Friday, October 14, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes and My Big Moment on Just Desserts

I don’t make a lot of cupcakes, but since I’ve always been fascinated by the red velvet cake, I decided to try a version based on this venerable American classic. 

I’ve gotten so many requests for cupcakes and red velvet cakes that I figured I’d kill two food wishes with one video. They came out really well, and as I tasted, I actually caught myself daydreaming about being on Top Chef Just Desserts.

I imagined I’d furiously finished frosting these red velvet cupcakes just as time expired (I think the faux-hawked prima donna with the Jacques Torres tattoo next to me hid the cream cheese to screw me over). I bring them up to the judge’s table, and watch as the lovely Gail Simmons takes a big bite. She swallows, smiles, and then says, “Really not that bad for a food blogger.” Okay, so she’s too classy to ever say that, but still, it would be pretty cool.

Anyway, back to reality. I will also post the cream cheese frosting recipe next week, just in case you’re wondering. I joke about the red food coloring in the clip, and it does give the cake such a unique look, but feel free to leave it out if that’s not your thing.

Party season is upon us, and what holiday dessert table wouldn’t benefit from a plate of these classic cupcakes? It would be like Johnny Iuzzini's face without the side burns. In other words, just not as good. I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 12 Red Velvet Cupcakes:
Dry:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
Wet:
4 tablespoons softened butter
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon red food coloring
Bake at 350 for about 22 minutes

76 comments:

Subhorup Dasgupta said...

Truly mystic. Have been thinking about making these from the time I saw an episode of Masterchef Aus recently. Had not been able to get down to look for a recipe. Opened my reader, cleared out my reading list, and plop, there's another new item. I click on it and find this! Thanks, will be waiting for the frosting.

Subhorup Dasgupta said...

Not sure if the comment I posted went through, thanks to my not noticing whether there was a verification after the posting.

Have been thinking about this since watching a recent Masterchef Aus episode, but have not had the time to pull out a recipe and get down to it. Just as I finished clearing out my reading list this morning, I get a new item icon show up. I open it and this epiphanic moment happens. Thanks, will be looking out for the frosting before I get down to trying it out. Truly mystic!

Anonymous said...

I love this trend of dropping your videos late at night!

Also, these look amazing.

Foodie said...

Hiii,
Thanks for the recipe!! I was thinking about making some red velvet cupcakes but didnt know how to go about it. I wanted to ask a couple of questions:

1. Can this recipe be used to make a red velvet cake?

2. Buttermilk: How can we make it at home or substitute for it as its not available where I live.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

I remember making this dish in cooking school!

Anonymous said...

Ooooh red velvet! I love red velvet :D

But really chef? I'm dissapointed.....
....
Cream cheese frosting? thats not the tradition frosting... and its gross. Gross gross gross! Its only good on carrot cake.

Anonymous said...

It's like you read my mind CJ. I've been looking for a red velvet cupcake recipe. Thank you :-)

Anonymous said...

Dear Chef John,
how are you,

i am going to do these cupcakes for my kids (for sure)

one concern though, where i live i don't think i'm going to find buttermilk.

what alternative would you recommend.

thank you in advance and looking forward to these little delights v. soon.

Your N# 1 fan from Beirut, Lebanon
Razmig

Chef John said...

For those of you claiming not to be able to find buttermilk, here is how you make a substitute... http://frugalliving.about.com/od/condimentsandspices/r/Buttermilk_Sub.htm
enjoy!

Princess Pearl said...

I was wondering, how many cupcakes will this recipe make? 12 or 24?

Gina said...

Yum! Looking forward to the cream cheese frosting recipe!

philogaia said...

Lovely. I just love red velvet cake and make it as cupcakes about every other year. I tend to be a 'no additives' kind of person but I found that for some reason the cake doesn't taste right without the red coloring! True also for tandoori chicken. Clearly taste is more complex than just nose and taste buds. Red food coloring is my guilty ingredient kept around for the express purpose of red velvet cake and tandoori chicken.

