Red Velvet Cupcakes

Over the weekend my dear friend Lauren Fowler had a beautiful birthday picnic in Kalk Bay. I decided to celebrate her special day with the exploration of Red Velvet Cupcakes. Though not as red as I had hoped, the cupcakes were both delicious and beautifully textured. I am going to try to find a recipe resulting in more red and less brown baked goods, but in the mean time this recipe is well worth the effort and produces beautiful cocoa cupcakes that are not too sweet, and the perfect balance between moist and dry.

To make one batch of cupcakes with cream cheese frosting you will need:


2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened (preferably light and unprocessed) cocoa powder
125ml beet juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda


225g unsalted butter
350g marscapone/cream cheese

3 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste.
1 tsp vanilla extract

You will also need muffin pans and cases, cup measurements, an electric beater, a spatula, a sieve and multiple mixing bowls

1. Take all ingredients out of the fridge so they can reach room temperature, preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line the cupcake pans with cupcake papers.

2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. In a smaller bowl, mix the beetroot juice and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps and set aside.

Beetroot juice should be juiced fresh from your juicer. I love the Breville juicers as they are fast, easy to use and easy to clean. Alternatively you can buy beetroot juice from Osumo or Kauai.

3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about three minutes) Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as you go. 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. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.

mixing the buttermilk

4. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Be careful as it will fizz so don’t do it in too shallow a bowl. Add vinegar mixture to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Fill cupcake cups with cake batter until they are a little under 3/4 full. Place muffin tins in your preheated oven. Bake for approximately 20 minutes rotating pans halfway through if your oven tends to cook unevenly. The cupcakes are done when you are able to pat the tops and the cake springs back up. If it sinks down they are not yet complete. Or you can insert a toothpick into the center of a cupcake in the center of the tin and if it comes out clean they are done!

5.Mix the icing while the cupcakes are baking.

Icing: In a mixing bowl, mix butter on medium speed until light and creamy. Add cream cheese and mix until fluffy. Slowly add the sugar, one cup at a time. Continue to mix. Finally, add the vanilla extract to the mixture ( you may add less or none if you want it to be all maple and cinnamon and nutmeg) and add maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. Mix until it has a creamy consistency.

6. Cool the cupcakes in their tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove and allow to cool completely before frosting.

7. Ice in whichever fashion you choose - here I have plain cream cheese frosting, with some crumbled red velvet sponge on top.

8. Share with all your friends. If you don’t manage to eat them all yourself, pop some in a plastic box and give some to the lovely people selling the Big Issue at the traffic lights – their smiles are much better than cupcake glutton guilt.

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  1. #1 by Heidi de Goede(FarmGirl) on October 19, 2010 - 7:51 am

    It looks delish! Will give it another try….

  2. #2 by Eeden on October 21, 2010 - 12:51 pm

    oh gaaaaaawhs… you really shouldn’t have posted this! They look amazing***

  3. #3 by McCoy on November 5, 2010 - 7:15 am

    This is a good blog message, I will keep the post in my mind. If you can add more video and pictures can be much better. Because they help much clear understanding. :) thanks McCoy.

  4. #4 by Colleen on November 11, 2010 - 2:36 pm

    How beautiful. I also love red velvet and have made a few in my time. Love that you used the beetroot method. I have been thinking of trying it myself. They turned out beautifully. Well done. I bet they were very well received by all at the picnic. That beautiful top photo has me drooling :o ) xx

    • #5 by Wednesday on January 21, 2012 - 6:18 pm

      Unparalleled accuracy, unequivocal clarity, and undeniable imopractne!

  5. #6 by Stacky on November 12, 2010 - 7:08 am

    The burning question is… what was the attire this day? :-D

    • #7 by Samantha Laura Kaye on January 23, 2012 - 11:21 am

      The answer should be lingerie – but I think I was bikini baking/pool dipping that day :)

  6. #8 by candice on November 20, 2010 - 2:50 pm

    These are yummy! Just made them & hubby loves them.

    • #9 by Samantha Laura Kaye on January 23, 2012 - 11:21 am

      I’m so glad you enjoyed them :) They are my favorite cake :)

  7. #10 by Samantha Laura Kaye on March 7, 2012 - 8:40 am

    One more tip- add a touch of maple syrup to your frosting. xx

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