Friday, April 23, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

These cupcakes are also known as bribes. We had a big workshop at work today and I thought these would be an excellent motivator for my team at morning tea time. The downside was that we all peaked after the big sugar hit and spent the latter part of the day having withdrawals.

I love red velvet cake. The colour of the mixture just makes me smile.
The colour will change a little during the baking, to a deeper more raspberry red. This did confuse a few of my colleagues who were surprised to find that the cake is really a mild chocolate and vanilla cake. Go red food colouring. If you only eat organic or have a child with ADHD this cake is not for you. I think the taste makes it worth any possible carcinogenic properties.

Magnolia Bakery's Red Velvet Cupcakes


3 1/2 cups plain flour
170g unsalted butter*
2 1/4 cups caster sugar
3 large eggs*
6 tablespoons of red food colouring (I use Queen Pillar Box Red)
3 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk*
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  1. Line two 24 hole muffin tins with cupcake liners
  2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius
  3. In a small bowl sift the flour and set aside
  4. Cream the butter and sugar on the medium speed of a mixer (KitchenAid or hand) until they are very light and fluffy, it's almost impossible to over beat at this stage so aim for about 5 minutes
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, aim for about 1 minute per egg
  6. In a small bowl whisk together the cocoa, red colouring and vanilla, then add to the batter and beat well
  7. In a measuring cup stir together the buttermilk and the salt, and then beat into the batter alternating with the flour until the ingredients are just mixed. Do not overbeat at this stage or you will end up with a very dry cake.
  8. In a small bowl mix together the cider vinegar and the baking soda and then add to the cake mixture and mix it in well. Make sure that you scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula so that all of the ingredients are thoroughly mixed in.
  9. Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full, this mixture will rise quite a lot so overfilling can lead to disaster
  10. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in tho the centre of a cupcake comes out clean
  11. Cool and ice with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting


450g cream cheese (I use light Philadelphia)*
6 tablespoons unsalted butter*
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
5 cups sifted icing sugar

  1. In a large bowl on the medium speed of an electric mixer beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the vanilla and beat well.
  3. Gradually add the sugar a cup at a time, beating continuously until smooth and creamy.
  4. Cover and refrigerate the icing for 2-3 hours to thicken before using. Don't leave it any longer or it will become too hard to work with.
*Always allow cold ingredients to come to room temperature before using them (unless otherwise specified, for example in pastry recipes). It will make the whole mixing process so much easier and gives a much better result.


  1. I absolutely love red velvet - it's actually my favourite type of cake - surely we can work something into my wedding cake with red velvet right? hehehe
    Magnolia Bakery do the best ones - i'm going to attempt this recipe very soon as a special someone bought me the book for my birthday.
    Btw - what is queen pillar red box colouring and where can I get it?

  2. I am glad I am not the only red velvet obsessive around! Red Pillar Box should be available from most supermarkets in the cake decorating section, it's the brightest red I have found. Pinky reds just won't cut it. Another thing I've found is that to get a brighter red velvet cake you're better off using a cheaper supermarket cocoa (like Cadbury Bourneville) rather than a fancier Dutch Process cocoa. The Dutch Process cocoas darken the mixture a little.

    You may have seen in my list of things to achieve by 30 (July 2011!) that I need to make a wedding cake, so I can get some practice in before you and Dane wed!! In all seriousness, red velvet would work for some designs, just not the epic ones with millions of tiers and sculpting.