Anonymous said...

Oh that looks so good, Thank you Chef John.

My food wish: Crab Legs!! Please make it happen?

Chef John said...

This makes 12 cupcakes.

MoonFaCe said...

Chef John...I know you're a Male...but can you do something for Halloween??

Jenna said...

Tip -If you use a food coloring gel (like Wilton) or powder, you need less than if you use liquid food coloring. Also, you can make an all natural substitute using beet powder. India Tree offers premade vegetable based food dyes. I mention this only because it seems the #1 food color allergy always seems to be red! Personally, the small amount anyone ingests in a piece of cake or a cupcake doesn't bother me.

Gahuga said...

Hi Razmig,

"Cultured buttermilk" (which is what is used in this recipe, as opposed to traditional buttermilk, the liquid left over after churning butter) is a type of fermented milk product, so it is both acidic and slightly thicker than milk (the idea to substitute it by mixing milk with vinegar takes care of the first but not the second item). I think you might be better off replacing it with a very thin (potable) yogurt type product.

smile:) said...

Hi chef john thanks for this recipe but i was wondering if it mattered which butter we use unsalted vs. salted? I have some salted butter can i use that and omit the salt?

Chef John said...

Yes, I used unsalted. So no salt for you.

Jennifer said...

Hi Chef,

Looks awesome! Do you have any idea what to change for high altitude? I'm in Denver, CO.

Thanks!

irksome1 said...

Chef John,

If you use powdered food color instead of liquid, do you have to adjust the rest of the liquid elements in the cake recipe?

Chef John said...

You could, but probably won't matter.

Anonymous said...

Chef John,

I just want 6 cupcakes so can i divide the recipe in half?

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John,

I was disappointed that I didn't see the "old tappa tappa" being performed. The cupcakes look delicious as all your dishes always do!

Chef John said...

Yes. That sounds logical to me. ;-)

Anonymous said...

chef i made those cupcakes and i gotta say they're like one of the best cupcakes i ever tasted..not so sweet not so cheese-y..love it!

btw i wanna ask you can i add a lil bit of lemon juice to the frosting?to make it more delicious

Jenna said...

Irksome1 having used powdered food coloring before I can tell you 100% that you do not need to add additional liquid when using it to tint cake batter.

J3nny said...

Simply Amazing!! I made them, and my son just love them!

Thanks <3

Jennifer said...

Hi Chef! So, for high altitude, I did some research and winged it. I added about 1/3 cup flour, 1 egg, and replaced the amount of baking soda and baking powder in the recipeabout with 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda only (no baking powder).

They came out nice and moist, but with rounded tops. I thought they would deflate a little, but they never did. Maybe less baking soda?
Thanks Chef!

Anonymous said...

Hi CJ,
Strangest thing, I used what is supposedly natural food colouring (liquid), the tops are red but inside it's more of an orange. No biggie, just weird.
Also my cupcakes slightly rose in the centre whereas yours are flat. I have a convection microwave, no oven, could this be why? Just curious.
Thanks!

Chef John said...

Could be, but no biggie, maybe your baking powder was more robust. :-)

Nest Full of Birds said...

I'm a BIG dummy and thought you'd get a good laugh from my oops. I learned today WHY a busy mom should ALWAYS label her canisters. I noticed my flour canister was almost empty, so was pleased to find a "reserve" canister next to it that was quite full. Come to find out, the batter didn't mix quite right because it was powdered sugar, NOT flour. If I didn't have a rambunctious 2 and 4 year old screaming at me as I was baking, I MIGHT have noticed sooner. I used some wheat pastry flour and it still came out OK. Not great, but OK. Hope you got a laugh (or at least a chuckle) out of that one. :)

jill said...

Chef John, are you from WNY? the way you say 'egg' reminds me of my hometown!

Anonymous said...

