It’s more than just a lightly chocolate-flavored red cake or the subject of a line from one of my favorite movies, Steel Magnolias. Done right (read: not in the shape of an animal), a red velvet cake is rich, smooth, and incredibly decadent. Incredibly decadent if it’s topped with cream cheese frosting. Its origins are murky but although it seems to mostly be attributed to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in NYC, the cake has been a Southern dessert menu staple for at least all of my lifetime.
We used the blood-red cake as the “spoon” for cream cheese frosting on our Halloween Cupcakes this year. And believe it or not, it’s not just the frosting that makes the cake such a favorite. The alternating layers of ruby red and bright white in an over-the-top tall slice of red velvet cake make a dramatic statement after dinner.
And the cream cheese frosting rocks, too
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Moist, tangy red velvet cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting.
- For the cupcakes:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and softened
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup (2 oz) red food coloring
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 Tbsp white vinegar
- For the frosting:
- 8 oz cream cheese (no need to soften)
- 5 Tbsp butter, softened
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 3 - 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- *To make the cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tin with baking liners or grease and flour the muffing cups.
- Cream butter and sugar on medium-high for two minutes. Mix in one egg at a time, beating after each addition.
- Turn mixer off and add food coloring and cocoa powder to bowl. Turn on low until just incorporated and then beat on medium for 4 minutes.
- Sift together the flours, salt, and baking soda and set aside. Stir buttermilk and vanilla together. Add dry ingredients to the bowl in three batches, alternately with the buttermilk in two batches, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat on medium until just combined. Add sour cream and vinegar and beat on low until combined.
- Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 25-35 minutes until the cupcakes test done with a toothpick. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then cool completely on a rack.
- *To make the frosting:
- Cream cream cheese, butter, and vanilla on med-high speed. Sift the powdered sugar after measuring.
- Add the powdered sugar to the bowl in batches, beating on low until just combined and then beating on high until desired consistency is reached.
- For a stiffer icing, add more powdered sugar.
Yields: 24 cupcakes
Estimated time: 1 hour