Red Velvet Cupcakes

June 6, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red: the colour of passion, lust, desire.

It’s the colour of roses bursting into bloom.

Nervous blushes & giggles. Love.

Factoid of the day: did you know that women wearing red are perceived as more attractive to men? By my logic, I’d say a lady wearing red whilst holding a red velvet cupcake would be darn irresistible. Must try this at the pub next week, he he.

Such sexy little cupcakes, with their bold red colour and innocent white creamy frosting. Give them to a special someone, and let the science speak for itself.

But what exactly is Red Velvet Cake, oh Cake Mistress? Glad you asked. Red Velvet is a light cocoa and vanilla flavoured moist cake topped with a white fluffy cream cheese frosting. Say no more indeed.

The red colouring originally came from the cocoa, however, the bold colouring is achieved nowadays with very liberal use of red food colouring. Although I’ve made cupcakes here, you could up the dreamy cream cheese factor and make a red velvet layer cake instead.

Red inspires passion, lust & desire. And cupcakes? Also inspire passion, lust & desire.
So the two combined? Well, my friends, that’s love :)

RED VELVET BAKING TIPS:

  • The bi-carb soda, white wine vinegar and buttermilk are essential to the recipe. Do not omit them or change the quantities.
  • For the red colour, i’d use a liquid red food colouring and use 20 ml. Queen brand is excellent. I’ve previously advocated using a gel/paste, which can be harder to source. Also, some brands of gel/paste I’ve encountered have a strong bitter taste to them, ruining the cupcakes and causing a really dense or chewy texture.
  • The key to these cupcakes, and most cake recipes, is to know when to stop mixing. The only time it’s ok to whip things to a frenzy is when creaming the butter and sugar together, and adding eggs. This is adding volume to your cake by whipping air into the batter. But from that point onwards, you really want to minimise mixing, because you might be beating the air out, which will deflate your cupcakes. Also, if you overbeat flour, you’re likely to get tough cupcakes.
  • Electric mixers have their place, for sure. But when it comes to adding ingredients like flour, the safest option is to just use a wooden spoon and gently stir it in. The aim is to ensure the ingredients are evenly mixed only.
  • Carefully weigh all ingredients and make sure they are the correct ones. Sounds silly I know, but it’s easy to accidentally pick up the plain flour instead of self raising and vice-versa.
  • Bi-carb soda, which is similar to baking soda, is not the same as baking powder. They cannot be directly swapped. In this recipe, the bi-carb soda reacts with acid (white wine vinegar) to create lots of fizzy bubbles and help give the cupcakes their desired texture. Remember making exploding volcanoes at school? Yeah, like that on a small scale. Using powder is going to balls things up. And check the expiry date!
  • Buttermilk is also acidic, and helps counteract the tangy taste of bi-carb soda. Using regular milk isn’t recommended, as it will affect the flavour at the very least.
  • Check that your oven is calibrated correctly. Quite often the temperature on the oven knob doesn’t match the temperature inside!
  • Red flags that your oven is too hot and/or the cupcakes aren’t cooking on the centre rack: large domes, very cracked tops, exploding cupcakes.

I’ve made a video tutorial demonstrating how I make them and what they should look like. It’s really tricky for me to know what went wrong if they look or taste strange, but I can show you what happens when they go right. The tutorial is up on YouTube here 

 

RED VELVET CUPCAKES

YOU WILL NEED

Cupcakes
60 g Unsalted Butter, room temp
150 g Caster Sugar
1 large Egg, lightly beaten
10 g Cocoa Powder
20 ml Red Food colouring, liquid gel/paste
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
120 ml Buttermilk
150 g Plain flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Bicarb Soda
1 1/2 teaspoon White wine Vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting
300 g Icing sugar, sifted
50 g Unsalted butter, room temp
125 g Cream Cheese, slightly softened

