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Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes

Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
Makes about 3 dozen

¼ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons red gel food coloring (or half a bottle of the liquid food coloring)
¼ cup boiling water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ½ cups cake flour
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Prepare three standard muffin pans with liners. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, food coloring, and boiling water. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and shortening until smooth. Scrape down the bowl as needed, and gradually add the sugar. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Stir the buttermilk and vanilla into the cooled cocoa mixture.
4. Sift the flour and salt together into another medium bowl. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture, alternating with the cocoa mixture, to the egg mixture in three separate additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat until incorporated.
5. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and baking soda and stir until the baking soda dissolves. The mixture will fizz. Add to the batter and stir until just combined.
6. Divide the batter among the prepared pans, using a little more than 2 tablespoons of batter in each cup. Bake, rotating pans halfway, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to let cool for 20 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans and let cool on wire racks completely before frosting.

Red Hot Buttercream
Makes enough to frost 3 dozen cupcakes

3 sticks (1 ½ cups) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup finely crushed Red Hot cinnamon candies (Some chunks of candy are okay, but make sure they’re not too big)
Pinch of salt
1 ½ teaspoons to 1 tablespoon milk
1 to 2 drops of red food coloring (optional)
36 whole Red Hot cinnamon candies, for decoration (optional)

1. In a large bowl, sift together confectioner’s sugar and crushed cinnamon candies. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and salt, and beat until combined. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar mixture, and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add food coloring to tint. Add milk as necessary to thin out to desired consistency. Pipe or frost onto cupcakes. Top with whole cinnamon candies.

Brought to you by The Busty Baker (
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