Red Velvet Cupcakes: Woo-Hoo-Worthy

January 25, 2008


I love few things more than the excuse to make a celebratory dessert. I think it stems in large part from the fact that I actually don’t love desserts myself, so it’s very convenient to have an audience (and a person to take the leftovers home with her). But, even more, I think nothing says congratulations (or happy birthday or thank you or, heck, happy Tuesday) quite like a home-baked surprise.





(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos and the recipe.)

So, when my sister recently got a great new job, I started scheming immediately about a woo-hoo-worthy treat to celebrate the news. Lucky for me, I’ve also trained my sister to send me any and all good-looking recipes that should be added to my to do list (if you think this sounds like I wield an unhealthy amount of influence over her, just know that I do so in a much nicer way than in days past; growing up, there was a lot of “I’ll time you’s …”).


So, pursuant to this good training (and prior to the job news), she recently suggested that I add red velvet cake to my must-bake list. Perhaps because we grew up far north of the Mason-Dixon line, she’d never tried red velvet cake and I’ve never made it (despite having an unusually high number of friends from the south in college, even though I went to school in Evanston, Illinois, and despite living in D.C. for two years, which is a pretty southern town, actually). Armed with a celebratory excuse and a suggestion from the celebratee herself, I set out in search of a red velvet cake to say congratulations.


At first, I had a full blown cake in mind. To be honest, I’ve kind of steered clear of cupcakes since the whole bake-200-cupcakes-on-the-eve-of-my-wedding episode. But, seeing as though I was fresh off the heels of making two multi-layer coconut cakes, there was something appealingly easy about cupcakes.


Even more appealing was the fact that red velvet cakes (or cupcakes) are often paired with cream cheese frosting. And it just so happened that I had a heaping bowlful of cream cheese frosting leftover from the aforementioned coconut cake. I figured that red velvet cupcakes would be the perfect vehicle for it (though, truth be told, I wasn’t opposed to graham crackers, a spoon or, shamefully, the crook of my index finger). When I saw that Chockylit’s Red Velvet Cupcake recipe called for a cream cheese frosting, I was sold.


All in all, Ali was delighted. And though I only tried a wee bite, I thought they were great. Even though I doubled the amount of cocoa, they weren’t as chocolate-y as I expected (which Chockylit warned me about), but the fire engine red was so shocking and pretty. In fact, I might just suggest that these babies would be perfect for a certain upcoming holiday that features red and white. But, if you can’t wait a whole couple weeks until February 14, just wait for the next piece of good news in your life and whip up a batch!

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Cupcake Bakeshop by Chockylit

Note: Chockylit’s recipe yields 36 cupcakes. I have adjusted the recipe to yield 12 cupcakes, with a couple other minor tweaks, mentioned below.

1-1/4 cups cake flour
1/4 cups cocoa*
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder or 1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 ounce red food coloring*
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 350°F

2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder (or cream of tarter), and salt into medium bowl

3. Whisk buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, and food coloring in small bowl to blend

4. Beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well fluffy, 3 minutes

5. Add eggs, beating until well blended, about 30 seconds

6. Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions

7. Scoop into cupcake tins

8. Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes

9. Cool in pans 10 minutes

10. Cool completely on racks**

* These were my slight tweaks to the recipe.
** After the cupcakes were cooled, I slathered them with leftover Cream Cheese Frosting from the other day. I used about 1 1/2 cups of frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting: recipe here

8 Responses to “Red Velvet Cupcakes: Woo-Hoo-Worthy”

  1. amanda Says:

    your cupcakes turned out perfect! the tops of them were so smooth and uncracked. mine always look bumpy. for some reason, cupcakes give me a harder time than all other baked goods

  2. Deborah Says:

    I’m so glad you posted this – my sister has requested red velvet cupcakes for her birthday, and I was looking for a good recipe!

  3. Ali Says:

    Being the sister worthy of cupcakes, and being the individual to eat the most cupcakes, I will say they were every bit as delicious as they look!

    And for the record, beef would totally take lasagna in a 2008 kitchen throw-down. Now– that would be something to blog about. 😉

  4. ourkitchensink Says:

    Amanda: Thanks! But, I have to admit, they were pretty cracked. You can sorta tell in the bottom right photo in the set of four. But, as far as I’m concerned, that’s just creates ridges to fill with frosting! And I agree about cupcakes — they seem like a “short cut” to making more elaborate cakes, but they can be really fussy (e.g. individual frosting, falling, uniformity, etc).

    Deborah: How fortuitous! Let me know how you like them. Like I said above, they’ve got a great “wow” factor.

    Sister: Thanks! I’m thrilled you liked. I mean, that was the whole point, after all. And clearly we’ll have to ask the only “impartial” third party who ate both the beef bourg and the lasagna about which one won the throw-down. Too bad he’s married to me …

  5. JEP Says:

    Thanks for scaling down this recipe—helps not only with my single-life eating but more with my portion contol–need to take left-overs to work–ha! Delicious!

  6. Jay Says:

    I was looking for cupcakes that I could make for my sons upcoming birthday which will have a fire truck theme and these look perfect.

    I made a trial batch and doubled the cocoa amount and they tasted pretty chocolatey and were yummy with the cream cheese frosting.. but were not the fire red your cupcakes are. Looks like I’ll have to stick to your recipe and forgo the extra chocolatey taste.. for the color. Thanks for the great pictures and details.

  7. Kim Says:

    I have two comments for you.
    1. I’m officially addicted to your site. I think it’s the combination of delicious recipes, fantastic foodie pictures, and the stories you tell to accompany the recipes.

    2. I used (and improvised)this red velvet cake recipe last night. For the 4th of July, I’m making a faux-watermelon cake. That is to say, I’m making a cake that looks like a watermelon. But I used your red velvet recipe, added mini chocolate chips (the seeds) and made two cakes (and at least a couple cupcakes). I’m going to frost them green with the cream cheese frosting.

    Thanks for all the great ideas!

  8. Kim: Addicted? I’m so flattered! 🙂 Also, you’re faux-watermelon cake sound really fun. Happy 4th of July!

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