’t realize that red velvet is really just chocolate cake with red food dye :-/ But it’s delicious!

Red velvet cake always reminds me of the holidays when my great aunt would bring an aaaaaa-mazing red velvet cake to Christmas dinner. It’s such a comfort food! The rich texture, the treacly-sweet frosting…so good. Even though it’s summer (just barely anymore!), red velvet cake instantly brings me back.

This is my second attempt, and everyone has their own version of the red velvet cupcake. Although, I want to vent about something that I encountered a lot while looking for recipes: people bitching about the red food dye. They wanted something “natural” and “healthier”. Dude…you’re making cupcakes. They’re not exactly beacons of health.

Anyway, let’s ooh and ahh over cupcakes. I made these with cream cheese frosting, and I’ve found it absolutely necessary to mix in the cream cheese while it’s cold (not softened like many recipes call for). Warm cream cheese is runny and gross, so keep it cold!

This recipe is mildly adapted from Joy the Baker‘s website, who got it from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cupcakes

1 stick butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons red food dye
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Baking Temperature: 350 degrees
Baking Time: 20-25 minutes

  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
  2. Add eggs and beat until well incorporated.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, vanilla and red food coloring to make a thick paste.  Add to the batter, mixing thoroughly until completely combined.
  4. 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, mixing until combined.
  5. Add baking soda, white vinegar, and salt and mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
  6. Spoon batter into a paper lined cupcake baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean.
  7. Allow cupcakes to sit in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and place onto cooling racks to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
(from AllRecipes)

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, cold and cubed
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and and sugar.
  2. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually mix in the cream cheese cubes.
  3. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

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