red-velvet-cupcake

I have been dancing the tango with Red Velvet Cake for some years now.  Just when I think I can turn my face away and retire my quest for the perfect recipe, the scarlet vixen has me pressed to her cheek striding across the dance floor once again.

Our love affair is always reignited in the month of February.  The marketing machines of the world are pressing Valentine’s Day upon us and my palate cannot resist cupid’s arrow.  Festive, moist, red cake topped with classic cream cheese frosting… I am dazed with desire.

What is it about Red Velvet Cake that has captured my heart?  Well, even more than most cakes, there is an element of chemistry that makes this cake right.  That magical mixture of baking soda and vinegar gives me a mad-scientist high.  Second, this cake plays hard to get.  Recipes vary greatly and have often disappointed only fueling my longing to test, try, bake and separate the good from the bad.

This year’s Red Velvet Cake recipe comes from my sister.  If you have been reading my blog long, you will know she is the source of many of my winners.  I don’t usually favor the use of shortening and full bottles of food coloring in my baking.  But, as with everyone that we love, we make exceptions for the smallest incompatibilities.

Red Velvet Cake

Makes about 24 cupcakes or one 9-inch layer cake.

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon white vinegar

Grease two 9 inch round pans or line muffin pans with paper liners for cupcakes (makes approx. 2 doz.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make a paste of cocoa and food coloring. Set aside.

Combine the buttermilk, salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the cocoa mixture. Beat in the buttermilk mixture alternately with the flour, mixing just until incorporated. Stir together baking soda and vinegar, then gently fold into the cake batter.

Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

* For cupcakes, fill each liner approximately 2/3 full. Bake 15 – 20 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 lb. cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix cream cheese and butter and sugar until fluffy; about 5 minutes. Add vanilla

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29 Responses to “Red Velvet Cake + Whipped = True Love Forever”

  1. Jacqui Says:

    I love everything about this post! The photo, the story, the sprinkles and cream cheese frosting! I’ve never made red velvet cake, but you make me really want to!

  2. Anna @ unsweetenedcocoa Says:

    “the scarlet vixen has me pressed to her cheek striding across the dance floor once again.”
    Ah, delightful

    This seems to be a dessert that DOES capture the heart, red velvet and all. People get very smitten with it. I’ve never made it, but am getting tempted. As Valentine’s Day dessert go, it can’t get more perfect than that.

  3. Jen Says:

    I am definitely making these!

  4. Heather @ chiknpastry Says:

    Red velvet is my favorite. and i have a few recipes sitting around to try but just need an excuse to do it. maybe they’ll make good superbowl treats? hmmm….

  5. my spatula Says:

    your red velvet cupcake has captured MY heart!

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  7. James Says:

    Looks great… now if I could only figure out where the name “velvet cake” came from

  8. chef renee Says:

    That brings a tear to my eye, mostly ’cause I can’t take it off the screen and eat it! I too have had a hard time finding a recipe I like. I’ll have to try this jewel, thank your sister.
    Cheers! to having an affair with red velvet,( don’t tell devils food!)

  9. Caroline Says:

    My day started perfectly with a cupcake and ended even better with all your kind comments. Wishing I could send each and every one of you your very own red velvet sprinkle-topped gem!

  10. Jennifer Says:

    Darling photo! Now I’m smitten also.

  11. molly Says:

    I love the heart patterned wrapper that this cupcake is in.

  12. stephen Says:

    Holy moly! I just got hit with cupids cake arrow .. I’m in loooove

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  15. mrs4444 Says:

    I have always loved red velvet cake (ever since grade school hot lunch), but I am far too lazy to make it. Vinegar, huh? That’s interesting!

  16. Jen Says:

    I made them!! :)
    http://havethecake.blogspot.com/2010/02/creamy-red-velvet-cupcakes.html

  17. Jen Says:

    They were DELICIOUS!!! Honestly, and with Champagne, a hit! ;)

  18. Joyce Says:

    I have at least 3 or 4 different recipes for red velvet cake and have made them all and have found they’re ok, but not great. This is one of my most favorite desserts and always impresses the crowd! I’m trying this recipe for my husband’s birthday tomorrow night so I’ll let you know how I like it. I’m going to do the traditional 2 layered cake for big birthday effect. I really haven’t found a red velvet recipe that I LOVE so I really felt like this blog was speaking directly to me! I’ll let you know how it turns out. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  19. Joyce Says:

    A follow up to my comment above, I did make this cake this weekend and it was really delicious. Everybody enjoyed it (or said they did!) For whatever reason, 30 minutes baking time for 2- 9 inch round cake pans was too long so next time I’ll watch them more carefully. There did seem to be a swirling effect with some darker swirls here or there on the bottom of the cake. Overall, a recipe I’ll try again. I was surprised to see it needed 2 whole ounces of food coloring, I’m used to 1 ounce in my other red velvet recipes but the color did sure turn out deep and beautifully red! I would say the frosting recipe is a tad too sweet and I find if it has this much powdered sugar it sometimes overwhelms the simplicity of the cake flavor that I love, so next time I’ll reduce the amount of confectioner’s sugar. Sorry for the long post. Thanks for sharing, Caroline–I’ll be trying more of your recipes!

  20. A Says:

    Is there a substitute for cocoa? can you use cadbury hot chocolate?

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  22. christina Says:

    Made this for my honey last night- BIG HIT. Maybe the best red velvet cake I’ve ever had (and not bc I made it- it really is delicious.) ps I’m not even a red velvet fan. Thanks!!

  23. Monica K. Says:

    This is an AMAZING recipe. Even my in-laws that don’t eat much dessert absolutely loved the cake!

  24. Chaas Says:

    This “free sharing” of ifnoramiton seems too good to be true. Like communism.

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  27. Neha Says:

    I made this day before for my husband’s big 30th and he absolutely loved it!! :D Thank you so much for such a lovely recipe!

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