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Red Velvet Cupcakes – The Perfect Valentine’s Day Dessert Recipe

When it comes to making dessert for Valentine’s Day it is hard to resist these Red Velvet Cupcakes.
Moist and delicious, red tinted cupcakes infused with a light cocoa flavor and topped with a velvety cream cheese icing.

Although you could serve them as is, I prefer to top them with a cream cheese frosting along with holiday inspired sprinkles. With their vibrant color and delicious flavor, they are always a crowd favorite at Valentine’s Day parties, holiday gatherings, or as a simple sweet indulgence for your family and friends.

However, unlike other traditional cupcake recipes, this one requires a few simple tips and tricks which will make them turn out perfect every time.

red velvet cupcakes

Recipe Tips For Red Velvet Cupcakes

1. Choose Quality Ingredients:

Start with quality ingredients to ensure that your Red Velvet Cupcakes have the best flavor.

For instance, use real butter instead of margarine for a richer taste. And select high-quality cocoa powder to enhance the flavor in your cupcakes.

Remember, the better your ingredients, the better your cupcakes will turn out.

2. Cake Flour vs. All-Purpose Flour

For best results use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour. Cake flour is finer and has a lower protein content compared to all-purpose flour. This results in a lighter, more delicate cupcake texture.

However, if you don’t have cake flour, you can make your own homemade substitute. Do this by adding 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in a dry one cup measuring cup.

Then scoop all-purpose flour into the cup until it reaches the top. Level off the top of the flour and sift. You can then use this mixture in place of the cake flour.

sifting flour

3. Use Room Temperature Ingredients

Allow your eggs and butter to come to room temperature before starting. Room temperature ingredients blend more seamlessly, resulting in a smoother batter and better-textured cupcakes. This simple step can make a significant difference in the overall outcome of your dessert.

4. Use Vinegar

Although you may have never heard of adding vinegar to cupcake batter, it is what helps give these cupcakes their iconic flavor. Red velvet cupcakes are known for their subtle cocoa taste with a hint of tanginess.

By adding a small amount of vinegar it will enhance the acidity and balance the sweetness in the cake batter. This secret ingredient adds a unique touch without overpowering the other flavors.

5. Add Buttermilk

Buttermilk is another essential ingredient in red velvet cupcakes. It adds both moisture and a slight tanginess to the batter.

If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make a quick substitute by mixing regular milk with a small amount of vinegar or lemon juice.

Homemade Buttermilk Recipe: Add 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a measuring cup. Then pour the milk in the same cup until it reaches the 1 cup measuring mark. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Stir and use in your recipe.

red velvet batter

6. Food Coloring

Red velvet cupcakes get their signature color from food coloring. While some recipes call for specific types of food coloring, you can use everyday red food coloring available at your local grocery store.

However be sure to start with a small amount and adjust until you achieve the desired hue. Remember, a little goes a long way. And if you truly don’t want to use food coloring to make the cupcakes red, simply skip it!

7. Mixing Technique

The key to a light and fluffy cupcake lies in the mixing technique. Avoid overmixing the batter, as this can lead to dense cupcakes.

Gently fold the ingredients together until just combined. This ensures that the cupcakes rise properly but become light and airy.

8. Test For Doneness

Because all ovens cook at different rates, the only true way to know when cupcakes are done and ready to come out of the oven is by performing the toothpick test.

Two minutes before the recommended bake time, open the oven and insert a toothpick in the center of the cupcake that has been cooking in the center of your oven. If it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, your cupcakes are ready.

Do not wait until there are absolutely no crumbs on the toothpick. A few moist crumbs (not wet batter) will ensure that your Red Velvet Cupcakes aren’t too dry and crumbly.

cream cheese icing

9. Cream Cheese Frosting

Red velvet cupcakes are most often topped with cream cheese frosting. The sweet tangy frosting adds a delightful contrast to the subtle sweetness of the cake.

You can purchase pre-made cream cheese frosting or make your own. However if you are making it yourself be sure that your cream cheese and butter are softened to get a smooth consistency.

10. Additional Toppings

Elevate the look and taste of your red velvet cupcakes by adding various toppings. Add sprinkles, crushed nuts, or chocolate shavings to increase both the visual appeal and flavor.

These simple additions can take your cupcakes to the next level without much additional effort.

Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe

*Specific measurements and complete recipe instructions are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to continue to read the tips and tricks to making this recipe below.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1⁄2 cups of cake flour*
  • 2 tablespoons of Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1⁄2 cup of butter, room temperature
  • 1 1⁄2 cups of white sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup of buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons of red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of distilled white vinegar

Substitute cake flour with all-purpose flour and cornstarch: The ratio of all-purpose flour to cornstarch is 7:1. So, for every 1 cup of cake flour, you would substitute 14 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.

Frosting Ingredients (or use store-bought):

  • 1⁄2 cup of butter, room temperature
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 1⁄2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350°F and then line muffin pan with paper cupcake liners. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Then set the dry ingredients aside.

Beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixer for 3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla extract, and red food coloring.

To make the Red Velvet Cupcake batter add a third of the dry ingredients and mix, then add half of the wet ingredients. Repeat the process until you end with the dry ingredients.

cupcake liners filled with batter

Scoop batter into the lined cupcake pan, about 2⁄3 full. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean but with a few moist crumbs.

Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Make The Cream Cheese Frosting

Beat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla together for about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Then slowly add the powdered sugar, adjusting the amount of powdered sugar to your liking.

Wait until the cupcakes are completely cooled and spread on the frosting on top.

If you are looking for a smaller red velvet inspired recipe to make for Valentine’s Day make this Red Velvet Cookie Recipe. It is the perfect intimate recipe for two!

Enjoy! Mary

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Yield: 2 dozen

Red Velvet Cupcakes

red velvet cupcakes

Light and fluffy cupcakes with all of the red velvet cake flavor, topped with a delicious cream cheese icing.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 33 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups of cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons of Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups of white sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup of buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons of red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of distilled white vinegar

Frosting ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of butter, room temperature
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, set aside.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixer for 3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
  5. In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla extract, and red food coloring.
  6. Add a third of the dry ingredients and mix, then add half of the wet ingredients. Repeat the process until you end with the dry ingredients.
  7. Scoop batter into the lined cupcake pan, about 2/3rds full. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  9. Make The Frosting
  10. Beat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla together for about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  11. Slowly add the powdered sugar, adjusting the amount of powdered sugar to your liking.
  12. Wait until the cupcakes are completely cooled and spread on top.

Notes

Substitute cake flour with all-purpose flour and corn starch - The ratio of all-purpose flour to cornstarch is 7:1. So, for every 1 cup of cake flour, you would use 7 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Mix until well incorporated.

Recipe provided by Make Your Meals

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1 grams

Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g
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