Red Velvet Cupcakes

picture1Today I am making red velvet cupcakes with a traditional red velvet frosting, in honor of my brothers 30th birthday!  Unfortunately, he isn’t in Texas to enjoy them, but it’s the thought that counts, right?   Most people pair red velvet with cream cheese icing these days, but it was originally paired with a boiled milk frosting, that is delicious, and I think, underused!  I made this frosting for the first time while I was in college; a coworker of mine told me about it and showed me how his southern mother used to make it and I just loved it.  You’ll have to let me know what you think about it!img_3483


  • 1.5 cups     Sugar
  • 2 ea             Eggs
  • 1 Tbsp        Red Food Coloring
  • 1 tsp           White Vinegar
  • 1 tsp           Vanilla
  • 1 cup          Buttermilk
  • 1 cup          Canola Oil
  • 2.5 cups    Flour
  • 1 tsp           Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp           Salt
  • 1 tsp           Baking Soda


  • 1.5 cups      Milk
  • 4 Tbsp        Flour
  • 1.5 cups     Butter
  • 1.5 cups     Sugar
  • 2 tsp           Vanilla
  • 1 tsp            Salt

This recipe will make about 24 cupcakes or one 8 inch round cake.  I actually made double the amount of cake batter in the recipe above, as I baked cupcakes, and also an 8 inch round cake (for a later blog post). You can mix the cake batter and frosting by hand or with a hand mixer, but I prefer to use my stand mixer.   Make sure you have your cupcake pans, cupcake liners, and a scoop ready!

  1. The first step is to preheat your oven to 350°F.  img_3441Gather all of your ingredients together and place the sugar in the bowl of your mixer.  Then add all of your liquids to the bowl of your mixer (eggs, food coloring, vinegar, vanilla, buttermilk, and oil).  I like to use Americolor gel food coloring, as it is a bit stronger than the food coloring you find at the grocery store.  You may need a bit more than a tablespoon if you use a different brand, but you can wait until the end to add more to get the color of red you want.

  2. Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment, and mix the liquids and sugar together on low speed until they are well combined.picture2

  3. Next, measure out your dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder) and add them to the bowl of your mixer.  Whisk on low-medium speed for about 3 minutes.  Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula halfway through mixing.  You can turn your mixer up to high speed for a few seconds to help smooth out any flour chunks, but only for a few seconds!picture3

  4. Now it’s time to scoop the cupcakes!  Line two cupcake pans with your cupcake liners.  Use a scoop to fill each cupcake liner up 3/4 full of cake batter.  Then place them in your preheated oven (350°F) and bake for about 15-20 minutes.  I always turn my pans halfway through baking.  Poke the center of one of your cupcakes with a toothpick or skewer (or cake tester if you have one); if it comes out clean, your cupcakes are done.  Set them aside to cool. picture4

  5. While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, we can begin to make the boiled milk frosting.  I know it sounds odd, but it’s very tasty!  The first step for the frosting is to make a roux.  Combine the milk and flour in a small saucepan. picture6Heat it on the stove over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Cook the mixture until it thickens, and then a full 60 seconds after thickening, but not long enough that it browns.  Pour it into a clean bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap is touching the milk mixture to keep it from forming a  skin. Let it cool. picture7

  6. While the roux you just made is cooling (you can put it in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process), cream the butter and sugar together in your mixer, using the paddle attachment, on low speed.  Softening the butter and cutting it into smaller chunks will make this process much easier and faster.  Cream the butter and sugar until there are no butter chunks left in the mixture.  picture8


  7. Now add the vanilla and salt and mix until combined.  Once the milk mixture has cooled, we can begin adding it to our butter mixture in the mixer.  Add the roux into the mixing bowl a small amount at a time.  Mix on low-medium speed until well combined between each addition.  Continue this until all of your milk is mixed into the butter and sugar.  Mix on a higher speed for about 45 seconds to make sure your frosting is fully combined and nice and fluffy.  Take a little taste and adjust the vanilla and salt if needed.  The frosting should be light and fluffy, with a very creamy finish. picture10

  8. Now that our cupcakes have cooled and our frosting is ready, we can top the cupcakes!  I prefer to top my cupcakes using a piping bag fitted with a piping tip; it’s faster than using a spatula and ends up looking much more professional.  I showed my mom how to do this when she was making some cupcakes for my grandmother, and my grandmother didn’t believe that the cupcakes were homemade by my mom!  Cut the tip of your piping bag off (unless you’re using a reusable piping bag), and fit it with a piping tip of your choosing…I’m using a medium-sized star tip. picture11 Fold the end of the piping bag over your hand and fill it with your icing using a spatula.  Them twist the end of the bag to keep the frosting from oozing out the top, and pipe a circular swirl of icing on top of each cupcake.  picture12

  9. I like to add sprinkles, chocolate shavings, or cake crumbs to the top of my cupcakes to finish them off.  For these cupcakes, I chose to use three different colors of sugar pearls, and just sprinkled them on top of each cupcake.  picture13

  10. All that’s left to do is enjoy your cupcakes and let me know what you think of them!picture15

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