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Red Velvet Cupcake Collection

by on March 8, 2010 · 17 comments

After making a batch of Martha Stewart’s red velvet cupcakes, I considered doing a red velvet cupcake comparison test, but came to my senses. First, I like eating cupcakes more than making them. Second, many red velvet comparisons have been done and far better than I have the time or resources to devote to one. Here are two good comparisions.

  • My favorite red velvet comparison is from the Bake More blog where she even made a spreadsheet.
  •  And from someone who bakes so many cupcakes she doesn’t need a spreadsheet, there was this red velvet cupcake analysis which included some myth busting regarding the chemical reaction that’s supposed to make chocolate cakes turn red. Awesome.

There were others – all fun reading, but I had to stop because I wanted to avoid obsessing over a baked good I didn’t care much for in the first place.   Case in point, the time I baked and tested  Shoe Fly Shoofly Pies.  What a colossal waste of time that was.

But I do like red velvet cupcakes and plan to bake more in the in the coming months.   To get started, here’s a list of recipes I found appealing.

Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes – Tried. Very good! Lots of oil, but the red color doesn’t pop. I like my red velvet fairly garish.

 Cake Man Raven’s Red Velvet Cupcakes – Pretty much the same recipe as Martha’s but without the dark cocoa and less of it. Fairly certain I’ll like the shade of red when I eventually make these. This recipe has to be the moistest one out there with the cake flour and the 1 ½ cups vegetable oil.

 Red Velvet from Baked – Will make as cupcakes. Confident I’ll lake the cake, but worried it will be too much like chocolate and neither red nor sour enough.

 Cupcake Blog Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe (as mentioned above).  High hopes for this one.

 Paula Deen’s Red Velvet Cupcake – If anyone knows red velvet it would be P. Deen.

 Simply Recipes Red Velvet Cupcakes – Basic can be good if made properly.   The original Waldorf Astoria recipe was fairly simple as well. 

Magnolia Bakery Cupcakes – Love the cookbook and the cupcake recipe has unique ratios. Going to have to buy self-rising flour, though.

 Joy the Baker’s Red Velvet Cupcakes – Not sure I’ll try the cupcakes, but the post was darling.

McCormick’s Red Velvet Cupcakes – From the company that makes red food coloring. Their recipe had better be good!  Calls for sour cream and butter.

Bobby Flay Throwdown Red Velvet Cupcakes – Terri Wahl’s Recipe from Aunti Em’s. As usual I missed the Throwdown show, but Throwdown recipes are always good.

Doctored Cake Mix Red Velvet Cake — (Make as Cupcakes) This is Todd’s favorite red velvet cake and from what I remember about the recipe is that it has the appropriate twang of signature red velvet cake. Less chocolate, more sour, more red = good.  This one starts with a mix so it’s super easy.

Also, for research purposes I will be frequenting more cupcake establishments such as the “Hey Cupcake” trailer on South Congress where I purchased a trailer-made red velvet cupcake Saturday night. I was happy to discover they had takeaway boxes. In my mind there was this requirement that you had to eat the cupcake on a bench next to the street. Not sure why I was so surprised about the boxes.


Red sprinkles on red velvet was a nice touch.


Texture shot! Nice in-between level of moistness and interesting flavor. Just the right shade of red.


Everyone has their own opinion on how a cupcake should be, but I rather liked Hey Cupcake’s red velvet because it was firm, heavy, moist, but not overly so. I like cupcakes with a little give to them, which is why I usually end up making muffins.

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Published on March 8, 2010

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen March 8, 2010 at 9:49 am

I love hey cupcake. They’re cream cheese frosting is quite good, and it’s nice to be able to get just a cupcake (or two), rather than try to figure what to do with a whole batch.

Kristen March 8, 2010 at 9:50 am

Woah, definitely distracted spelling this morning! They’re??? Haha. Anyway THEIR cupcakes are pretty tasty. Especially the ones with cream cheese.

dawn March 8, 2010 at 10:01 am

you know i’m looking for a red velvet recipe that uses a natural form of dye with great color. i’m not too fond of the whole red dye thing. wish me luck eh? i tried reading the ingredients from whole foods red velvet, but you needed a pad of paper to remember it all.