Chef John,

1) i baked cupcakes but the top wasn't flat and beautiful like yours it rose really high like a mountain . Could you tell me what happened

2)is it okay to use a hand mixer because my stand mixer just broke.

THX.

Chef John said...

No problem! As long as they tasted great! :) You may have used a little more flour than I did (maybe from packing the cup?) Really doesn't matter.

Rafael Almonte said...

Chef John! This is amazing! I just made this and they were delicious and the frosting works sensational for me! Thanks for this easy yet delicious recipe!

Greetings from the Dominican Republic!

Rafael Almonte said...

Chef John! I just made this and they were delicious. The frosting works perfectly with this (I used 1 1/3 Cups of powder sugar and I was impress how good it tasted). Thanks for this easy yet amazing recipe! Greetings from the Dominican Republic.

Anonymous said...

Another success menu for me! still licking my fingers with the cream cheese frosting , lol
Thank You Very Much
pett

Anonymous said...

Hi i'm from germany and did my first red velvet cup cakes with cream cheese frosting ever!!!! your recipe is the best!!! I hammered in whole lot of food colouring but it still turned out chocolate brown. still super delicious though.... thanx a lot.

Anonymous said...

hi chef john! i tried this recipe but using the buttermilk substitute you posted. sadly, i didnt get the same results of your "wet" ingredients. mine turned out chunky and the butter/sugar/milk, i think solidified-- in short it was a one big mess!! :(would u happen to know what might have happened in the process?

i have powdered buttermilk as well but i dont know how to use it.. help please!

Chef John said...

Sorry, but i have no idea what would have happened!

janeilr@hotmail.com said...

Hi Chef John can I please get the full recipe for make a 3 layer 9 inch cake.I made the cupcske and it was just fabulous!

Chef John said...

Sorry, never done as a cake! I'm not much of a baker, but maybe 1 1/2 times the recipe? Not sure, but maybe one of our readers can help.

Nick Stewart Yeoh said...

Hey chef John,

would you be able to give me a metric measurement of your recipes? since i'm from the asia pacific,, everything here is in the metric system. it would help out LOADS as i am a HUGE fan of yours and i am also a HUGE fan of Red Velvet :D

HUGE fan from the lil ol' Malaysia

Chef John said...

I don't have, but simply type into google with word "metric" ...there are hundreds of convertors! Enjoy!

Nick Stewart Yeoh said...

hey chef,

i just thought of a good idea. for some of us who dont know where to get buttermilk, would you be so kind as to make a post on how to make buttermilk?

following directions and all is great but with your help, and a visual direction for us.. it would be a great thing for one to know how to make it.

thanks chef john

Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm wondering the temperature is in degree celcius or degree fehrenheit?

Chef John said...

F!

Tabby Animals said...

Wonderful cupcake. I was wondering what was the ingredient for the red color, did not know it was only a food coloring. Thanks a lot for the recipe. Will try this out and look for some substitute for the food coloring.

Anonymous said...

hey chef john!

i do not have all-purpose flour, can i substitute it with cake flour?

will there be any amendments used for the flour?


lynn

Chef John said...

It will work!

Anonymous said...

hi chef john,
will it still taste good if i use buttercream frosting instead of creamcheese frosting?
thanks

ChefJohnsBiggestFan said...

Made these today. Made me very happy. They were tasty. I love how you say "come on"

Recipe Lover said...

I have been thinking about making Red Velvt cake..your video just made it so easy to follow every step. Now I am a big fan of your video recipes!!! I am heading out the door to get the Red coloring...can I get it from Michael's? or any better places?

Anonymous said...

Can apple vinegar substitute for white vinegar??

Anonymous said...

Can apple vinegar substitute for white vinegar??

Chef John said...

yes!

Stephaine said...

I love red velvet! And this was my fist time doing them, and they were amazing!!! Everyone loved them!! I definitely will be doing this again. Thanks Chef John!

Jana said...

