A little while ago I blogged about making red velvet cupcakes again. 

I posted this recipe for the ones I made for my daughter’s first birthday last year. While everyone really enjoyed them, for me, something was still wanting.

Since then, I’ve tried 2 or 3 more red velvet recipes, all with different variations, and have arrived at this one (so far – I still have 2 more to try!) as being the best of the bunch. It is a combination of the original recipes for red velvet from the Magnolia Bakery in New York City and Sprinkles Cupcakes out of Beverly Hills.

One major thing that happened with this recipe – and I am pretty sure I know why, but if anyone else has any ideas, let me know what you think! The food colouring separated a little in the cupcakes, leaving them with a somewhat mottled red-brown appearance. I believe this may have happened because I used the whisk later in the recipe on my mixer instead of paddle (which I almost always use). Or it could have been because I didn’t mix the flour in with a spoon (which I ALWAYS do) OR it could be I didn’t mix the baking soda mixture in properly. I haven’t had a chance to try it again just yet to eliminate the possibilities, but if you do try this, let me know your results!

Other than the colour separation, these cupcakes were phenomenal. Very moist, light (air bubbles inside were a LITTLE bigger than I like to see, but that would be because I mixed the flour in with the mixer and over mixed *smacks self on hand*) and tasty. 

Although I would probably bump up the cocoa next time (I did the 3 tbsp the recipe calls for).

Another tip – I made some stupid mistakes this time around. I have 2 kinds of muffin pans – the typical Wilton dark pan, nonstick (whatever, that is NEVER the case) and a shiny, “commercial” style pan by Chicago Metallic that allows for more even baking.

Well, I’ve been noticing that the commercial pan takes longer to bake the cupcakes, so sometimes if I’m not careful, they end up a little drier than I’d like. So I switched to only the basic pan. And I used it three times in a row. Without letting it cool. The first batch turned out great!

But by the last batch, the sugar on top was carmelized and everything was melted and stuck. That’s one way to learn it! Take it from someone whose made the mistake – use a cool pan! (otherwise the sugar and butter will melt and start baking before everything else!)

**P.S. Stay tuned at the end for a tutorial on how to make strawberries out of fondant!**


3½ cups cake flour (not self-rising)
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
2 ½ cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
6 tbsp red food coloring (4 oz bottle)
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa (bump this up to 5, possibly 6!)
1½ tsp vanilla extract
1½ tsp salt
1½ cups buttermilk
1½ tsp cider vinegar
1½ tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour cupcake pans, or use paper liners.

In a small bowl, sift the flour and set aside.

In a large bowl, on medium speed of an electric mixer (with the paddle!), cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. 
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well (with the paddle!). 
In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts alternating and starting/ending with flour. 

With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. 

In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix WELL! EMPHASIS ON WELL!. 

Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Arrange the oven racks in the middle of the oven and bake the cupcakes 15-20 minutes (depending on your oven – cupcakes in mine are almost always done at around 18 minutes in the regular muffin pan).

Cool the cupcakes in the pan 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a rack before icing. 

12 ounces (1 block) cold cream cheese
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, firm but not cold
1/4 teaspoon salt
3-4 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine butter, salt, and cream cheese in mixer and beat on medium speed 2-3 minutes.

Add sugar just until incorporated. Don’t over mix. It should be thick but not fluffy.

Add vanilla. If necessary, add milk to thin.

Because I was doing a Strawberry Shortcake themed birthday party, I made these little strawberries out of (pre-dyed) red fondant. 

This was my very first experience with fondant, and I must say it was quite pleasant! Probably made all the more so because of the fact that I used Wilton Rolled Fondant which is already dyed and rolled, thus saving a LOT of the work! 

First, take a package of the red and a bit of the green fondant (or dye / make your own!).
Take a piece about the size of a quarter (or a bit smaller) and roll it about in your fingers until it starts to look like a strawberry.
(Please excuse my red fingers and thumb! Yick)

Next, take a sharp paring knife, or a corn cob holder :D, and score the “seeds” into the sides of your strawberry.
I found out quickly that fondant dries fairly fast, so it’s safer to do the scoring before you’re finished all of your strawberries.

Using a rounded point (maybe the end of the knife or corn cob holder :D), press an indent into the top of your strawberry. 
Form little leaves out of the green fondant, and press into the top of each strawb (as my 4-year-old likes to call them).
Allow them to dry at least overnight (preferably 24 hours, but I didn’t read the instructions properly and 12 hours was enough!) and “apply” to your cupcakes!
I was not at all happy with the way the strawberry leaves turned out, but my husband was impressed, so that’s all that matters! :0)