I have tried several red velvet cake recipes, and this is my favorite by far. They have great flavor, they're not dry, and they are bright red. Last year I made mini green velvet cupcakes for St. Patrick's Day, so know that you can substitute out the food coloring if you want to go with something different. It was a fun change! I almost always use gel food color, but with these you'll need the liquid. Do yourself a favor and buy the separate bottle of red food color that is one ounce. Perhaps if you don't have to measure anything, maybe you can do a better job of avoiding getting red dye everywhere. Including on your hands and under your nails. Or maybe that's just me who does that every.single.time!
Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe
Makes about 20
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*If you're baking at high altitude, please follow the * adjustments!
For the cupcakes:
1 cup shortening
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 cup cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs (*3 eggs*)
1 cup (*plus 2 tablespoons*) buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon (*3/4 teaspoon*) baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1 ounce red food color
1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder
For the cream cheese frosting:
1 1/2 packages cream cheese (12 ounces)
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (*375 degrees for high altitude*).
In your mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the shortening and sugar. In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, baking soda, vinegar, and salt. Add the flour into the mixing bowl in three additions, alternating with the wet ingredients. Start and end with the flour. Once combined, stir together the red food color and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Add into the batter and mix just until incorporated.
Divide the batter into muffin tins with liners, filling each with about 1/4 cup of batter. Bake for 15-17 minutes (*12-15 minutes*) or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for a few minutes and then remove from the pan to cool completely.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the cream cheese frosting. In your mixing bowl fitted with the paddle, cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and salt and mix until incorporated. Add the powdered sugar in three additions and mix until smooth. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
Source: The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook