Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet upcakes

It’s been a while since I shared a cupcake recipe with you – I was starting to get the shakes!

You are probably seeing a lot of Red Velvet around the blogosphere this week in honor of Valentine’s Day.  Can you think of a more perfect cake/cupcake to celebrate the holiday of love?!

I actually made these cupcakes months ago.  I was asked to teach a cupcake class for some of the young women at church and when I asked them what kind of cupcake they would like to make the vote was for red velvet.  I had actually never made red velvet cake/cupcakes before so it was a first for me too!

I didn’t realize that red velvet is actually just chocolate with a whole lot of red food coloring mixed in – and I mean a lot!

Being the history buff I am I had to do a little research on where red velvet cake originated.  Here’s what I found out according to Wikipedia.

A red velvet cake was a signature dessert at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City during the 1920s. According to a common urban legend a woman once asked for the recipe for the cake, and was billed a large amount. Indignant, she spread the recipe in a chain letter.

In Canada the cake was a well-known dessert in the restaurants and bakeries of the Eaton’s department store chain in the 1940s and 1950s. Promoted as an “exclusive” Eaton’s recipe, with employees who knew the recipe sworn to silence, many mistakenly believed the cake to be the invention of the department store matriarch, Lady Eaton.

A resurgence in the popularity of this cake is partly attributed to the 1989 film Steel Magnolias in which the groom’s cake (another southern tradition) is a red velvet cake made in the shape of an armadillo.

There you have it – the history of red velvet cake.

Red Velvet upcakes

The girls had a great time learning all about cupcakes and mixing up their own batch.

Cupcake Class

As part of the class I provided the girl’s with some cupcake making tips and even a cupcake cookbook of their very own.  A collection of many of my favorite cupcake recipes I have shared here on the blog.

I gave them some cupcake baking tips including using a cookie scoop to evenly measure out your cupcake batter.

Cupcake Class

And also some frosting tips like being sure to hold the decorating bag straight up and to release your pressure on the bag before you lift up!

Cupcake Class

I went to the dollar store to buy the food coloring because you need almost 3 of the small bottles that come in the combo pack of four colors!  And that’s a lot of food coloring.

Red Velvet upcakes

The red velvet cake has a nice light chocolate flavor which I really liked, I am not a dense, heavy chocolate fan so the lightness was just perfect for me.

Red Velvet upcakes

And here is what the inside looks like – yes it is red!

Red Velvet upcakes

I don’t know where I got this recipe from, it has been in my file for a while. I’m glad I finally had an opportunity to try it out.  We’ll definitely making them again – maybe even for Valentine’s Day this weekend!

red velvet  - Page 445

Red Velvet Cupcakes
  • 2½ Cs cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 oz. red food coloring (2-3 bottles depending on size)
  • ½ C butter, softened
  • 1½ C sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 C buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 sticks (1/2 cup) butter, slightly softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers
  3. Mix together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside
  4. In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps; set aside
  5. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes
  6. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go
  7. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk
  8. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula
  9. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda
  10. Watch it fizz!
  11. Add vinegar mixture to the cake batter and stir well to combine
  12. Using an ice cream scoop, fill cupcake cups with cake batter (they should be ⅔ – ¾ full)
  13. It will make about 20 cupcakes
  14. Place muffin tins on the middle rack of a preheated 350 degree oven
  15. Bake for approximately 20-22 minutes, rotating pans halfway through
  16. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
  17. Check early and don’t overbake!
  18. Cool the cupcakes in their tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove and allow to cool completely before frosting
  19. Frost cupcakes with cream cheese icing (recipe below)ormy favorite buttercream
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth
  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar and mix until everything is combined
  3. Add the vanilla
  4. Ice the cooled cupcakes

Please check out what is featured on my other blogs today!

Your Homebased Parties:

CandyBar Cakes





Homebased Portland

Moonstruck Chocolates

Leigh Anne
Hi – I’m Leigh Anne! I have been a homebased mom for 30 years since my first baby boy was born! I love working with women and helping to inspire them to achieve their goals and dreams while still maintaining motherhood and family as their number one priority. I blog about everything I enjoy – creating treats and meals in my kitchen, spending time in my garden, entertaining and party planning, reading, self improvement and tips and ideas on style and fashion.
Leigh Anne
Leigh Anne

Latest posts by Leigh Anne (see all)


  1. Kathy says

    Leigh Anne,
    I made these cupcakes recently from the Kentucky cookbook “Creating A Stir” using the Red Astoria Cake recipe (with the same history!). It calls for just one ounce of the red food coloring (all other ingredients are same amounts). The batter looked to be the same red and the baked cupcakes were very red. Maybe the next time you make them you could try the 1 oz. to decide if you are just as pleased with the result. I enjoy your blog very much. Thank you for all of the great recipes.

  2. Carole Williams says

    I just found you site and love it! I have a tip for serving cupcakes to children. As you know they are so messy. My sister Marla has been a kindergarten teacher for years and when a mother sends cupcakes as a treat she just puts them in the freezer for about an hours. When they are served to the kids there are NO CRUMBS to clean up.

  3. says

    How fun! I did not know that the red velvet cupcake had such a colorful past. :) Thank you for a enjoyable post and what looks like a yummy recipe! I can’t wait to try it. On a side note, have you thought about posting your cupcake recipe book like you did for Cali’s college cookbook? I hope your
    Valentine’s Day is just yummy!!

  4. Lory says

    Hey Leigh Anne! I make your other favorite sugar cookies frequently – in fact I made them last weekend. I added red food coloring so they came out pink and then I put white frosting with sprinkles. I thougth they were pretty cute for V-Day! Jenny has eaten the whole batch this week between lunch and after school:)

  5. Julie T. says

    Hi Leigh Anne, How do you store your cupcakes with cream cheese frosting? I made your recipes and loved it. I put the cupcakes in the fridge and then it made the cake a little dry. Any advice?

    • says

      Technically yes they need to be refrigerated but I often will leave cream cheese out over night to soften and have used it with no problems. I have also left my cupcakes with cream cheese frosting out for a day or so with no adverse effects. They usually don’t last for longer than that. But health guidelines will tell you to keep it refrigerated.

  6. Katii says

    I love your recipies and your website in general, but I am so dissapointed by this post. Red Velvet Cake is NOT “just chocolate cake with lots of red food coloring.” Wikipedia’s history is also incorrect. The red coloring is/was a reaction from mixing the cocoa powder and the vinegar. Now cocoa powder is processed differently, so red food coloring is added to bring back the color. Also, while cream cheese frosting is the modern choice, the original frosting was a cooked flour frosting. (in fact: PW used the correct frosting on her red velvet sheet cake post).

    I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, I really am a fan, but as a young Southern Lady I just couldn’t let this go uncorrected.

    Please check out the closest “true” history here:


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