Saturday, April 2, 2011

alton's red velvet cupcakes

My Sister-In-Law asked me to bake red velvet cupcakes for her friend's birthday this weekend. Apparently, she adores red velvet cupcakes, and since my SIL is not a baker, I happily obliged. The pressure is on!

My last foray into the red velvet world didn't amaze me, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try out a new recipe. An Alton Brown recipe! Alton has never steered me wrong. I don't know why I didn't try his recipe the first few times I tried red velvet. The recipe has 6 reviews, all positives, and 5 stars. Since Red Velvet is a southern thing, I looked at Paula Deans' recipe too, with its 719 reviews and 4 stars, but the cup and a half of vegetable oil kinda turned me off. Sorry Paula!

Red Velvet Cupcakes
recipe source: Alton Brown via modified for cupcakes
makes 18 standard size cupcakes

5 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour
4 ounces cake flour
1/2 ounce natural cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk, room temperature
1 fluid ounce red liquid food coloring
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 1/2 ounces dark brown sugar
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
2 whole eggs, room temperature


Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Whisk the flours, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl and set aside. Whisk the buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla together in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine the brown sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and cream on medium speed until lightened in color, 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Return the mixer to medium speed and slowly add the eggs and beat until they are fully incorporated.

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in 3 installments, alternating with the buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl between each installment. Mix on low speed until smooth, 30 to 45 seconds.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake until the cake springs back when pressed or reaches an internal temperature of 205 degrees F, 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool in the pans on a rack for 10 minutes, and then remove the cupcakes from the pans and cool completely, about 1 hour, before frosting.

I've been having really bad luck with frosting lately, so for this one, I'm using a whoopie pie filling recipe from the Baked guys. I could eat that stuff with a spoon and I've never messed it up, so I've decided it's my new go-to cream cheese frosting recipe.

Cream cheese frosting
recipe source: Baked via Martha Stewart

3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Sift confectioner' sugar into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla, beat just until smooth.

These cupcakes were delicious! Good flavor and color, very moist and tender without being oily or greasy. I think we found a winner. Thank you Alton! And the frosting, as expected, was super! I wasn't a big fan of all those nonpareils that I covered the icing with, but if you like a bit a crunch, they make the cupcakes pretty. And so easy to frost! I just plopped a 2 tbsp scoop of icing on top of the cupcake, pressed it down with a spoon to make sure it was going to stay on, dipped it in a bowl of nonpareils, and that was that!


  1. I was searching for a good red velvet recipe and I wasn't sure of Alton's recipe... I guess I should give it a try! It's the first time I read your blog, I love it! :) Just for you to know... now you have a puerto rican fan right here. :) Thanks.

  2. This will be my second time using your take on Alton's recipe: it's wonderful! I top them with a whipped cream cheese frosting that's a staple in my cupcake book, and they just disappear. It's a good thing this makes a small batch, or I'd be eating all the leftovers!

  3. I've been using the AB recipe for years now. Thanks for converting it to cupcakes!

  4. i'm gonna make these for my birthday---


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