Saturday, September 15, 2012

The BEST Red Velvet Cupcakes

So I wanted to post another recipe that's good for Halloween, with the right decorations, or good for any other time of year without them.  I made these Red Velvet cupcakes for our Halloween party last year, which we themed with skeletons.  The red cupcakes look like bloody cakes and I put these awesome sprinkles on top to make the Halloween theme POP:

Red Velvet Cupcakes
(Adapted from a Cupcake Wars recipe)
*Do these cupcakes look blue to you instead of red like they should be?  
Look at Baking Tip #1 below to find out why!*

Yields: 24 cupcakes
Preheat oven to: 350F

Cake Ingredients
  • Dry Ingredients
    • 2 1/2 c. flour
    • 1 1/2 c. sugar
    • 3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1 tsp. salt
  • Wet Ingredients
    • 1 1/3 c. vegetable oil (or try canola oil for a better flavor) 
      • *See Baking Tip #2 to learn why vegetable oil is used instead of butter*
    • 2 large eggs
  • Color Mixture
    • 3/4 c. buttermilk *Don't have buttermilk? See Baking Tip #3 below for a substitute!*
    • 2 tbsp. red food coloring (about half one of these smaller bottles-it's a TON I know!)
    • 1 tbsp. white distilled vinegar
    • 1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set the bowl aside. In a large bowl, combine the oil and eggs. In a small bowl combine the Color Mixture ingredients.  Alternately add the dry ingredients and Color Mixture to the wet ingredients until combined.  Add more food coloring if desired to get a deep rich red color, like so:

Bake for 20-24 minutes. 

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 c. unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
In a large bowl, whip the cream cheese and butter until soft and pliable.  Add powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla extract and combine.

Pipe cream cheese frosting on cupcakes and top with skull sprinkles.  

Baking Tips

  1. Use blue food coloring instead of red to make Blue Velvet cupcakes.  I had a request for chocolate cupcakes with some sort of blue decoration for a baby  (boy) shower.  I recommended this recipe in blue which worked out perfectly!
  2. Vegetable oil is generally used in a recipe for a few reasons.  It makes the cake more moist and dense (usually the thinner the batter, the denser the cake).  It can also replace butter as a vegan substitute. Try canola oil instead of vegetable though since it has a better flavor.
  3. I know I NEVER have buttermilk so I found this "recipe" to make my own.  It's quick, easy, and then you don't have extra buttermilk sitting around that you won't use.  Unless you have a household member who loves it like my weirdo boyfriend...
  4. Want something to carry your cupcakes in?  I recommend this Wilton carrier for 1 dozen regular or 2 dozen mini cupcakes (below).  The tray is also removable so you can carry a full sheet cake instead!
As usual, feel free to ask me any questions you might have or offer any feedback you have on the recipe or how to improve it.  Thanks and enjoy!

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