20 Oct 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red velvet – reminds me of royalty somehow. And these cupcakes make me think of princesses having dainty little bites of these for tea.

I have had such a wonderful response to my blog and it is the most flattering thing in the world when friends insist that they want good old ME to bake them important stuff like a birthday cake!! I have tried them out before but the cream cheese frosting never turned out well. So I was pretty surprised when Jahnavi insisted on having a red velvet cake for her birthday with cream cheese frosting. This accompanied by a squeal when I tentatively agreed - all the while hoping that I break my red velvet cake jinx this time.

I read my baking bible religiously and Dorie Greenspan advices that big complicated stuff (read big cakes with icing for me) are best left to really experienced people, and one should start off with easy things. So I decided to break my red velvet cake jinx by baking tiny mini cupcakes instead of one huge cake. And well, what can I say? The advice of this baking guru is never wrong!

This cupcake originated in the southern parts of the United States and has been made famous by Magnolia Bakery and the TV show, Sex and the City. The red colour is formed when the cocoa powder reacts with the acid in the buttermilk. I am also given to believe that white wine vinegar also plays a role in this (apart from the red colouring used of course). Wikipedia tells me that during World War II, when food was rationed, bakers used beetroot juice to enhance the colour of their cakes! For those of you who abhor food colouring, let me know if you try this out!

 Try this wonderfully moist cake out. It has such a satiny finish to it that I almost don’t want to eat it.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Yields – 12 mini cupcakes, 24 roses, 1 normal sized cupcake

Adapted from – The Purple Foodie via The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

This recipe doesn’t call for vinegar – though I used it. If you don’t have access to any, you can simply double the amount of baking soda.


4 Tablespoons / 60g. butter, at room temperature
¾ cup / 150g. powdered sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 / 10g. Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp / 20ml. red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup / 120ml. buttermilk or well beaten yoghurt
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt (if you’re using unsalted butter)
1/2 tsp teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon white wine vinegar

1.                 Preheat the oven to 170°C/350°F.

2.                 In a bowl, beat butter and the sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy and well mixed.
3.                 Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.
4.                 In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a very thick, dark paste. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured
5.                 Turn the mixer up to slow speed, add a third of the flour mixture, then half the buttermilk, a third of the flour, half the buttermilk, and ending with the rest of the flour. You can fold in the last third of flour by hand.
6.                 In another bowl, add the baking soda to the vinegar. Be careful – this will fizz. Add immediately to the batter and mix well.
7.                 Spoon mixture into mini cupcake moulds.
8.                 Bake for about 20-25 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
9.                 Let cool completely before frosting the cakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 1/6 cups / 150 gms. icing sugar, sifted
1 ½ Tablespoons butter / 25gms. room temperature
2 ounces / 60 gms. cream cheese, cold
25 grams cream

1.                  Beat the powdered sugar and butter together. Mix on medium-slow speed until it comes together and is well mixed.
2.                  Add the cream cheese and cream all at once and beat on medium to medium-high until incorporated.
3.                  Turn the mixer to medium-high and beat for 5 minutes, or until the frosting becomes light and fluffy. Be careful not to over beat or the icing might get runny.


  1. Yum :)

    I just had Red Velvet cupcakes at Hummingbird Bakery yesterday.. Yours look delish!
    Also, sign up for adsense for your blog.. You can earn money through your blog.

  2. Thank youuuu, Divyaaa :-). Will talk to you about adsense on chat :-).

  3. Lovely post. I like how you have put it in a simple way :D

  4. thank you! thats very nice of you :-).

  5. I don't think I ever properly thanked you for the cupcakes! Quite apart from being a the most amazingly innovative cake, it was so lovingly done that I kind of didn't want to eat them (and I did try preserving them for as long as I could)
    But not eating them would be fundamentally depriving yourself of one of the most sublime experiences ever. These melt in your mouth, and go down super smooth.
    Radhika kept these away from me till the absolute last moment (good thing too, I would have wrestled them away from her) but like anything good in life, it was worth the wait.