May 13, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes

For many years, I think that the "bleeding armadillo" red velvet cake featured in the movie Steel Magnolias turned me away from red velvet.   Remember the scene where Shirley MacLaine violently sliced off the armadillo rear end for Tom Skerritt?  Classic.  

Over the last few years, red velvet desserts have become very popular.  About a year ago, I decided to give it a taste, and my sister and I made red velvet cupcakes from a Sprinkles Cupcakes mix.  Well, since then, red velvet cupcakes have now become my favorite cupcake of all time!

Red velvet is a tender, moist, and fluffy textured cake with a mild chocolate flavor.  The reddish brown color of the cake was originally from a reaction of the cocoa powder with the acidic buttermilk; however, red food coloring is generally added to increase the red color.  In order to mask the color before the cake is cut, and to then enhance the redness once it is cut, red velvet is traditionally complemented with a very thick white frosting.

Recently on a business trip, I visited Sprinkles Cupcakes for the first time.  Before my visit, I went on a long run, and the red velvet cupcake made the run totally worth it.  In fact, I ran--and went back--the next day for another cupcake.  Yes, I will run for cupcakes.  If you ever happen to visit a city with a Sprinkles Cupcakes, please stop and try one of their cupcakes.  On the Sprinkles page on Facebook, they even give out daily "codewords" for free cupcakes.  

Until you can try a Sprinkles red velvet cupcake, please give this recipe a try, because it is pretty close to the Sprinkles version.

"The Real McCoy" - Sprinkles Red Velvet Cupcake

Red Velvet Cupcakes
(Yields 24 cupcakes)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/4 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 oz. red food coloring
4 tsp. vanilla extract

For the frosting:*
8 oz. cream cheese, cold
1/2 cup butter, cold
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. sour cream
16 oz. confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar for five minutes or until light and fluffy.  Add sour cream, buttermilk, food coloring, and vanilla.  Gradually beat in the flour mixture on low speed until blended; do not overbeat.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through the baking, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 18 minutes.  After the cupcakes have finished baking, allow the cupcakes to cool in pans for at least 10 minutes.  Then, remove from pans and allow cupcakes to finish cooling on wire racks.  

To make the cream cheese frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the cream cheese, butter, salt, and sour cream on medium-low speed until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Reduce the speed to low, and gradually add the confectioners' sugar and continue to beat until incorporated. Do not overmix the frosting because then the frosting will have too much air.  Ideally, the frosting should have a creamy, dense texture, similar to that of ice cream.

Frost and decorate the cooled cupcakes as desired.  

* Note: If you really like frosting, you may want to increase the quantities by 50%.  Having too much frosting is never a bad thing in my book!

Source: Inspired by Sprinkle Cupcakes and adapted from Carrot Top Mom


  1. These look delish!! I love red velvet cupcakes :)

  2. I love that you're willing to run for cupcakes :-)

  3. You go girl!! I LOVE Sprinkles, tried this sooo good.
    My peeps (who don't run) are screaming for more. Thanks CL !
    Keep on runnin'

  4. Claire ... You have been nominated for my NEW Food Stories Award for Excellence in Storytelling. Check out my site for the details (foodstoriesblog dot com).


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