I know I’m about two weeks behind in posting this, but in honor of the Olympics and Team USA, I made some patriotic themed red velvet cupcakes as I watched these amazing athletes do things I can never imagine.
I love the Olympics, not just because of the patriotic nature of the games, but because I love sporting underdog stories. I love it when a swimmer comes from behind in the last 50m to win the race in 0.01 seconds. I also love the stories behind it – the athleticism, the dedication, and the sacrifices these athletes make to get to where they are is incredible. Also, as one of the most uncoordinated and un-athletic person ever – I’m constantly amazed people can do these things.
Funny how I chose to honor the Olympics by baking cupcakes. Not exactly part of a healthy diet, but hey it tastes good! It’s also the most patriotic thing I could think of since I had red, white, and blue sprinkles left over from the Superbowl party last year. This red velvet cupcake was the first recipe I ever tried and I never found the need to try another. It’s incredibly moist and delicious. It makes a beautiful cake with very fine crumbs – and if you use the full two bottles of food coloring, a very bright red cake!
For the Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe
Source: adapted from Pinch My Salt
(makes 48 mini cupcakes or 24 regular cupcakes)
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Bake Time: 10-12 minutes for mini cupcakes, 20-22 minutes for regular cupcakes
Note: The original recipe called for 2 oz of red food coloring. Yes, this is a lot of food coloring. If you want a very bright red cake, go ahead and use the full two bottles and you won’t be sorry with the results of the color. However, if you are like me, I used about 2/3 of a bottle of gel food coloring and found that the color was red enough for my liking.
- 2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (Note: Sift before measuring)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1-2 oz. red food coloring (two bottles if using liquid, or 2/3 bottle if using gel food coloring + 1 tablespoon water)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners (24 regular cupcakes or 48 mini cupcakes).
Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps; set aside. (If using gel instead of liquid food coloring, add one tablespoon of water)
In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Add vinegar mixture to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Bake for 10-12 minutes if using mini muffin tins or 20-22 minutes if using regular sized muffin tins. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool the cupcakes in their tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove and allow to cool completely before frosting.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
16 oz. cream cheese (2 packages), softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Turn mixer to low speed and blend in powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Turn mixer on high and beat until light and fluffy. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.