Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting are moist, delicious cupcakes topped with a luscious vanilla cream cheese frosting. They’re fun, festive, and always a hit!
I know, I know! I’m worse than a Hallmark store putting something Valentine’s Day related up so soon, but nevertheless, here it is. Valentine’s Day means hearts, flowers, boxes of chocolate, dinner out….NAH. Not for me anyway. We don’t really celebrate V-Day. To me, it’s the worst day all year to go out to eat, and I’d rather get cards or flowers on a regular old day, not when Valentine’s Day dictates. No offense, cupid.
I do love Valentine’s chocolates and treats, however, and I’m a sucker for the hearts and pretty colors. My idea of the perfect Valentine’s Day is eating a nice meal in and hanging out with my family, and eating a delicious treat — either chocolate or red velvet. Or if it’s a perfect day…both. 🙂
I didn’t understand the hype of red velvet cake until I tried it about 5 years ago. I’ve never been on board with baked goods containing artificial color, so it took me a long while to decide I wanted to try red velvet cake. Red is my favorite color, so that helped a little. 🙂
It went against everything I believed in to dump an entire bottle of red food coloring when I made my first batch of cupcakes, but the first bite I took made me an instant red velvet lover. It’s not chocolate cake and it’s not vanilla….it’s a hybrid if you will. Just a little cocoa powder gives it just enough chocolate flavor, yet it still tastes like vanilla. How is this possible? Such is the hype behind red velvet.
I love red velvet so much, that it led me to make more red velvet treats, including Red Velvet Cream Cheese Brownies and Homemade Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies. I’m probably not done with red velvet yet this Valentine’s season, so beware. 🙂
There’s no better frosting to top red velvet with than cream cheese. The tang is perfect with that cocoa-vanilla flavor, and cream cheese frosting is always a personal favorite of mine. It kicks buttercream straight to the curb in my humble opinion.
So if you’ve not gotten on the red velvet bandwagon, I hope you’ll try these cupcakes (or brownies or sandwich cookies)! Sometimes it’s worth breaking the rules, like using food coloring, and in this case…YEAH. It’s 100% worth it. 🙂
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- 3¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1¾ cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 ounce red food coloring*
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Valrhona)
- 1½ cups whole milk, room temperature
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard cupcake pans with paper liners.
- Whisk the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar at medium speed for 3-5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Place the red food coloring, vanilla, and cocoa powder in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Add the food coloring mixture slowly to the mixing bowl, mixing on low until well incorporated.
- Add ⅓ of the flour, followed by one third of the milk, and mix on low. Repeat, adding the remaining flour and milk in ⅓'s, scraping down the bowl as needed.
- In a small bowl, add the baking soda to the apple cider vinegar, which will fizz up. Mix thoroughly and add this reaction to the batter. Mix until just incorporated.
- Using a standard ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into a cupcake pan so each well is ⅔ full. Bake for 16-18 minutes (check after 15 minutes), or until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool in the pan 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely.
- Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium high speed until smooth. Add the butter, confectioner's sugar, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean paste, if using, and mix on low until incorporated, then on medium high for about 3 minutes, until light and creamy.
- Pipe the frosting on the cupcakes when they are completely cool and top with your favorite sprinkles. Store in the refrigerator, but allow the cupcakes to come to room temperature before serving.
For extra vanilla flavor and little vanilla bean specks, I like to use vanilla bean paste over vanilla beans. There's no scraping seeds and it's much more cost effective!
The cupcake recipe is slightly adapted from Georgetown Cupcakes as seen on Popsugar.
Frosting recipe by Flavor the Moments.