Blood red: Successful red velvet cupcakes


Many times, I have attempted to bake red velvet cupcakes (without much success — see a previous red velvet attempt chronicled). The cake and flavor is fine, but the color is never the shockingly bright red one aims for with red velvet cake.

That is, until I got my hands on some American red food coloring. I had been using some European stuff, which seemed only to turn a darker reddish-purple than anything else. Not once did my red velvet attempts yield anything close to what one expects or hopes for. But finally, finally, with the toxic red from the US of A (so many fewer restrictions on chemicals and whatnot there), I got the right color (but feel some comfort about the fact that I don’t eat my baked goods — what do these dyes do to our insides??).


Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C)

1/2 cup (115 grams) butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups (340 grams) sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons [2 bottles] red food color (or more to enhance redness)
2 cups (500 grams) all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 Tablespoon white vinegar

1. Place cupcake liners in a muffin tin.
2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl; add eggs and vanilla, beating well. Stir together buttermilk and food color. Stir together flour, cocoa, and salt; add alternately to butter mixture with buttermilk mixture, mixing well. Stir in baking soda and vinegar. Pour into prepared muffin tins.
3. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
6 Tablespoons (3/8 cup or 85 grams) butter, at room temperature
3 cups (330 grams) confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice [juice of 1/2 a lemon]

1. Cream together cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl.
2. Slowly sift in confectioner’s sugar and continue beating until fully incorporated. Mixture should be free of lumps.
3. Stir in vanilla, and lemon juice.

Frost cupcakes when fully cooled.

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