Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Red Velvet CSI

Posted by - Rena

I’m not sure why, but I’ve been craving a red velvet cupcake for weeks now. Maybe because it’s almost valentine’s day and they are popping up all over? It’s not my go-to cupcake since you can’t really find them everywhere so I usually wind up with some vanilla-ish cupcake.

I’ll be honest and say that I made these the last weekend of January. I flexed my blog administrator muscle and found out that I should indeed be documenting my baking for February’s Have the Cake challenge. I know my friends well and I had a feeling this would be the challenge for Feb. I also figured out that I couldn’t just buy cake mix either. I did cheat a little and bought a tub of frosting. Sorry. I have dairy issues. I can’t leave anything sitting around for too long and I knew most of these cupcakes would be placed in my freezer so I needed frosting that would last a little while longer. I know, I know…

The process was fairly easy. I was so excited to make them that I forgot to take pictures until the end.

I wish that buttermilk was sold in smaller containers like heavy cream is but luckily my favorite two-ingredient biscuits can be made with buttermilk. The recipe is included at the end of the post.

Anyway, back to the cupcakes. The problem with red food coloring is that after all was said and done, my kitchen looked like a scene out of CSI. I looked at my hand for a second and thought I cut myself, but no, just food coloring messing with my mind. I was pretty sloppy about getting the batter in the cupcake cups so it was a total blood bath in the kitchen.

The recipe below is for a cake so I had to wing it with the bake time. It was around 25 minutes for 24 cupcakes. I didn’t use all the batter and I skimped on some of the cups accidentally. I used coconut to top the cupcakes. They are delicious!


  • Vegetable oil for the pans
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring (1 ounce)
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Crushed pecans, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.

Using a standing mixer (or hand mixer), mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.

Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the oven evenly spaced apart. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking, until the cake pulls away from the side of the pans, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Remove the cakes from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans. One at a time, invert the cakes onto a plate and then re-invert them onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Let cool completely.

Frost the cake. Place 1 layer, rounded-side down, in the middle of a rotating cake stand. Using a palette knife or offset spatula spread some of the cream cheese frosting over the top of the cake. (Spread enough frosting to make a 1/4 to 1/2-inch layer.) Carefully set another layer on top, rounded-side down, and repeat. Top with the remaining layer and cover the entire cake with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle the top with the pecans.

*Bonus Recipe*

Two-Ingredient Biscuits
yield- 12 biscuits

  • 3 cups self-rising flour
  • 1.5 cups buttermilk or low fat milk

You can make self rising flour on your own. Self Rising Flour – for every 1 cup of regular flour, add 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt.


Anonymous said...

Those look yummy. I think I will making some this weekend for my husbands birthday.

Also, I know you said you had dairy issues but I usually make my own buttermilk by adding a splash of vinegar to a cup of skim milk. Always good to know in a pinch since I rarely keep buttermilk on hand and have once or twice been half way into a recipe and realized I needed buttermilk.

rena said...

Great tip! Thank you. Dorrie also suggested I buy dry buttermilk, which I had no idea existed!

My dairy issues extend to anything dairy in my fridge has to be consumed in the first two to three days or I can't eat/drink it. I know, weird.

? said...

Good recipe and snapshots!

Tori said...

Great tip on the buttermilk!

Rena, the cupcakes look delicious. :)

KeL said...

Yumiii..I Had my baby 3 months ago but I still have cravings once in a while....and I do crave this red velvet with the coconut...looks so yummyyyyyy

Colleen said...

coconut! mmmmm...what a great idea!

Susan said...

Oh, I love the coconut on top! Great idea. Thanks for the bonus recipe! I love homemade biscuits.