Red Velvet Cupcakes From Throwdown Episode

Today’s red velvet cupcakes, adapted from an episode of Throwdown With Bobby Flay, are my favorite so far. They are moist, bright red, and don’t have too much cocoa powder to muck up the mishmash of flavors that distinguish red velvet from other cakes. The frosting is awesome, but like the reviewers on Food TV’s website said, you’re going to have some left over if you don’t scale it down. Speaking of which, the cupcake recipe on Food TV says it makes sixteen, but I halved the recipe and got 14 cupcakes so I guess the Throwdown competitors made them “jumbo”.

Here’s the full batch of red velvet cupcakes from Throwdown, and below I’ve typed up my adapted half batch version. I also added some volume measurements since the original is given in mostly weights.

red velvet cupcakes

UPDATE: I didn’t realize there was a Throwdown cookbook, but the cupcake recipe is in it as well. Looks like a good book.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I had Todd do a taste test between these and the McCormick Cupcakes. He chose the McCormick recipe saying it tasted sweeter.


Red Velvet Cupcakes From Throwdown Episode
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Red Velvet Cupcakes from Throwdown with Bobby Flay
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 14
  • 7 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour (1 3/4 cups minus a teaspoon) -- better to weigh, though!
  • 1/2 teaspoons plus 1/8 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoons plus 1/8 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 6.5 ounces granulated sugar (1 cup minus 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 egg plus 2 tablespoons beaten egg
  • 1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon red food coloring
  • 1/2 teaspoons plus 1/8 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoons plus 1/8 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon water
For the cream cheese frosting:
  • 6 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 oz butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 pound (1 ¾ cups) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3/4 vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Line 14 cupcake cups with paper liners.
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder into a bowl and set aside.
  3. With an electric mixer, beat oil, sugar, and buttermilk until combined. Add eggs, food coloring, vinegar, vanilla and water and mix well. Add the dry ingredients a little bit at a time and mix by hand until well mixed. Be sure not to overmix, or the batter will come out tough.
  4. Scoop the batter into the liners dividing evenly (a little over halfway full) and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.
  5. For the cream cheese frosting: Whip the butter and cream cheese together in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until creamed. Gradually add powdered sugar to the mixture and scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.


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  1. Louise says

    Your cupcakes look awesome and nicely decorated. Some reviewers on the Foodnetwork site thought these were oily. I guess you didn’t find that.

  2. says

    Throwdown is my favorite Food Network show, and I remember this episode! The cupcakes look great. I’ve never really tried the higher chocolate content red velvets, but always enjoy the traditional kind so I’m sure I’d enjoy these.

  3. Laura says

    Anna, I have a red velvet cupcake recipe that I’ve made a couple times now and got a big thumbs up from a huge red velvet fan. If you want another recipe for your tests (or for comparison) let me know.

  4. says

    I’ll bet if you take the McCormick’s recipe and only add 1/4 cup cocoa powder they would be more red. (Not sure how this will affect texture or anything) I like using butter rather than oil, but canola oil is definitely healthier. I will try this change and let you know what happens!

  5. Patty H. says

    Your cupcakes look awesome! I’ve been wanted to make either red velvet cupcakes or a cake….just not sure which, but these are really cute!

    I love Bobby Flay’s Throwdown!

  6. says

    Ok. I’m going back to oil and will try Bobby Flay’s since yours look delicious and I’ve never tried a Bobby recipe and I love watching throw down (though I never want Bobby to win :()

  7. Louise says

    Last night I came to the conclusion that Red Velvet is a personal preference and perhaps even a regional thing. Katy’s pointer for the Yahoo article rather confirms the regional taste. 🙂 Perhaps Matt Lewis of BAKED,who went to the Univ. of Alabama,is catering to our Northern tastes.

  8. says

    These look so good! I love the traditional flavored red velvet since it reminds of the bakery where I used to work. I may have to give these a try.

  9. Tina says

    I was debating whether or not to bake these today for our Family Fun Night at church tonight. I made the McCormick ones yesterday and they tasted like a chocolate cupcake to me. But since Todd said he like the McCormick ones better as far as tastes goes, I’ll take his word on it and stick to what I have. You can’t go wrong with chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting anyways and the kids will eat them. Have a wonderful weekend!

  10. says

    Tina, I’m sure the McCormick ones will be a hit. They do taste like chocolate, but people will recognize them as red velvet and probably won’t think too much of it.

    About those liners, those are the new Reynold’s Stay Brite liners. I bought a pack at the grocery store and may never go back to regular paper lines.

  11. says

    omgosh i made these for hubbys b-day last year? or the year before? oh well i’m too old to remember. they were a hit though.
    i love throwdown. you & i should go on there with our super-duper cookies. LOL We’d totally win.

  12. says

    I love the color. I think I should make some booth for our J’s prom with these cupcakes. I am sure that my booth will be great with these. Thanks for the idea.

  13. says

    This is so perfect! I just tried it yesterday and my friends really love these. I am just shame of how I decorated my cupcakes. LOL. I am really not a great cupcake decorator but they really love how it tasted. Thanks for the recipe.

  14. says

    I love those liners! I made some red velvet cupcakes last night (from a recipe that starts with a boxed mix). I used heart papers — was so bummed that the hearts disappeared when the cupcakes baked.

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