Red velvet cupcakes are as trendy as ever – they’re all the rage at birthday parties, flying off bakery store shelves. People seem to love red velvet cupcakes, which date back to the 1920s, and are believed to have origins at the Waldorf-Astoria. (David Leite of Leite’s Culinaria has a great write-up about the history of red velvet cake and the scientific myths it seems to have triggered.)
Red velvet cake is essentially a mild chocolate cake that has been spiked with a generous quantity of red food colouring – most often, the cocoa powder is dialed down to allow for the colour to come through. I prefer a little more chocolate in my cupcakes – feel free to adjust the quantity of cocoa and colour to increase the colour or chocolate flavour accordingly. To make wee cupcakes that are perfect for baby showers as well as for little fingers (and small appetites), bake the batter in paper-lined or buttered mini muffin tins.
Red Velvet Cupcakes
Adapted from Paula Deen, via the Food Network
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup canola or other mild vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp red food coloring
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 9 oz (250 g) pkg cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 cups icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 350F and line large or small muffin cups with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla; add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just until blended.
Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until domed and springy to the touch. Cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth. Slowly beat in the sugar on low speed, adding enough to achieve a spreadable consistency. Spread or pipe onto completely cooled cupcakes.
Makes about 2 dozen large or 3 1/2 dozen small cupcakes.