Over the course of its history, red velvet cake has been referred to by many other titles, including a $300 cake, a red mystery cake, a red carpet cake, a Waldorf red cake, a red royal cake, a red feather cake, and a red devil’s food cake, among others. The icing is often made of cream cheese, which goes well with the trademark red hue.
Traditional recipes for red velvet cupcakes call for a mixture of cocoa powder, vinegar, and buttermilk. This combination induces a chemical reaction in the buttermilk and cocoa powder, which helps the cupcakes get their signature dark burgundy hue. However, in order to get a more bright color, we often add red food coloring to the batter while baking cupcakes nowadays.
This particular combination of ingredients not only lightens the color of the cake, but it also breaks down the gluten in the wheat, producing a texture that is more refined and silky than that of other cakes. The term “velvet cakes” was coined in order to differentiate these more tender cakes from other types of cakes.
Is Chocolate the Only Ingredient in Red Velvet Cupcakes?
The amount of chocolate that is called for in the recipe determines whether the finished product will be a chocolate cake or a red velvet cake. While red velvet cake recipes ask for only a touch of cocoa powder, chocolate cakes are often considerably heavier on the chocolate flavor. In addition, chocolate cakes sometimes demand for either water or coffee, whereas red velvet cakes rely on buttermilk and vinegar.
Should I Use Cake Flour Instead?
These cupcakes are best made using cake flour, which helps produce a wonderful tender crumb and “velvet” texture, although regular flour can be used in its place. All-purpose flour plus either cornstarch or arrowroot powder can be used to produce a homemade cake flour replacement. Take one cup of all-purpose flour and scoop out two teaspoons. Substitute 2 tablespoons of cornstarch or arrowroot, and whisk to incorporate. One cup of cake flour may be made in this way.
IN REGARDS TO THE CUPCAKES:
- 8 teaspoons (about one stick) of unsalted butter
- 1 and a half cups of sugar in granulated form
- 2 jumbo-sized eggs
- 1 ounce of liquid food coloring in the red hue, divided into 2 teaspoons
- 1 teaspoon of white vinegar that has been distilled
- 1 milliliter of pure vanilla essence
- 2 and a half cups of cake flour (see Notes on Recipe).
- three tablespoons of cocoa powder, unsweetened
- 1 teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate
- 1 milligram of kosher salt 1 fluid ounce of buttermilk
IN ORDER TO MAKE THE CREAM CHEESE ICING:
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) of butter that has not been salted
- Cream cheese measuring 8 ounces
- 2 teaspoons of essence of vanilla bean
- a quarter of a teaspoon of kosher salt
- four and a half to five cups of powdered sugar
- Put one stick of unsalted butter into the bowl of a stand mixer (or a big bowl if you’re going to be using an electric hand mixer), and start the mixer. Allow it rest at room temperature for approximately an hour, or until the texture has become more malleable.
- Set the temperature in the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and then arrange the racks so that they split the oven into thirds. Prepare two normal muffin tins with 12 wells each by lining them with paper liners.
- In the basin containing the butter, pour in 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar. After three to four minutes of beating at medium speed with the paddle attachment, the mixture should be airy and fluffy. After adding two big eggs, whip the mixture for approximately a minute, until it is pale and smooth. After adding 2 ounces of red liquid food coloring, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence, whisk the mixture until it is completely blended, which should take around 15 seconds.
- In a medium bowl, combine 2 and a half cups of cake flour, three tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, one teaspoon of baking soda, and one teaspoon of kosher salt. Mix everything together with a whisk, paying close attention to avoid any clumps of cocoa powder.
- Mix on low speed until the flour and butter combination is completely blended after adding one third of the flour mixture. Add a half a cup of the buttermilk, and continue beating until everything is fully incorporated. Mix in fifty percent of the remaining flour mixture, followed by the remaining fifty percent of the buttermilk. Using the leftover flour mixture, finish mixing in the ingredients until they are barely mixed. Put a little more than half of the batter into each of the muffin wells, then divide the remaining batter among the wells.
- Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Allow to cool for five minutes on the wire racks. After approximately forty-five minutes, move the cupcakes to the wire racks to finish cooling down fully.
BEGIN BY PREPARING THE FROSTING:
- Put two sticks of unsalted butter and eight ounces of cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a big bowl if you’re going to be using an electric hand mixer). Do this approximately one hour before you want to decorate the cupcakes. Allow it rest at room temperature until the texture has been altered.
- Mix in a quarter of a teaspoon of kosher salt and two tablespoons of vanilla essence. About a minute should be spent using the paddle attachment to beat the mixture until it is silky smooth and airy. While the mixer is running, gradually add between 4 1/2 and 5 cups of powdered sugar, going approximately 1 cup at a time, and beat until the mixture reaches the desired level of fluffiness.
- Apply frosting, either spread or piped, to the cupcakes. If you choose, you may crumble some of the cupcakes and sprinkle them on top of the ones that have been iced.
NOTES ON THE RECIPE
Food coloring: If followed exactly, this recipe will produce a dark crimson hue. You may use up to twice as much liquid red food coloring to achieve a red that is deeper, richer, and more brilliant.
Cake flour: In the event that you do not have access to cake flour, you may substitute an equal amount of all-purpose flour and cornstarch. After sifting together 2 cups of all-purpose flour, plus 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, and 5 teaspoons of cornstarch, continue with the recipe as directed.
Cupcakes may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to four days, or they can be frozen (frosted or unfrosted) for up to three months. Either way, the storage time is the same.