Louise March 8, 2010 at 10:14 am

Watch what you say about Shoofly Pie. And spell it right. :-) I live almost at the epicenter of Shoofly Pies. One slice of a great wet bottom shoofly is good once in a while. I have a great recipe for shoofly cupcakes. :-)

Anna March 8, 2010 at 10:33 am

Kristen, at least you didn’t write “Shoe Fly Pie”. Now I’m thinking of a little fly with shoes on.

Dawn, it’s always nice to have a “natural” alternative in your back pocket. There’s a red velvet cake made with beets somewhere in my archives.

Louise, I’m done with that pie but I’d be curious to see the cupcake recipe.

Louise March 8, 2010 at 10:47 am

The Cupcake Bake Shop’s “myth” busting is somewhat incomplete in that she fails to explain why Devil’s Food Cake is red. The alkaline baking soda does in fact “Dutch” the regular cocoa, which is what most Devil’s Food Cake recipes call for. And if you use Dutch process cocoa the result will be an even deeper color.

And read the the first comment by Rose Levy Beranbaum’s collaborator on Round 2 of the other blog, here. It’s regarding technique, etc.

C L March 8, 2010 at 11:01 am

The Magnoia recipe is very tasty. I made it often, and it’s worth buying self-rising flour just for it. :) Although you could also make drop biscuits with SR flour, too… :)

Amy March 8, 2010 at 11:33 am

I never buy self-rising, even when a recipe calls for it!

Ellen March 8, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Dawn, Whole Foods carries a natural food coloring dye (package of 3 or 4 colors) in the baking section. I’m with you, I don’t like to use food coloring if I don’t have to.

AnnaBanana March 8, 2010 at 1:35 pm

I’ve always used the Magnolia recipe with very little alteration…except for cream cheese frosting instead of buttercream. I don’t really get the point of Red Velvet without cream cheese frosting. I think these always turn out delish….BUT I was recently in NYC and had the opportunity to try the real thing, and ICK. Seriously, dry, too dense, even the buttercream wasn’t good buttercream.

Katrina March 8, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Ok, I’m totally digging the vision of Super Fly Guy in a pie now! ;)

HeartofGlass March 8, 2010 at 4:37 pm

You know I’ve never had Red Velvet Cake! I know I sound awful, but I can’t get past the idea of willingly eating food dyes, even natural ones. If I made one, I’d probably make something like this:

Carol March 8, 2010 at 4:49 pm

I had great results with the Paula Deen recipe!

Martha in KS March 8, 2010 at 4:52 pm

My mother used to make me the Waldorf Astoria cake each year for my December birthday. My aunt in Texas first mailed her a piece of this cake with the recipe & mom told us it was Beet Cake, so we wouldn’t want a taste. This had to be over 40 yrs. ago & I vividly remember that one little piece of cake wrapped in foil, and five little sets of eyes looking at it. I think this is the “original” red cake, though it was redder because we used the Red Dye No. 1 that is now banned. This buttercream is unusual, but delicious.

Waldorf Astoria Cake

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1- 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
2 Tbs (one 1-oz. bottle) red food color
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Cocoa
1 tsp salt
1- 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbs white vinegar

1 Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 13×9-inch baking pan (or two 8″ layer pans).
2 Beat butter and sugar in large bowl; add eggs and vanilla, beating well. Stir together buttermilk and food color. Stir together flour, cocoa and salt; add alternately to butter mixture with buttermilk mixture, mixing well. Stir in baking soda and vinegar. Pour into prepared pan.
3 Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Frost.
4. Icing: In saucepan, whisk together ¼ c. flour & 1 c. milk & ½ tsp. salt until smooth. Cook until it forms a thick paste. Cool (covered) at least two hours. In mixer bowl beat 1 c. margarine and 1 c. granulated sugar until like stiff egg whites, then beat in flour mixture, a pinch of salt and 2 tsp. vanilla. (original recipe used Crisco but margarine tastes much better). I prefer the cake after icing has been chilled.

Lisa March 9, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Love this post! I see some Red velvet cupcakes in my kitchen in the near future.

Lisa March 9, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Looks yummy! I love Red Velvet cake so I would assume the cupcakes would be just as delightful!

Susan March 10, 2010 at 7:01 pm

There seems to be alot of hype lately about red velvet cake and/or cupcakes. I just can’t bring myself to pour all that red food coloring into a cake or cupcake recipe. So..I’ve ordered beet powder to give that a try. Stay tuned! I did make a Chocolate Beet Cake that turned out pretty good!

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