Red Velvet Cupcakes

I turned to my favorite cooking blog, Smitten Kitchen, to find a new type of cupcake to celebrate the birthday of a colleague. These Red Velvet cupcakes are very moist and perfectly paired with the cream cheese frosting. However, the red batter is very messy – for a quick weeknight cupcake baking, I recommend staying with the Perfect Yellow Cake.

Servings: 24 cupcakes

3 eggs, room temperature
1-1/4 cup buttermilk
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

2-1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 cups canola oil
3 cups plus 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. red gel food coloring plus 6 Tbsp. water, or 3 oz. red food coloring
2-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
2 tsp. baking soda
2-1/2 tsp. white vinegar
3 cups Confectioners’ sugar

Combine wet ingredients
In the work bowl of a stand mixer, mix oil and granulated sugar on medium speed until well combined, at least two minutes. Add eggs to the mixture one at a time until incorporated. In a small bowl, combine red gel coloring and water until gel is dissolved. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowing add food coloring. Add 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.

Combine flour, cocoa, and salt
In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa, and salt.

Add dry ingredients and butter milk
Add about one-third of the flour mixture to the mixer bowl and mix to until combined. Add about one-third of the buttermilk. Continue alternating between flour mixture and buttermilk and all ingredients are combined.

Add baking soda and vinegar
In a small dish, combine baking soda and vinegar. Add to the mixer bowl.

Bake cupcakes
Line two 12-muffin pans with cupcake liners. Evenly divide the batter among the cupcake liners, filling approximately 3/4 full. Bake for 25 minutes or until cupcakes are moist but still firm. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes than transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Make icing
In a stand mixer or with a hand-held mixer, combine cream cheese and butter and mix for two minutes or until light and fluffy. Add Confectioners’ sugar and remaining 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Mix for five to seven minutes. Fill a pastry bag and chill for two minutes until slightly stiff. Ice cooled cupcakes as desired.

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