Red Velvet Cake has been one of my favorites for a few years now, but I had never made it myself. Because I had some excess cream cheese on hand, but more so because it was my coworker’s birthday and he had rather indiscreetly mentioned “hey baker girl, you know I love Red Velvet…” (*wink* *hint*) I decided to give it a whirl. I was debating between two recipes – one calling for buttermilk and the other for sour cream. I settled on the buttermilk version for no good reason, but sometime I’m going to bake two batches and have a real taste-test to decide which one is best.
I should remind you that an apron or old clothes are recommended for this recipe, as red food coloring, as a rule, finds its way everywhere. Oddly, it washed right out of my shirt which I really didn’t think food coloring did, but hey, cool.
This recipe, particularly the icing, was a real hit with the entire office and particularly with the birthday boy, so two thumbs up and bake away!
Red Velvet Cupcakes
adapted from: Pinch My Salt
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour*
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 T cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 ½ – 2 oz. red food coloring
1/2 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 t vanilla extract
1 c buttermilk, room temperature
1 t white vinegar
1 t baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans or three 8-inch round cake pans, or line cupcake trays.
- Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps; set aside.
- In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes. 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. Alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour.
- In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Yes, it will fizz! Add it to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Working quickly, divide batter evenly between the cake pans or cupcake trays and place them in a 350 degree oven. Bake for 18-20 minutes for cupcakes (25-30 minutes for cake). Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Recipe Notes: *Sift cake flour once before measuring, then sift again with the other dry ingredients per recipe instructions.
Cream Cheese Frosting
16 oz. cream cheese (2 packages), softened
1/2 c unsalted butter (one stick), softened
1 t vanilla extract
2 1/2 c powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
- With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Turn mixer to low speed and blend in powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Turn mixer on high and beat until light and fluffy. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. If refrigerated, the frosting will need to be brought to room temperature before using (after frosting softens up, beat with mixer until smooth).