Makes 12

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 170c. Line a 12-hole cupcake tin with patty cases.
  2. Place butter and sugar in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well mixed.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the food colouring, cocoa powder and vanilla extract until it makes a thick paste.
  4. Add the paste to the butter mixture and beat thoroughly until the colour is mixed evenly through the batter. Be sure to scrape down any stray batter from the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. The mix should be a deep rose pink/red.
  5. On slow speed, slowly add half the buttermilk until just mixed then add half the flour until just mixed. Repeat for the remaining milk and flour.
  6. Add the salt, bicarb and vinegar, beating only until they are fully incorporated.
  7. Spoon a heaped tablespoon of mixture into each paper cases until no more than two-thirds full.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes on the centre oven rack, or until the top of a cupcake bounces back when lightly touched. (A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean).
  9. Once the cupcakes have cooled slightly in the tray, remove them and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the cream cheese frosting.
  10. In a food processor or electric mixer, beat the icing sugar and butter until it has a sandy texture.
  11. Dice the cream cheese into smaller cubes then add to the mix one-by-one, beating until completely combined. Do not worry if the mixture seems too thick halfway through; it will thin itself out as more and more cream cheese is added.
  12. On medium-high speed, continue beating the frosting until it becomes light and fluffy. This takes around five minutes.
  13. When the cupcakes are cold, pipe the cream cheese frosting on top, or use an icecream scoop to dollop the frosting on the top.

(Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)
The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

  • http://simonfoodfavourites.blogspot.com Simon Food Favourites

    i tried red velvet cake just the other week at Sharon Wee Creations but I couldn’t really taste anything distinctive. if you use cocoa rather than red colouring then is it supposed to have a particular taste? looks very eye-catching never-the-less :-)

  • http://simonfoodfavourites.blogspot.com Simon Food Favourites

    i tried red velvet cake just the other week at Sharon Wee Creations but I couldn’t really taste anything distinctive. if you use cocoa rather than red colouring then is it supposed to have a particular taste? looks very eye-catching never-the-less :-)

  • http://thecakemistress.com Cake Mistress

    This version has a little bit of cocoa, plus red colouring added. It’s more like a zingy vanilla cake, with the chocolate being very weak and more like a colourant than a flavour.

    So hard to describe exactly how these taste, but the buttermilk, white wine vinegar & bicarb adds a surprising flavour dimension. Kind of like a choc-vanilla fruit-tingle? Intriguing anyway, and definitely eye-catching :)

  • http://thecakemistress.com Cake Mistress

    This version has a little bit of cocoa, plus red colouring added. It’s more like a zingy vanilla cake, with the chocolate being very weak and more like a colourant than a flavour.

    So hard to describe exactly how these taste, but the buttermilk, white wine vinegar & bicarb adds a surprising flavour dimension. Kind of like a choc-vanilla fruit-tingle? Intriguing anyway, and definitely eye-catching :)

  • http://www.donutstodelirium.blogspot.com Heavenly Housewife

    These look absolutely darling! Got any extras? I can help you LOL.
    Hope you are having a great weekend.
    *kisses* HH

  • http://www.donutstodelirium.blogspot.com Heavenly Housewife

    These look absolutely darling! Got any extras? I can help you LOL.
    Hope you are having a great weekend.
    *kisses* HH

  • http://bettysbites.blogspot.com betty

    this is my most fav cupcake ever everyone whos tried them absolutely love them!

  • http://bettysbites.blogspot.com betty

    this is my most fav cupcake ever everyone whos tried them absolutely love them!

  • http://www.berrytravels.com Celeste @ Berrytravels

    I used the hummingbird recipe too, but my cupcakes came out tasting really heavily of chocolate =( I ended up upping the quantity of vanilla essence lol.

  • http://www.berrytravels.com Celeste @ Berrytravels

    I used the hummingbird recipe too, but my cupcakes came out tasting really heavily of chocolate =( I ended up upping the quantity of vanilla essence lol.

