I get a lot of requests for red velvet cake and this is an amazingly perfect recipe for red velvet. The cake itself is tender, moist and soft. The cream cheese frosting is silky, smooth and creamy. It is the perfect compliment to the red velvet cake and practically a must! The deep red color of the cake contrasted with the white cream cheese frosting has such a WOW! factor and makes it fun to eat. This is the same recipe I have used in several wedding and specialty cakes including this baby shower cake that I have posted on my cake designs page.
This is an easy recipe that comes together pretty quickly and gives spectacular results every time. Even though it has a small amount of cocoa powder in it, it is not really a chocolate cake. It is actually a buttermilk cake with a barely detectable hint of chocolate. The cocoa powder is supposed to aid in the red color of the cake. There is a chemical reaction between the alkali of the baking soda and the acidic ingredients of the vinegar and buttermilk that brings out the red tones in the cocoa powder. The reality is that the vibrant red color is achieved by using a generous amount of red food coloring. I have made this recipe without the food coloring and it turns out just as tasty but it just does not have the same visual impact. Without the red food coloring it is a light muddy reddish brown color. I know that red beet powder can be used to replace the food coloring but I have not tried that yet and just can’t say if it creates a vibrant red color or if it alters the flavor. I would love to hear if anyone has tried replacing beet powder for the food coloring.
- 2 ½ cups (350 grams) all purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups (300 grams) sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 ½ cups canola oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) red food color
- 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 8 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups (340g) powdered sugar, sifted
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°. Line 30 muffin pans with paper cupcake liners.
- In a mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Use a whisk to sift and combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, eggs and red food coloring. Mix well to combine. Poor half of the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix on low speed to smooth out any lumps. Add the remaining wet mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl then mix on medium speed until well combined.
- Fill the cupcake liners about half full and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you bake more than one muffin pan at a time, rotate the pans half way through cooking.
- To make the cream cheese frosting, combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl and beat on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add the powdered sugar until it is well incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on high speed for 1 more minute
- Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost them with a butter knife or pipe with a decorating tip. If you don’t have a tip you can place the frosting in a zip lock bag and cut a small hole in the corner of the bag then pipe it onto the cupcakes.
**This recipe works for a full size cake as well. One batch will make two 8-inch round cakes and will need to bake for 28-30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.