Seeing red

 Earlier this week, I went to a local cupcake shop with some friends and one of my friends really wanted red velvet cupcakes. Unfortunately, this particular cupcake place did not have red velvet. Even though we were more than satisfied with the cupcakes we did end up sampling, I couldn’t stop thinking about red velvet cake and how my friend wanted one, but never got it. This made me sad. I don’t like to be sad, so I thought I’d make myself (and her) feel better by making red velvet cupcakes to share.

This turned out to be a pretty good idea, anyway, since I am making cupcakes for a wedding later this year, and I have yet to find my ultimate red velvet cupcake recipe. So I thought this was a very efficient use of time – testing a recipe for wedding cupcakes and simultaneously satisfying my friend’s wish. 

I have to admit, the only other time I’ve made red velvet cake I used the Sprinkles mix. I didn’t love the way they turned out and I really didn’t love the way the mix covered the entire kitchen with fine layer of red dust. So I researched various red velvet recipes – looking for a moist but sturdy cake with good cocoa flavor, and brainstormed ways to contain all the red. I had visions of me and my kitchen resembling the prom scene in Carrie . Food coloring and I do not always get along.

I think I found a good starting point, as far as recipes go; I started with the one by Elisa Strauss in The Confetti Cakes Cookbook. I think I’m going to keep working on it a little, but it seems promising. And as for the red dye, it seems to have mostly contained itself to the cake batter.

Here we are weighing the cake flour, cocoa & salt…


And then sifted – I hate sifting. I need to get me one of these sifters. I have no I idea why I didn’t register for one when I got married. So obvious now!


Mixing the sugar & the fat (oil in this case – sorry for the quality of the picture):


And here’s the scary red food dye:


Mixed into the sugar, oil & eggs – anyone else getting Carrie flashbacks?



Luckily, the addition of the flour and cocoa really tempers the color. And then spooned into cupcake liners and into the oven:


About twenty minutes later:

The color isn’t so bad after it’s baked. I went back and forth about what kind of frosting to use. I’ve been reading contradicting information about what the “traditional” frosting for red velvet cake is – either cream cheese frosting or a 7-minute frosting. I’ve always had it with cream cheese, which I personally prefer to 7-minute frosting anyway, so I decided to go that route. 



It bums me out that you can’t really see the red in the cake in these pictures. I’m sure there’s a way to do it, but since my photography skills are comparable to my neurosurgery skills, this is the best it’s going to get.


I wasn’t too thrilled with my piping job on some of the cupcakes, so I smeared the frosting out for  a different look. Which do you prefer?

3 responses to “Seeing red

  1. These were delicious! I feel so lucky to be able to taste all your tasty treats.

  2. I have a funny red velvet story to tell you at another time.. they look yummy. I’m so missing out.

  3. My favorite of your treats thus far! Thanks for saving some for me!

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