dense red velvet
(**EDIT – MARCH 2011 – I’m taking this one back to the drawing board as I wasn’t TOTALLY convinced about these ones – even though everyone else seemed to really like them! Stay tuned for some new Red Velvet recipe results :D)

I tried out a couple of red velvet cupcake recipes for a birthday party and this one absolutely knocked my socks off! Lovely, rich red colour and super moist flavour (I attribute that to the sour cream). (Original recipe copied from The Pastry Queen, Rebecca Rather).
    • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) red food coloring


  • 3 1/2 tablespoons high-quality unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or if using only all purpose, about 3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Fill muffin cups (approximately 2 1/2 dozen) with paper liners.
In a small bowl, stir the red food coloring and cocoa powder together to make a smooth paste. Set aside. using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition, then add the cocoa paste while continuing to beat. Reduce the mixer speed to medium, and beat the batter for about 4 minutes. In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, all-purpose flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir the vanilla into the buttermilk (this can be done in the measuring cup).
Add the flour mixture in three increments, starting and ending with the flour. Beat on medium speed just until the ingredients are combined. Add the sour cream and vinegar and beat on low speed until combined.
Fill the muffin cups three-fourths full with batter. Bake for 18 minutes or so, just until the cupcakes feel firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not overbake, or the cupcakes will dry out. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then unmold onto a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.
Yield: Approximately 2 1/2 dozen standard cupcakes
MASCARPONE CHEESE ICING – Be forewarned, mascarpone cheese is NOT CHEAP! I’ve also included a regular cream cheese icing below.
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature


  • 1 cup (8 ounces) cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone (Italian cream cheese, available at most grocery stores)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or mint extract



In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the mascarpone on very low speed until just combined (Be careful, once you add the mascarpone, excessive beating can make the frosting curdle). Stir in the vanilla or mint extract.
12 oz cream cheese, softened
12 oz butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups icing sugar
Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Add sugar and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes.