It was my intention to post these red velvet cupcakes before the Fourth of July. You know, so that maybe one of you could actually make them or something. Instead, life got in the way: I celebrated my final day at work, threw a dinner party, and jetted off to New England for a very-much-needed holiday.
I promised myself I would write a post on the airplane. But I slept. I vowed to steal a few minutes away from my cozy lounge chair by the infinity pool in order to blog. But I slept. Then, just like that, I was home again, where I swore up and down to get the recipe live if my future self depended on it. And what do ya know? Indeed, I slept some more. (Can you tell I needed a vacation?)
So here I am on day one of my new blogging adventure, finally sharing the recipe. Let's just pretend I made these cupcakes to celebrate my new career, shall we. Freedom from England, freedom from a restaurant job—practically the same thing, right? Anyways, it's not like a good Southerner ever needed an excuse to bake red velvet cupcakes.
Source: adapted from Cakeman Raven via Food Network
Yields: 22 - 24 cupcakes
These cupcakes were a birthday/Independence Day request, and birthday requests are one thing I do not take lightly. Therefore I spent entirely too many hours researching red velvet recipes both online and in my cookbooks. As luck would have it, someone else did most of the dirty work for me. Thank you The Bake More for both this post and this post. Clearly you are a blogger after my own heart.
I barely tweaked the Cakeman Raven's red velvet recipe (the unanimous online favorite) to make cupcakes instead of a layer cake. Upon further digging, I discovered that Cakeman Raven's recipe is almost exactly the same as the cupcake versions of both Martha Stewart's and Paula Deen's. Whose came first we may never know...
So how were they? I really loved these red velvet cupcakes. Vegetable oil is a very common ingredient in Southern cakes and for good reason—there is nothing worse than a dry baked good. Next time, I may add a bit more cocoa powder and vanilla as many commenters suggested, but otherwise it is a solid recipe. Oh, and the cream cheese frosting is seriously the best I've ever made. It is the only one I will use from here on out!
For the cupcakes:
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the frosting:
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill two muffin tins with cupcake liners.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla and mix on medium low speed until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients and mix on medium low until a smooth batter has formed and no flour is visible.
Divide batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through cooking time, until the cupcakes are just done. Remove tins from the oven and cool cupcakes completely before frosting.
For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese, sugar, butter, and vanilla on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes (stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula).
Frost the cupcakes—I piped my frosting using a large, closed-star tip—and top with assorted summer berries, if desired. Cupcakes will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days.
Note: The frosting recipe above yields enough to pipe the cupcakes, a technique that uses more frosting than if decorating with a spatula. If using a spatula (or knife), there will be excess. The recipe quantities can be reduced, if desired.