Recipe: Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting – The Cookbook Challenge Week 22 ‘Red’ theme

by April@MyFoodTrail on April 22, 2010

in Baking, Cookbook Challenge 2010, Cupcakes, Icing | Frosting, Recipes

Theme: Red
Cookbook: The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook by Tarek Malouf

Things might be quiet around here as I’m currently on holiday in the US. I had grand plans to complete and post the Cookbook Challenge weeks I would be missing before I left and while I managed to finish the cooking, I didn’t finish the posting. The round ups will also have to wait until I return, but please continue to email me your links and recipes.

This week’s Cookbook Challenge theme of red falls within my birthday week so I had planned in advance to make red velvet cupcakes for my birthday cake. I had tried this recipe before but used reduced pomegranate juice instead of red food colouring. While the colour of the reduced juice was a deep red, the resulting cupcakes turned out to be dark brown.

The recipe comes from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook but I have a confession to make – I don’t actually own the cookbook but really wanted to make red velvet cupcakes and found the original recipe from the Hummingbird website.

This time I used red food colouring, but no where near the 1 tablespoon (20ml) required. I bought a packet of Queens rainbow food colouring and the red bottle was 7ml so I used all of that… though it now renders the “rainbow” bit useless since I no longer have the red colour! Even though I only used 7ml of red colouring, the mixture eventually turns red and when out of the oven, is a deep red colour. The cocoa seems to sink to the bottom though. I didn’t use the cream cheese frosting from the book, but instead modified a recipe I have used before.

Red velvet cupcakes
Makes 12

TCC - Red Velvet Cupcakes - Finished 2

60g unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
150g caster sugar
10g cocoa
20ml red food colouring (you can get away with only 7ml)
½ tsp vanilla extract
120ml buttermilk
150g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp white wine vinegar

1. Preheat the oven to 170C (150C fan forced) and line a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake papers.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together for at least 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.

3. Slowly add the egg and beat until everything is incorporated.

TCC - Red Velvet Cupcakes - Method 1

Creaming butter, sugar & eggs together; Cocoa & red food colouring paste

4. In a separate bowl mix the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until combined.

TCC - Red Velvet Cupcakes - Method 2

The Queens rainbow food colouring I used; After adding the cocoa & red colouring paste to the mixture

5. Using a low speed, mix in half the buttermilk until well mixed, then add in half the flour and mix again. Add in the other half of the buttermilk and mix, followed by the remaining half of flour and mix until you have a smooth, even mixture.

TCC - Red Velvet Cupcakes - Method 3

After adding in the buttermilk & flour; The bicarb & vinegar added & fizzing up

6. Add the white wine vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and salt (watch it bubble) and mix thoroughly on high speed for 5 mins.

7. Spoon the mixture evenly into the cupcake papers (about two thirds full) and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 mins or until the cupcakes spring back slightly when touched.

TCC - Red Velvet Cupcakes - Method 4

Cupcake batter going into the oven; Cooked cupcakes out of the oven

8. Allow the cupcakes to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire cooling rack.

9. In the meantime, make the frosting. (see below)

Cream Cheese Frosting

250g cream cheese, softened
90g butter, softened
3 cups icing sugar

1. Using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until pale and light and fluffy.

TCC - Red Velvet Cupcakes - Icing

Beating cream cheese & butter; After adding icing sugar

2. Add in the icing sugar, one cup at a time, beating between additions.

3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before piping onto cooled cupcakes.

TCC - Red Velvet Cupcakes - Finished 1

Overall: I actually used white vinegar instead of white wine vinegar because that was all I had. The cupcakes still tasted okay – no vinegar taste at all, though it would be interesting to see whether using white wine vinegar would change the flavour. The cupcakes were incredibly moist and matched well with the cream cheese frosting.

TCC - Red Velvet Cupcakes - Finished 3

Inside the moist cupcake

Would I make it again? Yes.

Over & Out, April xx

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenny Lee April 22, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Yummy!! Turned out so beautifully! This is one of my favourite little cupcakes!! Thanks for sharing the recipe and shall give it a go! 😀


Jetsetting Joyce (MEL: HOT OR NOT) April 22, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Gorgeous! The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook is amazing, and the red velvet recipe is failsafe. I honestly think I make the best cupcakes ever, and have stopped buying them 🙂

Jetsetting Joyce


SilverMoon Dragon April 22, 2010 at 1:31 pm

My sister has gotten addicted to making red velvet cupcakes, we have had green ones for St Pat's day, and last weekend, blue ones with a whipped cream filling. I think she made purple ones at one point too.

I started it though. I made red velvet cupcakes for Father's Day last year. I did use the full tablespoon of red colouring, so mine were very deep red. Funny story – due to an unrelated bout of gastro, that night my father was sick, and my mother thought he was vomiting blood, due to the vibrant colour of his stomach contents.

I always make a disclaimer when I cook with vast quantities of food dye now.


Emma April 22, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Yum! They look beautiful! 🙂


imasugarjunkie April 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm

These look fantastic! What tip do you use on your frosting? theyve come out amazing!

Have fun overseas!


penny aka jeroxie April 22, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Awesome cupcakes. And this is actually one of my favourites.
Have fun holidaying. 🙂


bri April 22, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Gorgeous! Teach me your piping tricks! 🙂


Celeste April 22, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Oh lovely! A friend of mine baked red velvets from the hummingbird cookbook too. It sure sounds like a cookbook I should add to my collection.

