We have new neighbors that moved into the house diagonal from us and thankfully they're a really cool couple. She's a teacher and cheerleading coach and he's an engineer (just like my husband, except he works with bridges).
So I thought this would be a good time to share with them some of the red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting I made, plus some other treats you'll see on the blog here soon! I also gave some out to our other "corner club" neighbors who we are so thankful for. And, of course, I made sure to keep some for me and the hubs because man, they were really good!
These red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting are soft and moist and have a light buttery and chocolatey taste. Pair them with this cream cheese frosting and OMG, soooo good!
where did red velvet cake come from?
Some people think that red velvet cake originated from the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, while others believe it originated with the Adams Extract Company by being one of the first companies to sell red food coloring.
During World War II, certain foods were being rationed like butter and sugar, so bakers would use beet juice or boiled beets to enhance the color of the cake. The beet juice also acted as a way to keep the cakes moist. These days you don't really see any red velvet recipes listing beets as an ingredient though. Instead they call for red food coloring to give it that nice red color.
how to make red velvet cupcakes
You've probably seen the more traditional red velvet cupcake recipes that include buttermilk and white vinegar—my recipe is a slightly different version of this classic. With mine, I omitted these two ingredients and instead used sour cream. Why? Mainly because I didn't have either of these ingredients on hand, but I did, however; have sour cream.
I know there are some die-hard red velvet fans out there that may not like that substitution, but for me, I felt like it gave the cupcakes the perfect amount of moistness while still giving you a little buttery and chocolatey taste.
One thing I really like to do that helps to give the frosting a nice whipped consistency is once I have all the ingredients fairly mixed together, I set the speed to medium- to medium-high and I whip the hell out of it for about 3-4 minutes. I've noticed that when I pipe the cream cheese frosting on to the cupcakes then, the frosting holds its shape much nicer.
the perfect cream cheese frosting
I absolutely love how well this cream cheese frosting came out! I've actually used it before with my Super Moist Carrot Cake Cupcakes, but this time it came out even better! I also reduced the amounts by quite a bit because this recipe only makes about 15 cupcakes, and not the 30+ ones that my carrot cake cupcakes recipe makes. ????
One thing I really like to do that helps to give the frosting a nice whipped consistency is once I have all the ingredients fairly mixed together, I set the speed to medium- to medium-high and I whip the hell out of it for about 3-4 minutes. I've noticed that when I pipe the cream cheese frosting on to the cupcakes then, the frosting holds its shape much nicer. If you keep them refrigerated in an airtight container, this will help hold the shape too.
For these red velvet cupcakes, I was trying to go for the Georgetown Cupcake look, so I used a Wilton 1A tip or open tip. How'd I do?
tips for making cream cheese frosting look whiter
A while ago a few people asked how me how they can get their cream cheese frosting to be a little whiter and not the yellowish tint it can sometimes have. Here are a few suggestions that have worked well for me.
- Start with the Butter - When you begin making the cream cheese frosting, beat the butter on high for a good 2-3 minutes. That may seems like long time to beat only 2 tbsp. of butter, but it helps to really get some of that yellow color out.
- Use a Clear Vanilla Extract - When you use the normal vanilla extract, the brownish color can tint the frosting which doesn't really help with making it whiter, so I use a clear vanilla extract.
- Wilton's White White Icing Color - I don't use this too often because I don't really make a lot cakes anymore that require a bright white frosting, but I do recommend it. It does work well and I know that many of my pro cake artists use it.
- Purple Food Coloring - Another suggestion that you can try with getting your cream cheese frosting whiter is to add the TINIEST amount of purple food dye to the butter in the beginning of making the frosting. And by the tiniest amount I mean, taking a toothpick and adding just a dab of the color. Anymore and you could wind up with light lavender color icing, which is probably not what you're going for. Please note though that I haven't tried this with cream cheese frosting...only with white buttercream frosting.
These soft, moist, and delicious Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting are the perfect treat for Valentine's day or any time of year!
red velvet cupcakes
- 1 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa
- 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 1 cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 Large Eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 cup Sour Cream
- 1/2 cup Milk (I used Fat Free)
- Red Food Dye (I used Wilton's Color Right - Red, approx. 7-8 drops or until you reach the desired red you like to see)
- Optional - Valentine's Day Sprinkles (I used these Wilton Jumbo Heart Shaped Sprinkles)
cream cheese frosting
- 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 4 oz. (1/2 of pkg) Cream Cheese, room temperature (I used Philadelphia Cream Cheese)
- 1 tsp. Clear Vanilla Extract (I used Watkins Clear Vanilla Extract)
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups Confectioners Sugar, sifted (to reach your preferred consistency, you can add more a little at a time)
red velvet cupcakes
- Adjust oven rack to 2nd level position and pre-heat your oven to 350ºF. Line cupcake tins with cupcake liners (I used 2 cupcake tins, 15 cupcake liners).
- In a medium size bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, cocoa, and baking soda. Set aside.
- Using your hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until blended and fluffy.
- Switch the mixer speed to a low setting and add in the eggs one at a time. Then add in the vanilla extract and sour cream and mix until completely blended.
- Keeping the mixer speed on low, alternatively add in dry ingredients with the milk. Once blended, add in enough red food dye to get a nice bright red color. Not enough food coloring will give you brownish-red color.
- Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full, then place in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes (or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean) at 350ºF.
- When done, allow the cupcakes to cool for approx. 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Do not frost the cupcakes until they have completely cooled.
cream cheese frosting
- With a hand-held mixer or stand mixer that's been fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for a good 2-3 minutes. Add in the cream cheese and mix until well blended. Add in the clear vanilla extract.
- Switching the mixer speed to low, add in the sifted confectioners sugar one cup at a time. Once you have the cream cheese frosting at the consistency you like (I used 2 cups of confectioners sugar), move the mixer speed to a medium- to medium-high setting and beat for 3-4 minutes until it's a nice whipped consistency.
- To pipe the cream cheese frosting on to the cupcakes as shown in my photos, I fitted a large piping bag with a 1A Wilton piping tip and generously applied it to the tops of each cupcakes. I also topped them with Wilton's Jumbo Heart Shaped Sprinkles. This is, of course, optional and you can decorate the cupcakes as you like. If you use a different piping tip or use a spatula and other sprinkles, I would love to see them!
- If not serving the same day, refrigerate the cupcakes in an airtight container. When ready to serve, bring the cupcakes out 20-30 minutes before serving to allow them to come to room temp.
- If I work with any food dye, I like to wear rubber gloves so I don't get any on me. Try as I might to be careful and not getting on me or my hands, I inevitably would, so I bought a box of cheap disposable rubber gloves from Wegman's (local grocery store here in PA).
- The prep time for making the cream cheese frosting is approximately 10 minutes, with another 10-15 minutes for piping and decoration.
- The amounts listed for the cream cheese was enough for the number of cupcakes this made. If you need more, you can easily double this!
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