So, these are ridiculously delicious.
Not to mention, easy on the eyes.
These cupcakes are classic red velvet.
Blood red cake that’s delicately scented with chocolate.
Rich, butter-infused, vanilla cream cheese frosting.
Bake. Frost. Inhale.
So, what makes them red?
Historically, bakers used boiled beet root juice to color their cakes.
Modern cupcakes generally get their sanguine hue from red food coloring.
And lots of it.
For this recipe, you’ll use 2 bottles of food coloring.
Be careful when you add it to the batter.
It’ll stain your counters and paws like nobody’s business.
Ready to make some magic? To the ovens!
Red Velvet Cupcakes
For the cupcakes
12 Tablespoons butter, room temp
1 3/4 cups white sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
4 Tablespoons unflavored red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
3 1/4 cups flour
For the frosting
12 ounces full-fat cream cheese
8 Tablespoons butter (that’s one stick), room temp
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or good Scotch, if you want to switch up the flavors)
red and/or silver sanding sugar, optional for a garnish
Yields about 16 cupcakes
Do a little prep
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Line 2 muffin pans with paper baking cups and set aside.
Yank the butter (for the cupcakes AND for the frosting, if you’re going to frost them immediately) out of the fridge about 20 minutes before you want to make the batter, to let it come up to room temperature.
Make the red velvet cupcake batter
Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl, if you’re mixing by hand).
Beat together until well creamed and uniform.
Add the eggs, cocoa powder, red food coloring, vanilla extract, salt, and baking soda.
(Keep your mixer speed very low at the beginning, until the food coloring is incorporated into the mixture. If you start too fast, the red food coloring can splatter all over, and trust me, that’s NO FUN to clean up.)
Add in the milk.
Beat to incorporate.
Then, add the vinegar, and beat to incorporate.
The vinegar is going to react with the baking soda, so you’ll see some science-experiment fizzing, which is totally fine.
Now that you’ve got your liquids and the small dry ingredients mixed up, add the flour.
Beat to just incorporate, until the batter comes together and is uniform.
(Don’t overbeat, which will develop gluten in the flour…which will make your cupcakes tough.)
Your finished batter should be thick, fluid, and ridiculously red.
Bake + cool your red velvet cupcakes
Pop the pans into your preheated, 350-degree F oven.
Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
When the cupcakes are done, remove the pans from the oven.
Set on racks to cool for about 5 minutes.
Then, remove the cupcakes from the pans and place them on a rack to finish cooling completely.
Make the frosting
While your cupcakes are cooling, whip up the frosting.
A note on timing: Wait to frost these babies until they are completely cool.
Otherwise: hot cupcake + cool, buttery frosting = a melty, runny disaster. Trust me on that one.
Beat the butter and cream cheese together in your stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl if you’re mixing by hand) until well combined and fluffy.
Add about half of the the powdered sugar, beat to combine.
Once that’s incorporated, add the rest of the sugar and the vanilla extract and beat to combine.
For thicker frosting, add more sugar until you’re happy with the consistency.
Frost the red velvet cupcakes
When your cupcakes are cool, it’s time to frost them! Fill a pastry bag with frosting, and go to town.
If you don’t have a pastry bag, it’s easy enough to improvise one. Put some frosting into a gallon-sized zip-top bag.
If you’re feeling particularly festive, give your frosted cupcakes a little sprinkle with red and/or silver sanding sugar.
Serve and enjoy!
Not so hard, right?