  • http://www.keeplearningkeepsmiling.com MaryMoh

    I have not tried this cake. Looks fabulous! Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.keeplearningkeepsmiling.com MaryMoh

    I have not tried this cake. Looks fabulous! Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.holdthebeef.com Conor @ HoldtheBeef

    Ooh la la! Would you believe I’ve NEVER eaten a red velvet anything? I guess the whole red attraction thing doesn’t work on me. Perhaps I’m immune. Probably not, seeing as I am now feeling a desperate urge to eat one of your cupcakes. And put on a red dress.

  • http://www.holdthebeef.com Conor @ HoldtheBeef

    Ooh la la! Would you believe I’ve NEVER eaten a red velvet anything? I guess the whole red attraction thing doesn’t work on me. Perhaps I’m immune. Probably not, seeing as I am now feeling a desperate urge to eat one of your cupcakes. And put on a red dress.

  • http://www.mybirthdayvenue.com/ Megan

    I love red velvet cupcakes! The taste is kinda hard to describe. It’s like chocolate but it’s not. Like it’s kinda confused. But I most certainly recommend red velvet cupcakes! I do add a bit of coconut flakes on mine.

  • http://www.mybirthdayvenue.com/ Megan

    I love red velvet cupcakes! The taste is kinda hard to describe. It’s like chocolate but it’s not. Like it’s kinda confused. But I most certainly recommend red velvet cupcakes! I do add a bit of coconut flakes on mine.

  • http://lisa-is-hungry.blogspot.com Lisa

    oooohh. i love the color theme going on.
    gah, the cupcakes look soooo good. :D

  • http://lisa-is-hungry.blogspot.com Lisa

    oooohh. i love the color theme going on.
    gah, the cupcakes look soooo good. :D

  • http://diaryofaladybird.blogspot.com Ladybird

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! I too tried red velvet for the first time at Sharon’s tasting, Simon and wondered the same thing. Now I can try it for myself :) I love the name!

  • http://diaryofaladybird.blogspot.com Ladybird

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! I too tried red velvet for the first time at Sharon’s tasting, Simon and wondered the same thing. Now I can try it for myself :) I love the name!

  • http://www.myfrenchcuisine.com Laetitia

    yummy yummy!! I wish I could eat one right know!!!!

  • http://www.myfrenchcuisine.com Laetitia

    yummy yummy!! I wish I could eat one right know!!!!

  • Tamz

    I made these on Valentine’s day.. (haha YES I ate half of them) but found that the red colouring taste overpowering. I only used one of those little bottles.. and that was only to get the bold red colour I was use to seeing in recipes for Red velvet cupcakes.

    I was more taken by the light cocoa and cream cheese frosting combination. Loved it.

    Have you heard people going on about using beetroot instead of red colouring? I might have to try it

  • Tamz

    I made these on Valentine’s day.. (haha YES I ate half of them) but found that the red colouring taste overpowering. I only used one of those little bottles.. and that was only to get the bold red colour I was use to seeing in recipes for Red velvet cupcakes.

    I was more taken by the light cocoa and cream cheese frosting combination. Loved it.

    Have you heard people going on about using beetroot instead of red colouring? I might have to try it

  • http://thecakemistress.com Cake Mistress

    Well, in love you share everything equally. Even cupcakes. The sacrifices we make, he he ;)
    Did you use those little squeezy bottles of liquid colour? I moved to a gel and didn’t need much colouring at all, so avoided the taste.
    Beetroot would be interesting. My concern, apart from using vegetables of course, is the taste and texture. I’m curious though. Let me know if you try the beetroot Tamz

  • http://thecakemistress.com Cake Mistress

    Well, in love you share everything equally. Even cupcakes. The sacrifices we make, he he ;)
    Did you use those little squeezy bottles of liquid colour? I moved to a gel and didn’t need much colouring at all, so avoided the taste.
    Beetroot would be interesting. My concern, apart from using vegetables of course, is the taste and texture. I’m curious though. Let me know if you try the beetroot Tamz

  • http://www.testwithskewer.blogspot.com shaz

    Very pretty indeed! I’ve tried beetroot before – long story short, a chemical reaction will cause it to turn brown instead of the pretty red that’s intended. Love all the red pics too – is that your car? Wowza!

