Monday, 14 April 2014

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Three years ago I went on a bit of an OE (Overseas Experience) with my husband. We mostly travelled in America. On my list of things to do, was to eat Red Velvet cake. I really didn't know that much about it except it seemed to be really popular, and it was red! I didn't even know what kind of flavour Red Velvet was! 
I managed to taste a Red Velvet cupcake, Frozen Yoghurt and a Red Velvet layered dessert. (I also became a huge fan of peanut buttered flavoured desserts while over there so sometimes I picked that flavour!). 

Ever since coming back to NZ, I've searched for a cupcake as delicious as the one I tasted while I was in America! Red Velvet has become an increasingly popular flavour over here too, and with the huge boom in cupcake popularity, you can often find them. The cupcake I had was light yet moist, and had the most delicious, creamy icing. The flavour of Red Velvet is actually chocolate, yet something about the red colour confuses your taste buds and it seems to take on a taste of it's own! The best icing is a decadent cream cheese, heavy on the spreading! 

For my son's first birthday, I wanted to make a cake or cupcakes in Red Velvet. The theme for his party was cows, as his nickname is Moo-Moo (a story for another time!). I found it hard to find a cake in a cow shape that would fit with my idea. After numerous Pinterest searches, I came up with the idea of a cow made out of cupcakes! So this is exactly what we did! I say "we" because really my amazingly talented sister baked the cupcakes AND iced them AND arranged a really awesome cow cake! 

Those cupcakes were absolutely delicious! Exactly what I was imagining them to be!

When I was asked to bake cupcakes for a dear friend's baby shower recently, you can imagine I jumped at the chance to do Red Velvet again!
This is a recipe I found on Pinterest, and you can find the original recipe here. I doubled the whole recipe to get 24 cupcakes. The website for this recipe has a really great video you can watch about Red Velvet and also how to make the cupcakes. 

Red Velvet Cupcakes (



1 ¼ cups sifted plain flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
¼ cup butter, room temperature
¾ white sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon red food colouring
½ teaspoon white vinegar
½ teaspoon baking soda


250g cream cheese, room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup icing sugar, sifted
⅔ cup cream (not light) 


Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius, and line your muffin pan with cupcake papers.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla, beat until combined.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk and red food colouring until you have an evenly coloured mixture. 

With your beater on low speed, alternately add the flour and buttermilk mixture in thirds, beginning and ending with the flour. 

In a small cup, mix together the vinegar and baking soda to fizz, and then quickly fold into the cupcake mixture. 

Divide the batter evenly into your prepared cupcake pan. Fill each case about ⅔ full. Use the back of a spoon to smooth the top of the cupcake mixture. 

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 18-23 minutes until a toothpick or skewer comes out clean. 
Remove from oven and allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove. Ice when completely cool.

Whip the cream until thickened but not completely whipped, about the consistency of custard. Beat the cream cheese in your mixer until smooth. Add the icing sugar and beat until smooth, then add the vanilla extract. Add the cream and beat until thick enough for piping.
Add more or less cream until you get the right consistency. 

I baked my cupcakes in two batches as I only have one muffin pan. The original recipe advises to "work quickly" once you've added the baking soda/vinegar liquid, but I do not think that my cupcakes were adversely affected by the waiting time.
The original recipes doesn't tell you to whip the cream before adding it to the cream cheese mixture. I remember when we made these for my son's birthday, that the frosting was quite soft, so by whipping the cream a little first, it seemed to make a firmer frosting.
If you're making these cupcakes in advance, I would suggest storing them in the fridge 
as the icing will soften quickly once at room temperature. 

I've actually not piped icing like this before, so I was pleasantly surprised to see how they turned out! And it's amazing what sprinkles will do to cover up any mistakes!

The baby shower was beautifully decorated. There were cranes and paper bunting made from old children's books. We also each painted a "onesie" as a gift to the mama-to-be. This is my version, an anchor in a mid-grey colour (surprise, surprise!!) Such a cool idea! I think there are lots of suggestion and ideas on Pinterest on how to do this. 

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