Whenever Queen Cupcake visits a new bakery, she always gets a red velvet cupcake. It’s her litmus test as far as determining the best cupcakes in New York. Or LA. Or wherever she is at the moment.
Everyone makes red velvet cupcakes.
It’s a quirky little flavor though, in that there is enormous variety in everyone’s take on it.
To make a dozen of my favorite red velvet cupcakes, you will need:
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 Tablespoons red food coloring
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.
Cream butter and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream till mixture is lighter in color and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Turn mixer on high and add egg. Scrape down bowl and continue to beat until combined.
In a small bowl, mix cocoa powder, food coloring, and vanilla till combined. Add mixture to butter mixture, and beat till everything is smooth. You will need to do some serious bowl-scraping to get the color to mix evenly.
Turn mixer to low and add half the buttermilk. If you were a diligent baker, you would combine flour, salt, and baking soda in another bowl. You might even sift the ingredients together. I never bother. I add 1/2 C flour plus the salt into the mixer next. I scrape the bowl down when too much pushes up against the sides, and then, still keeping things on low, I add the rest of the buttermilk. Then I add the other 1/2 C plus 2 T flour, and the baking soda and mix till everything is just incorporated.
Then it’s volcano time. Remember when elementary school science fairs were all about papier mache volcanoes? They erupted because of a fizzy combination of baking soda and vinegar and that’s what we’re about to do here. I add the little bit of baking soda and make sure to pour the white vinegar right on top to watch it fizz up. Then I put the mixer back on and let it do its thing till the ingredients disappear.
I scoop even amounts of batter into the tins and bake for 20-25 minutes.
I let the cupcakes cool, and then I make this frosting.