It’s difficult to describe the flavor of red velvet cake to someone who hasn’t had it before. I usually just settle for “It’s AMAZING, you HAVE to try it. Seriously. Right now.” It has cocoa in it but the flavor isn’t dominated by chocolate, and it has buttermilk and vinegar but it’s not sour. Just perfectly rich and not too sweet. And it’s a perfect treat for Valentine’s Day! (hint, hint…)
Red Velvet Cupcakes
What you’ll need:
- 2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 oz. red food coloring
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (white vinegar will also work)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
What to do:
- Heat your oven to 350 degrees F
- Line 2 muffin pans with muffin cups, or spray with non-stick cooking spray
- Mix the cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside (If your cake flour is not pre-sifted you should sift together)
- Mix the cocoa powder and food coloring together in a small bowl until it forms a smooth paste (no lumps, please!) and set aside
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer) cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes or until light and fluffy
- Beat the eggs into the butter mixture one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition, then add the vanilla and cocoa paste, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl
- Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, mix until combined, then add half the buttermilk and mix in thoroughly. Add the second third of the flour, mix until combined, followed by the buttermilk (and mix well), followed by the last of the flour mixture. The goal is to make sure the batter is well combined and smooth, but do not over-mix.
- In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and vinegar, then stir into the batter.
- Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 full, and bake for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through to make sure they bake evenly. When a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, they’re done.
- Remove from the muffin pans and cool on a wire rack until they’re cool enough to frost. I prefer mine still warm, but if you want your frosting to look perfect and not melt, wait until they’re room temperature.
Vanilla “Buttercream” Frosting
So, this isn’t a traditional buttercream where you have to make the sugar syrup and foam egg whites. This version is much easier, but still delicious!
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup salted butter, softened (if you use unsalted butter you’ll want to add a pinch of salt)
- 3 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp. milk
- Cream the butter and sugar with a handmixer in a medium bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment)
- Add the vanilla and milk and mix until combined
- Frost your cupcakes as desired
Enjoy, and have a lovely Valentine’s Day!