Red Velvet Cupcakes

12:09 PM

For our tailgate practice, I also made red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing. They were the perfect thing to make since they're red and white by nature. I got this recipe from smitten kitchen. It's the second recipe (click here for the first) that I've used from there and they have both turned out wonderfully. She takes such great step-by-step pictures that she makes it really easy to follow along.

Red Velvet cake is my absolute favorite. Unless of course, you don't pair it with cream cheese icing. Then I can't stand it and refuse to eat it. It just doesn't work together. I've had my fair share of these delectable cakes over the years and I can honestly say that this was my favorite out of all the recipes. I also get a bit offended when people say it's just chocolate cake with red food coloring. There really isn't that much chocolate in this cake (even though this one has a little more than others).

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Yield: 26 cupcakes (with how we filled them)
-cupcake liners
-3 1/2 cups cake flour*
-1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch process)
-1 1/2 teaspoons salt
-2 cups canola oil
-2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
-3 large eggs
-6 tablespoons (3 ounces) red food coloring (we ended up using only 1 1/2 ounces of the red food coloring)
-1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-2 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

*I highly recommend using cake flour. It makes the cake much fluffier than the denser all purpose flour would.


Preheat the open to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners in muffin tins.

Whisk cake flour, cocoa and sale into a bowl. I would use a smaller bowl for this first step.


Place oil and sugar in the bowl of a electric mixer (I don't have one, so I just used a hand mixer) and beat at medium speed until well-blended.  Beat in eggs one at a time. With the machine on low, very slowly add the red food coloring. (Take care as it may splash). To avoid any splattering, I actually just used a whisk to fold in the food coloring. After adding about half the suggested 3 ounces of food coloring, we decided that it was plenty red. We knew that we had to mix the flour mixture into the red and if it needed to be redder, we would just add more red food coloring to that (we didn't end up adding any more).

Add vanilla. Then add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk in two batched. Scrape down bowl and mix long enough for it to completely combine.


Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running (or elbow grease in this case). Beat for 10 seconds. (As we were making the mixture, I remembered that this is the same process as when you make a volcano erupt in science class. Luckily, that didn't happen here).


Once your batter is ready, divide it evenly into your muffin wells. We filled each one up 3/4 of the way and we came out with the perfect cupcake bump on top. This make 26 cupcakes for us. If you fill it 2/3 of the way, you'll get approximately 35 cupcakes.


Place on the upper rack in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Check the cupcakes at 15 minutes. Check again at 20 minutes and then add a minute additional if needed until a toothpick comes out clean.


Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: 6 cups
-8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
-1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature 
-3 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place cream cheese and butter in medium bowl. With a handheld electric mixer, beat until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add sugar and vanilla. Beat on low speed to combine. I finished combining using a spatula (less mess). If too soft, chill until slightly stiff, about 10 minutes, before using.

I had also gotten some red sanding sugar to put on top of our cupcakes to make them more festive for our Wolfpack tailgate.


Make sure to refrigerate the cupcakes until they are ready to be served since the icing contains dairy.

I'll definitely be making these again soon!

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