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Red Velvet Cupcakes

by on March 4, 2010 · 18 comments

Yesterday I made red velvet cupcakes for one of Todd’s co-workers. He’s taking them to the office today, and I hope she likes them because she’s a cupcake connoisseur. Maybe she can help me pick some good recipes for the collection because frankly, I’m not as good at recommending cupcake recipes to people as I am at recommending chocolate chip.


This cupcake recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart and has probably the most oil you’ll ever see in one cupcake recipe. Not that it’s unreasonable, because it’s the same amount of oil as in one of my most popular red velvet cakes. But this is a recipe for people who choose “light and moist” over all.


These cupcakes were good, but were almost too soft for me. Part of it’s the cake flour and again, part of it’s the oil. I’m also not crazy about the murky dark brownish red. I like red cupcakes that pop, so for the next recipe, I will try something different.

Martha Stewart’s recipe is here. I made a half batch and typed it up below.

The cream cheese icing is fabulous and I wouldn’t change that at all.

A Dozen Red Velvet Cupcakes

1 1/4 cups cake flour (5 oz)
1/2 teaspoon salt (2 ml)
1 Tbsp Dutch process cocoa powder (15 ml)
1/2 tsp salt (2 ml)
3/4 cups granulated sugar (5.25 oz)
3/4 cups vegetable oil (180 ml)
1 large egg, room temp
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon red gel paste (I didn’t halve this from Martha’s)
1/2 cup buttermilk (120 ml)
1 teaspoon vinegar (5 ml)
1/2 tsp baking soda (2 ml)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Line 12 cupcake cups with paper liners.

Sift flour, salt and cocoa powder into a bowl and set aside.

With a hand-held electric mixer or a whisk, beat the sugar, oil, egg and vanilla together for about 2 minutes or until pale and light. Beat in the red gel coloring.

Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the batter alternately, stirring by hand and beginning and ending with flour.

Mix the vinegar and baking soda together in a large cup (mixture will foam up), then stir that into the batter.

Divide batter evenly among cupcake pans. Bake on center rack for 20 minutes. Let cool and make icing.

Cream Cheese Icing
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature (regular brick style, not light or tub)
4 oz butter (unsalted) plus a pinch of salt
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla

1-2 teaspoons lemon juice or to taste

Beat butter and cream cheese together. Slowly add powdered sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and lemon juice.

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Published on March 4, 2010

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy March 4, 2010 at 12:35 pm

I love red velvet! I’ll give these a try. I have made the Magnolia Bakery ones that are on epicurious, if you want to try those.

ha, I replied to your chocolate chip comment on my blog :)

barb March 4, 2010 at 1:25 pm

They look fantastic, I like to add coconut to the tops of mine. It seems to go well with it.

Louise March 4, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Try this one — I believe there was a Throw Down with Bobby Flay.

dawn March 4, 2010 at 2:49 pm

there is a FABULOUS recipe (and color) red velvet recipe on it was the one of the ‘throwdown w/ flay” well I tried it (the one that flay was up against) and loved it.

Pam March 4, 2010 at 3:28 pm

I’ve also used and liked Paula Deen’s version. I substitute butter instead of the oil as I prefer the taste and texture it gives.

Katrina March 4, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Best red velvet cupcakes I ever had were Rina’s. Get her recipe! ;)
Hi, Rina! I’m not a big cupcake person either, but those were fantastic! I thought they were even still moist and good after travelling home with one!

Rina March 4, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Aww, thanks Katrina!! Very sweet of you to remember those! I think the mini-chocolate chips helped (but when does the addition of chocolate NOT help?). :)

Joanne March 4, 2010 at 6:02 pm

I made these for Valentine’s Day and absolutely loved them! If you use a whole bottle of hot pink food coloring instead of red, they turn out super red. It’s vibrant.

Cheryl March 4, 2010 at 7:12 pm


Suzy March 4, 2010 at 7:59 pm

I went to a new cupcake bakery today, in Bellevue, KY, and one of the ones I bought was red velvet, but I haven’t tried it yet. I did try a dark chocolate with chocolate ganache, which was very nice and cocoa – y, and a pumpkin with cream cheese frosting and cinnamon dusted on top. I still have banana with peanut butter frosting to try (garnished with peanut butter chips), and the red velvet. These were $1.95 each which I thought was pretty reasonable, even for KY. :) Just reporting from the field, ma’am.

pumpkinpie March 4, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Does that work out to 1 Tablespoon of oil per cupcake?

Tracy March 4, 2010 at 8:11 pm

I’ve always made these cupcakes from Bakingbites:

They are always devoured and there’s NO oil in the recipe.

Louise March 5, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Now don’t they look delectable, Anna. I really should get my you know what in gear and bake up a batch of these lovelies. Thank you so much for sharing…

Sweets By Vicky March 6, 2010 at 4:55 am

I’m conflicted..sometimes I love a good soft cupcake but I realize it probably isn’t real cupcake territory. It has to be sutrdy enough to hold it’s own. I love the frosting and how you’ve done it though! And thanks for the heads up on Martha’s recipe.

PastryPrincess March 6, 2010 at 5:39 am

i’m eating so many cupcakes these days and actually contemplated buying a red velvet one today! ;) i’ll just pretend i’m testing them all for research purposes for my blog, hehe. there’s always room for a cupcake, am i right?!

Barbara March 6, 2010 at 10:09 am

Love this in cupcake form, Anna! I seem to be making more muffins and cupcakes than I am cookies!

Jin March 20, 2010 at 10:45 pm

I use the cream cheese icing recipe, and they turned out too drippy for my cupcakes. Is there anything I can do about it?

Anna March 21, 2010 at 9:31 am

Jin, this is a very basic cream cheese icing and it should have been perfect. However, if you are new to making icing or made ingredient substitutions or measured wrong, a way to firm up cream cheese icing is to either add more powdered sugar (which will make it sweeter) or put it in the refrigerator. I think you might have let the cream cheese get too soft or you might have used melted butter. I’m really not sure, but the recipe should work.

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