There are days when I feel like baking something fancy and complicated. The kinds of recipes that feature ingredients you normally wouldn’t think to put together, yet they work fantastically perfect in the end. Those intense recipes, are what makes cooking fun, and exciting. They turn the doldrum days into something enjoyable and fascinating. Usually, those are the days, when I feel ideas are spilling out of my mind and I have to cook to keep up. But then of course there are days when simple, and classic is everything. The days when I’m feeling lazy and just want to make something sweet, fast and simple. After all, less is more. I thought I would feature a classic cupcake that everyone loves. A red velvet.
The fact that these cupcakes have become so popular in the last couple years, has made it an instant classic. All the more reason why I decided to feature it in a post. All those of you who love these particular cupcakes, and have been searching far and wide, long and hard, for a moist red velvet cake recipe, look no further because this one is for you. Whether we are foodies, cooks, chefs, beginners, experienced or not, it is always important for us to take a day, step back, and go revert to the basics in the kitchen, to touch up on our skills and appreciate the simple joys in life. These cupcakes were definitely enjoyed.
Lets get started:
**Before we get started, I have to give a side note. In the photographs below, I cut the recipe in half to stop myself from eating a truck-load of cupcakes. So it’ll appear to be minimal ingredients, but keep in mind that the recipe in the end will be full in its entirety**
Throw the butter and sugar into a bowl of a mixer.
Cream together on high-medium speed until light and creamy…no, fluffy.
While the butter and sugar are creaming, mix the dry ingredients.
Cake Flour Baking Powder
Set aside and shift your focus back to the creaming butter and sugar.
Throw in the eggs. One at a time.
Add in some vanilla extract.
Grab the cocoa powder.
Somewhere out there my chocoholic sister is happy right now….and I bet she doesn’t know why.
Mix the cocoa powder with the red food coloring.
Do not, buy the watered down “food coloring” from the grocery store. Those don’t really work and make the batter look like pink velvet. These aren’t pink velvet cupcakes, they are RED VELVET!
I buy the gel food coloring from Michaels, you’ll add less to recipes when you use it and the color is much better.
Mix until well combined and smooth.
If your mixture is too thick, add a little drizzle of water and mix.
Throw the coloring and cocoa combo into the creamed butter and sugar.
He hadn’t made an appearance in a while. What can I say? He’s an attention hog.
Mix together, until combined.
Now we are going to add the dry ingredients and buttermilk, alternating between the two.
Make sure to start and end with the flour mixture.
Dry and wet. Dry and wet. Dry and wet. You get the point.
Mix after each, just until combined. Do not over mix, as this might create a tough cupcake.
And I know I don’t like tough dry cupcakes, do you? Nope, probably not.
Once the batter has come together, we just have one more step to go.
We’re almost there. We’re almost there.
No red velvet cake is complete without a little vinegar. I always like using apple cider vinegar. The taste is better.
Mix your baking soda and apple cider vinegar together.
This step is really cool; after it foams and sizzles, the baking soda will dissolve. Add it to the batter.
Mix or fold into the cake batter, making sure everything is well combined.
We’re now ready to scoop out the batter into the cupcake pans.
I like to use a small 1/4 capacity ice cream scoop to portion out my batter into my cupcake pans. This allows all my cupcakes to be the same size and bake evenly.
Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven. Until the center is cooked through and a toothpick, inserted, comes out clean.
As the cupcakes bake, work on the cream cheese frosting.
Red Velvet and Cream Cheese frosting just go hand in hand. You simply must have a cream cheese frosting with a red velvet cupcake. There is no other way around it. And since we’re making a classic, that is what we are doing.
We’re starting off with room temperature butter and cream cheese.
Cream together until light and fluffy.
Once you’ve reached that point, add in the powdered sugar.
And vanilla extract.
Beat on high speed until creamy and smooth.
That’s three already. He’s making sure to appear as much as he possibly can.
Once the cupcakes have cooked through, come out of the oven, and cooled completely on a cooling rack, they are ready to be frosted.
Grab a piping bag with a simple round tip.
You can also just use a small metal spatula or butter knife to swirl on the frosting.
I decided to be a little fawncy (you have to say fancy like that) fawncy and use a piping bag.
Just a beauty shot, I couldn’t pass up.
Scoop the frosting into the pastry bag.
For red velvet cupcakes I like doing a simple flat swirl. In a circular motion starting from the edge, go around with the bag until the top of the cupcake is completely covered.
You would think that our cupcakes are ready now, and that you could easily just eat one at this point. However, knowing me, I like to make it a little more presentable by adding a little something more to the top.
It needs a little pop of color. Luckily I reserved one red velvet cupcake, unfrosted.
Unwrap the lonely cupcake and crumble, using your hands, into small crumbs. Sprinkle the red velvet crumbs onto the tops of each frosted cupcake.
There is actually wax paper on the counter, makes for easier clean-up for jobs like this.
Okay, now they are completed.
These cupcakes are really easy to make, and are very moist. The buttermilk and cake flour, definitely help this factor out. Try swapping out these ingredients in all your favorite cake recipes that call for all-purpose flour and plain ol’ milk.
Enjoy this simple, yet classic, recipe!
Red Velvet Cupcakes
An easy and moist red velvet batter. Makes two nine-inch cakes or 24-cupcakes, with two extra from the crumb topping.
Adapted from a recipe from The Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 ounces red food coloring
- 2 tablespoons cocoa (heaping)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1 stick of butter, room temperature
- 1 package of cream cheese (8oz, at room temperature)
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350° and prepare two 12-cupcake pans with paper liners. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar. Mix on hight for about 5 to 8 minutes, until light and fluffy.
3. In a small bowl combine and make a paste out of the food coloring and cocoa powder. Mix until the cocoa and food coloring is well incorporated. Add to the creamed butter and sugar mixture and mix on low until everything is well combined. The red coloring should be mixed completely.
4. Throw in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla extract.
5. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the buttermilk alternating with dry ingredients, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Flour, milk, flour, milk, flour.
6. In a small bowl combine the baking soda and vinegar. The mixture will bubble and fiz, keep stiring until the foaming stops and the baking soda is dissolved completely. Add it to the batter and mix once more.
7. Scoop out onto prepared cupcake pans, using a small ice cream scoop. This will make sure the cupcakes all are the same size and cook evenly. Bake in for about 10 to 15 minutes, rotating the pans, halfway through baking. You’ll know the cupcakes are done when a toothpick, inserted in the middle, comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cook on wire rack. After 2 minutes, remove the cupcakes, carefully, from the pans. Cool completely on wire racks.
8. Make the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer combine and blend the butter and cream cheese. Whip on high for 5 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and mix again. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing on low until all the sugar is incorporated. Switch to high and whip for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
9. Decorate the cupcakes: Once the cupcakes have cooled frost each except two. With the reserved, unfrosted, cupcakes, peel off the wrappers and crumble into a bowl using your hands. Sprinkle the red velvet crumbs onto each of the frosted cupcakes. Serve right away or store any leftovers in the fridge. Allow to come to room temperature before eating. Enjoy!