  • http://www.testwithskewer.blogspot.com shaz

    Very pretty indeed! I’ve tried beetroot before – long story short, a chemical reaction will cause it to turn brown instead of the pretty red that’s intended. Love all the red pics too – is that your car? Wowza!

  • http://trissalicious.com Trissa

    Such a seductive looking cupcake – I have never tried red velvet cupcakes (yes, never tasted them!) – I need to rectify ASAP!

  • http://trissalicious.com Trissa

    Such a seductive looking cupcake – I have never tried red velvet cupcakes (yes, never tasted them!) – I need to rectify ASAP!

  • Ellie

    I absolutely adore red velvet cake. From the colour to the texture and taste. Love it.

  • Ellie

    I absolutely adore red velvet cake. From the colour to the texture and taste. Love it.

  • akithefoodie

    So I was craving red velvet cup cakes and decided to use this recipe. it is EXCELLENT! really delicious and the color is incredible! my father, who generally is not a fan of red velvet cake/cupcakes, could not stop eating these!

  • akithefoodie

    So I was craving red velvet cup cakes and decided to use this recipe. it is EXCELLENT! really delicious and the color is incredible! my father, who generally is not a fan of red velvet cake/cupcakes, could not stop eating these!

  • http://showshanti.com Shanti

    I’m not a baker (yet), but wow. Starting with the easy part first, that cream cheese frosting makes me wonder why I shouldn’t just top strawberries, cookies, toast, or pancakes with it? Oh the temptations this post/recipe has inspired!

  • http://showshanti.com Shanti

    I’m not a baker (yet), but wow. Starting with the easy part first, that cream cheese frosting makes me wonder why I shouldn’t just top strawberries, cookies, toast, or pancakes with it? Oh the temptations this post/recipe has inspired!

  • Cathlin

    Fantastic recipe. Easy and turned out beautifully! Just the thing for a Twilight / Eclipse 14yr birthday party. Thanks for a great web site. I have bookmarked you as a favourite and I will come back again and again!.

  • Cathlin

    Fantastic recipe. Easy and turned out beautifully! Just the thing for a Twilight / Eclipse 14yr birthday party. Thanks for a great web site. I have bookmarked you as a favourite and I will come back again and again!.

  • http://thecakemistress.com Cake Mistress

    I’m so glad these were a hit at the Twilight party! What a great idea :)

  • http://thecakemistress.com Cake Mistress

    I’m so glad these were a hit at the Twilight party! What a great idea :)

  • http://foodwishes.blogspot.com Khaddy

    ive always wanted to know hwo to make the creeam cheese frosting thanks for the recipe!

  • http://foodwishes.blogspot.com Khaddy

    ive always wanted to know hwo to make the creeam cheese frosting thanks for the recipe!

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  • Anonymous

    Oh, so glad to hear it all came together. I might amend the description to let people know the frosting in particular looks a little sad and dry at first, but with a good whipping it turns out good. They would be beautiful at Christmas, especially with a cherry on top of course :)

  • http://www.diningwithastud.com Nic@diningwithastud

    I just made these for a charity high tea I was cohosting and they turned out fab!! The batter looked a little iffy at first but they cane out so fluffy and light. I didnt have buttermilk so substituted normal milk with cream of tarter (thank you google haha) and they turned out just fine :)

  • Baking Belle

    Ooh! I’ve been looking for the perfect red velvet cupcake recipe to bake for my special someone! I can’t wait to get into the kitchen!

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  • Anonymous

    Hi,
    Instead of using white wine vinegar in the red velvet cupcakes it’s fine to use regular vinegar to react with the bicarb soda instead.
    Happy Baking!

    The Cake Mistress

  • Dani_jules

    I can never get my cream cheese frosting to work!! It always ends up tasting like butter….Im looking for a think and creamy frosting without the buttery taste!!

  • Anonymous

    I really like this frosting recipe for this very reason. Tastes far more like a sweet vanilla cream cheese than a hunk of butter :)

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