I like adding mini semisweet chocolate chips to red velvet cupcakes. Divine! Thanks Chef John.

Anonymous said...

Hey Chef John, will the cupcakes taste much diffrent if i just use an ordinary milk, rather than buttermilk?

Chef John said...

Yes!

Anonymous said...

Chef John,

mine did not turn out well :(

when I place the rest of the wet ingredients into the butter, sugar & eggs mixture. it did not mix well and became lumpy and seperated.

What did i do wrong? Kindly advise.

Thank you!

DeafDessertLover said...

Hi John!

I'm deaf and I really want to make these cupcakes for my mothers birthday next week, do you think you could post the instructions on the blog or inset subtitles into the video?

Usually I have my Mom interpret or write down the instructions for me, but this desserts a surprise!!

Love your blog, thanks to you I"ve become quite the chef!

Chef John said...

Sorry, but I don't a written recipe for that. I'd like to help, but I'm just about to leave for my mothers, and won't have time to type. Maybe a friend can do it for you? Also, I think you can go to the youtube video and turn on the captions.

CoutureMACqueen said...

Chef john, will this work with the buttermilk left from your butter making video??

Thanks btw

Chef John said...

Sure, but it's not tangy like real buttermilk since it's doesn't have the bacteria culture.

CoutureMACqueen said...

Just made mine today. I ended up finding a baker's supply shop near my house and got the buttermilk.

This is soooooo good!!!

Thanks chef for the recipe

http://instagr.am/p/K4OBtkh1Fs/

Fayth said...

Hi, tried your recipe today. I rarely baked, so this is a totally new experience for me. I omitted red coloring and vanilla essence since I'll most probably never use it again. Was prepping my wet ingredients when I poured both buttermilk and vinegar into the butter/sugar/egg mixture and the butter immediately curdled. Panicked, I threw it away and started again. Omitted the vinegar but same thing happened when I added the buttermilk.

Anyway long story short, I do not know why it curdled but decided to just go alone with it and threw all my dry ingredients in for mixing and made a dozen cupcakes, thinking it was going to fail. Even threw away the rest of the mixture. The cupcakes turned out lovely. Think I'll certainly try this again.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John!
I'm from Denmark, and there we only have one type of food colouring, that turns everything pink :(
Will it taste the same without food colouring??
Thanks ;)

Patricia Morais said...

Simply wonderful! I made today were beautiful and delicious.

Congratulations and thanks for the recipe.

marah f said...

Hello chef

my red velvet cupcake turned brown :(

please what could have i done wrong? is it too much coco powder? or i should have added more red coloring? or is it the cooker ? please let me know, though they tasted amazing
thank you

Anonymous said...

Hello Chef John,

many greetings from Germany ! After buying your cookbook I simply had to try the red velvet cake. It was really easy I jusxt have 1 major problem: nomatter how much food color I take it doesnt turn red. Its brown after baking. After the tablespoon didnt help I put in another but that didnt help either. IT stayed brown after baking. On the second try I used 3 tablespoons of food color, no succes either. I have to ask is there any difference in food colors?

Chef John said...

Sorry not sure! That cake recipe is one of the few in the book that I didn't do (there is a disclaimer in the beginning of which handful of recipes aren't mine)

evelyn said...

Hi chef John, is the white vinegar a compulsory ingredient? If I do not put the vinegar will it change the taste of the cupcake completely?
Thanks Eve

Woelkchen said...

Dear Chef John,

I wanted to make Red Velvet Cupcakes and since I love your blog, I tried your recipe. They came out great and when I frosted them, at least half of the hearts I put on there were meant for you :) So if you ever need one, get it here. (I translated your recipe for my blog)
Thanks, Mel

P.S.: Food colours in germany are not very effective. I used 1,5 small tubes of gel colour with little effect. You should try to buy food colouring from the USA or get the expensive stuff for professionals ;-)

Joanne Feng said...

How long can these cupcakes be stored for before they go bad?