If you asked me what kind of wedding cake I would dream of, it would be red velvet. Is it just the allure of the word, velvet — one of the prettiest words I can imagine? Not sure. But it’s deep and dark and chocolately — and I’ve always loved it.

And cream cheese frosting? Obviously, to die for. The purple sprinkles? What girl doesn’t love purple and red together? Oh heavenly cupcakes.

I was told they were spongy and moist  and nearly perfect. What can I say? Times have changed for this former non-baker. I’m still not that great but things are certainly looking up. Also, because I managed to eat only one — count ’em, ONE — of the entire batch (not including when I licked the the batter off the mixers but shhh!

I know, after yesterday’s feeling-crazy-pants post, it’s probably ironic that I’m posting cupcakes today but whatever. Book club called for desserts and I answered that call. By the way, we read the real story behind “The Vow” this month — and it was really interesting. Not well-written but the story is pretty cool. Here’s an interview with Kim & Krickett Carpenter (their characters were played by Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams.) I haven’t seen the movie, but have heard mixed reviews. Have you seen “The Vow?” What did you think?

Oh okay, fine, I see — you  just came here searching for this fantastical recipe for red velvet cupcakes. Well, I’ll tell you a little secret. I made these with the help of Betty Crocker because I was a little short on time but I won’t leave you hanging. Here’s a real recipe (but if you don’t have time, buy the box mix and canned frosting and no one will be the wise — though I did squeeze out my frosting through my frosting bag with metal tips):

Classic Red Velvet Cupcakes

*This recipe comes from The Joy of Baking. 

  • 1 1/4 cups (125 grams) sifted cake flour 
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 tablespoons (10 grams) regular or Dutch-processed cocoa powder 
  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature 
  • 3/4 cups (150 grams) granulated white sugar 
  • 1 large egg 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk 
  • 1 tablespoon liquid red food coloring 
  • 1/2 teaspoon white distilled vinegar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
 Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioners’ (icing or powdered) sugar, sifted 
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) cold heavy whipping cream (double cream) (35-40% butterfat)
Directions follow the next photo.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and line 12 muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.

In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. 
2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.
3. In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.  
4. Working quickly, divide the batter evenly among the 12  muffin cups and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 18 – 23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
5. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes and them remove from pan. Let cool completely before frosting. Either spread the frosting with a knife or offset spatula, or use a large 1M Wilton open star decorating tip to pipe the frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting: In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. Using the whisk attachment, gradually add the heavy cream and whip until the frosting is thick enough to pipe. Add more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency.

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