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Recipes

Anna Olson’s Red Velvet Cupcakes

BT Vancouver | posted Monday, Feb 23rd, 2015

A retro classic has come back into fashion again. A mild & moist chocolate cupcake is tinted with red food colouring for drama, and the cream cheese frosting is sinfully decadent.

Makes 15 cupcakes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Cupcakes:
6 Tbsp (90 mL) unsalted butter at room temperature
6 Tbsp (90mL) packed dark brown sugar
6 Tbsp (90 mL) white sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
½ tsp (2 mL) vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (310 mL) all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp (30 mL) cocoa powder
½ tsp (2 mL) baking powder
½ tsp (2 mL) baking soda
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk
2 tsp (10 mL) white vinegar
red food colouring paste

Cream Cheese Frosting:
½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup (175 mL) cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups (500 mL) icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
red food colouring paste (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C) and line muffin tins with large paper liners.

2. Beat the butter, brown sugar and white sugar together on high speed for 1 minute. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, stir the buttermilk, vinegar and a dash of food colouring paste (about 1/8 tsp/0.5 mL) together. Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk mixture, blending well after each addition. Spoon the batter evenly between the cupcake liners and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the top of the cupcakes spring back when gently pressed. Cool the cupcakes for 10 minutes in the tins, then take then out to cool completely on a cooling rack.

3. For the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese for 3 minutes or until fluffy. Add the icing sugar and vanilla and beat gently until the sugar is incorporated, then beat more vigorously until the icing is fluffy. If you wish, you can add red colouring paste to the frosting. Pipe or spread the frosting on each cupcake.

The cupcakes should be stored chilled, but served at room temperature. They will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.

TIPS

• It is important to use a lighter-coloured cocoa powder, not a Dutch Process or “ruddy red” for Red velvet cupcakes. A darker cocoa power will mute the red colour and the visual impact.

• For a more natural version (sans red food colouring) you can add ¾ cup of finely grated raw beets to the buttermilk and add an additional ¼ cup of flour. This will make more of a “pink velvet” colour, but now you can say you ate your veggies!

• Baking with unsalted butter leaves you in charge of the salt. Recipe to recipe, the butter (and the salt) requirements vary, so by baking with unsalted butter, you have complete control. Additionally, salt is used in baking for the same reason it’s used in cooking – to heighten and balance flavours. If you are looking to reduce your salt consumption, you can eliminate from most baking recipes without compromising the chemistry of the baking.

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