I know I’m kind of a day late and a dollar short with these cupcakes, but it’s Valentine’s Day, and I wanted to share something sweet with you guys. What’s more classic for the special day than red velvet cake? Behold them, in all their color saturated glory. Andrew and I had a great time baking them yesterday afternoon. Hard to believe that next year I’ll be shipping cupcakes off to school with him for a Valentine party – yikes!
I’ve been using this recipe for several years now, and they always come out perfect every time. Some might think that 2 ounces of food coloring is excessive. And it is, kind of. But the full, rich color it gives these cupcakes can’t be had with any less. In the olden’ days, you would have to rely on a chemical reaction between the cocoa and vinegar to produce a mottled brownish-red color. Now, I’m all for doing things the natural way as much as possible. Buuut, thank goodness for my industrial sized bottle of red food coloring (purchased at my local restaurant supply shop – much love to Sysco) to give the that punchy color I so adore. Share them with someone you love!
Red Velvet Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz. red food coloring (two bottles)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Yes, it will fizz! Add vinegar mixture to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Using an ice cream scoop, fill cupcake cups with cake batter (they should be 2/3 – 3/4 full). You may not fill all the cups, I ended up with 20 cupcakes. Place muffin tins on the middle rack of a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for approximately 20-22 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Check early and don’t over bake!
Cool the cupcakes in their tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove and allow to cool completely before frosting. For garnish I like to process one cupcake in a food processor, and use the crumbs to sprinkle onto cupcakes.
Cream Cheese Frosting
4 ounces butter
3 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Cream the butter, cheese and salt in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar until incorporated, then add the vanilla.