Red Velvet Cupcakes

I never got the appeal of red velvet cake. Even before I made it myself, upon trying one, I thought to myself “This is what all the hype is about?”

It seems that people either adore red velvet or couldn’t care less about it. I definitely fall into the latter. For one, most have them only a few tablespoons of cocoa in them, making a mostly-vanilla cake with a TON of food dye. Which brings me to my biggest issue with this cake: I think needing nearly half a cup of food dye for the sake of a name is absurd. And gross. But that’s just me.

Anyway, I made these cupcakes for my friend Alison’s senior thesis art show Friday night. I decided to make them miniature so that forks and plates wouldn’t be needed. After I put the second batch in the oven, I started cooking myself a quick dinner by cutting up and onion when SWOOSH, the knife slipped off the onion and into my finger. Not to get too gruesome on a baking blog, but I started bleeding a lot and ended up going to the ER a few hours later to get stitches. The funny part came when they were cleaning the area to stitch, and kept rubbing my hand, looking confused. I looked over and realized my hands had been completely stained with food dye, and they thought it was blood. So I won’t be going near red food dye any time soon.

However, for what they were, I thought these cupcakes were pretty good. The recipe contains a vanilla frosting recipe, but I made a cream cheese one instead.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

yields 96 mini cupcakes, 24 cupcakes or 1 triple layer 9” cake

from More From Magnolia: Recipes From The World-Famous Bakery and Magnolia’s Home Kitchen

3 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons red food coloring (or 1 teaspoon red food coloring gel dissolved in 6 tablespoons water)
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour three 9- by 2-inch round cake pans/muffin tins, then line the bottoms with waxed paper. [You can use paper liners for regular-sized cupcakes, but a quick grease on my mini-pans worked fine]
  2. In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.
  5. In a measuring cup or a small bowl, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat.
  6. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. It will fizz a lot, so make sure the baking soda is fully incorporated. Add to the batter and mix well.
  7. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.
  8. Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes (20 for cupcakes and 16 for minis), or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pans for 1 hour. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. When the cakes/cupcakes have cooled, ice with your choice of frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, at room tempterature
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners’ sugar

  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes on a stand mixer, 5-6 with a hand-held).
  2. Reduce speed (or get COVERED in powdered sugar) and add in the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition.

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