Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe
Updated: Dec 19, 2020
My younger sister turned 30 last weekend and she asked me to make some red velvet cupcakes for a mini get together she was having. I am not a fan of red velvet cakes in any form. I generally find them too sweet and I don’t understand the mildy chocolate flavour and bright red colour. Nonetheless I decided to still give them a go as she had asked me personally.
I came across a Red velvet cupcake recipe from Jane’s Patisserie which was ideal as it was not too sweet and seemed easy enough. After a few attempts I finally felt happy to serve these cupcakes to people I don’t know.
Skip to the end for the recipe!
Red velvet cupcakes are a tad weird really and the recipe has a number of quirks. Making these cupcakes was a great learning process and I learnt more about the science of baking and improved my baking technique.
How do you get the red colour?
I have always been a tad worried about successfully baking a red velvet cake after one of my friends told me a couple of years ago about how she accidentally made her red velvet cupcakes green. However, after reading online it was clear that the secret to the bright red colour was actually pretty simple and completely come down to the quality of the food colouring. I used SugarFlair Extra Red food colouring which I bought from amazon. While this food colouring is amazing and produces a fantastic deep red flavour it honestly stains everything. I advise wearing gloves when handling it. Some people use beetroot as a natural flavour but of course it will be a much milder red/pink.
What is the main flavour?
Red velvet is basically a chocolate and vanilla cupcake. The subtle chocolate flavour comes from the cocoa powder and the vanilla taste comes from the vanilla extract. The cupcake is then paired with an incredible vanilla cream cheese frosting.
Vinegar in a cake? Why?
Classic red velvet recipes use baking powder, baking soda and white wine vinegar in the cake batter. Using white wine vinegar in baking is really unusual for me so I googled it to understand why. The addition of vinegar helps the cake rise and remain light and tender, mainly because the vinegar reacts with the baking soda to help leaven the cake! Apparently it also helps preserve the red colour if using natural food colouring such as beetroot.
The cheat sheet for a super moist cupcake!
For a moist, tasty cupcake you need to make sure all the cold ingredients, such as butter, buttermilk and cream cheese are at room temperature. The addition of buttermilk is essential for this super moist texture. You can buy buttermilk in any supermarket but if your in a pinch you can make your own by adding 1 tbsp of lemon juice to 240 ml of whole or semi-skimmed milk, then leaving it aside for 5 mins.
This vanilla cream cheese frosting is so creamy, tasty and in my opinion the best part of the cake. It pairs well with the mild chocolate and vanilla flavour from the cupcake. Combine the butter, cream cheese, vanilla and icing sugar, then pop it in the fridge for 20 mins to allow it to firm up. This makes it super easy to pipe on top of your cupcakes.
As my sister had a gold theme for her get together. I used gold cupcake cases and dusted the tops with some edible gold glitter. I used a Wilton 1M pipping nozzle to pipe the cupcake, starting in the centre and slowly moving in a circular motion until the tops were completely covered.
As this was for a birthday I decided to take some time to perfect these cupcakes partly because I have never made them before and because the world of piping is still so new to me.
Attempt 1: I made 6 cupcakes to test it out. Overall I found out that filling the cases 2/3rd of the way is essential to avoid huge cupcakes. Also my oven was a tad too high. On my first attempt at piping cupcakes they were really variable but got it by the end.
Attempt 2: I made another 6 cupcakes and finally got the size I wanted and found lowering the temperature and baking for around 18 mins was the winner.
Attempt 3: The event and it all went to plan!
I made the cupcakes the day before and kept them in the fridge. They need to be refrigerated because of the cream cheese frosting. To serve remove from the fridge long enough for them to hit room temperature.
Alternatively if you want to avoid refrigerating the cupcakes you can make the cupcakes the day before and store in an airtight container. Prepare the icing and store in the fridge overnight then pipe the cupcakes just before serving. I would have done this but I did not have the time on the day.
I bought some cupcake boxes from amazon. They looked really professional. A couple of people asked where I bought the cupcakes from which is honestly a win! However, I now have 21 leftover cupcake boxes so I expect I will be making a lot of cupcakes for friends in the future.
How long do they last?
Due to the cream cheese in the frosting you should not leave a frosted cupcakes at room temperature for more than a few hours. They will last a few days in the fridge but don’t worry too much about that as they will not last long enough for this to be an issue!
The first thing of note from these cupcakes is how bright red they are. These cupcakes look so impressive if I do say so myself! The cakes were light, fluffy and really moist. They had a slight chocolate and vanilla flavour with the slight tang from the buttermilk. They were not too sweet and paired well with the cream cheese frosting. I loved this frosting and just kept eating it straight from the spoon. I want to put in on everything I bake.
This is the type of cake I would never have got round to making because like I said I am not a red velvet fan but I may have been slightly converted. The reviews from family and friends have been really positive which made the multiple attempts worth it. Not bad for my first proper go at piping cupcakes too.
I prefer large cakes to cupcakes so I can’t wait to have a go at making a full cake. Although, I have already had requests from other family members to make these cupcakes again so I expect it will not be too long until I bust out this recipe again.
Prep: 15 mins, Bake: 20-25 mins
The recipe is from Jane's Patisserie
75 g Unsalted butter
150 g Caster sugar
2 Eggs (Medium)
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 tsp Red food colouring
15 g Cocoa powder
150 ml Buttermilk
175 g Plain flour
1 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp White wine vinegar
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
150 g Unsalted butter
150 g Icing sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
300 g Cream cheese (Philadelphia)
Gold edible glitter (optional)
Preheat the oven at 180, 150 fan, gas mark ?
Cream the butter and caster sugar
Add the eggs and combine
Add the food colouring and vanilla extract
Add in the sieved cocoa powder and mix
Add 1/2 the buttermilk and combine. Followed by half the sieved flour
Add the remaining 1/2 of the buttermilk and once incorporated add the remaining flour
Add the baking flour, baking powder and white wine vinegar and mix until just incorporated. Do not over mix
Place your cupcake cases on your cupcake tin and fill each one 2/3rd full
Bake for 20-25 mins. (Mine took around 18 mins)
Leave to cool completely before icing
Make the icing by combining butter and sieved icing sugar
Add the vanilla extract
Add the cream cheese and mix well. You want a thick icing and I find popping it into the fridge first really helpful
Pipe your cupcakes
Dust with edible glitter for decoration (optional of course)
Check out my other bakes