Those look incredibly yum. I really must get round to baking once more!


yummy recipes April 23, 2010 at 12:51 am

That's a very simple recipe and also looks very delicious. thanks for sharing .


Esz April 23, 2010 at 7:12 am

Oh they look so cute! I've read around the blogosphere and elsewhere that if you use the cream food colouring you get a brighter colour and it's less runny than the standard liquid colour.
I've seen the cream stuff – I think it's cream anyway – comes in a tiny tiny pot and you can get it from that Cake Deco place off that arcarde on Flinders St.


Conor @ HoldtheBeef April 23, 2010 at 10:01 am

Perfect icing, miss piper!

I have never eaten a red velvet cupcake, and I only heard about them for the first time last year. I feel like I should make, and eat, some, given how people always say they're great, but I somehow find the addition of the dye a little odd. Good to know you can get away with just 7mL!


Amanda April 23, 2010 at 4:21 pm

God, I'm a sucker for a cupcake and these look brilliant!
i wonder what using white balsamic would bring to the flavour of the cake?


Kat (Spatula, Spoon and Saturday) April 23, 2010 at 9:39 pm

what? i was going to make the red velvet cupcake too. but jamie oliver's recipe. of course 😛


Agnes April 26, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Oh I LOVE red velvet cupcakes although I always get a bit scared of the amount of red food colouring that recipes ask for (I always cut it back because it's always an INSANE amount). Hope you're having a fantastic time in NYC!


Ellie April 27, 2010 at 9:43 am

I always love red velvet cake for being so romantic and delicious! You have tempted me to make some this week!


Iron Chef Shellie April 27, 2010 at 12:12 pm

They look so perfect! Fantastic photos, I feel like I could pluck one off the screen and eat it!

I love red velvet, and I should get that book!


Maria@TheGourmetChallenge April 27, 2010 at 2:29 pm

oh how cute, I love red velvet! When I make them I ALWAYS cut back the food colouring, and I make them with white vinegar, always taste great. After reading your post I want to do two things, each red velvet cupcakes and go to the states!!


Clare @ Mrs Multitasker April 27, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Your frosting looks perfect!! Wow! Beautiful!
I LOVE red velvet cupcakes. But I can never get them to be really really bright red the way you see in some pictures (like my friend's here –;=183903672102 – though I suppose being a professional baker has to count for something =).
Love how the inside of your cupcakes turned out! Mine are always a deep red outside and a dark pink inside…


Sweets By Vicky April 28, 2010 at 9:57 am

I;ve been thinking about getting that cokbook. Sounds like it's worth having a look at! I love the big fat happy swirls of frosting each cupcake has been crowned with!


Megan April 28, 2010 at 9:31 pm

These look fantastic. Great job! I dunno about white wine vinegar or vinegar I used lemon when I made red velvet cupcakes. But yours look perfect!


Angela May 1, 2010 at 4:33 pm

I have to make these – they look divine!


Anita May 6, 2010 at 9:23 am

Such a vibrant red colour. I still want to make these cupcakes 🙂


April @ My Food Trail May 27, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Hi Jenny: Thanks! I hope you have success with it!

Hi Joyce: I agree with you! When you can make awesome cupcakes at home, why would you buy one from outside and risk it being not so good?

Hi Silver: Haha, i'm sure the vomited red velvet cupcakes would have really looked like blood! 🙂

Hi Emma: Thanks! 🙂

Hi imasugarjunkie: I used a tip with a almost 1cm plain round hole, then piped it like a soft serve.

Hi Penny: Thanks! Red velvet has such a light texture!

Hi Bri: I think all it takes is a steady hand and practice! Just keep practicing!

Hi Celeste: The cookbook is pretty thin, but apparently all the recipes are good so it is worth buying.

Hi Yummy recipes: There are a few steps, but nothing too hard!

Hi Esz: Thanks for the tip! I know that place… have bought some things from there before.

Hi Conor: Follow the crowd and do it! 🙂 You could probably leave out the dye and it would just be "velvet" cupcakes, but I guess part of the appeal is the bright red colour!


April @ My Food Trail May 27, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Hi Amanda: I would think that using balsamic might overpower the cupcake, but I guess you'll never know until you try! Additives tend to mute when baked.

Hi Kat: Would be interesting to see how they compare!

Hi Agnes: Thanks! Yeh, 20ml of colouring seemed like way too much for me!

Hi Ellie: I never thought of them as being romantic!

Hi Shellie: Thanks! That's what I was aiming for!

Hi Maria: Ooh, that's good to know you use white vinegar too. I'm more likely to have plain white vinegar than white wine vinegar.

Hi Clare: Thanks! Maybe the batter is not mixed completely, that's why there is a different colour on the inside versus the outside? I'm not sure.

Hi Sweets by Vicky: Thanks! There are a lot of delicious sounding baked goods in the cookbook – worth taking a look at!

Hi Megan: Thanks! It would be interesting to use lemon instead of vinegar and see what the difference is.

Hi Shalott: Do give them a go – they are really yummy!

Hi Anita: I'm glad I got a vibrant colour even though I didn't use as much colouring as suggested!


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