Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Friday, 27th August 2010

I am more than a little embarrassed to say that I had never heard of Red Velvet Cupcakes until I watched a repeat episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay a few months back. It’s been on my list to make ever since. With the weekend coming I thought it would be the perfect treat to have on hand. The house is always full on the weekends with my children’s friends visiting.

A photo of a Martha Stewart red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting on a small, white cupcake stand.

One thing I’ve learned over the years, teenagers love cupcakes! They disappear so quickly. Plus, they are easy to serve; I place them on the kitchen island, they walk in; grab one, no forks or plates required and clean up is a breeze, even the crumbs are gone!

A photo of a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting placed on a piece of parchment paper along side a small silver butter knife partially coated in cream cheese frosting.

The Red Velvet Cupcake has become quite popular over recent years but the history of the cake is still a bit of a mystery. Some say it was invented at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, others say it was invented in the South and there’s also been mention that it was invented in Canada at the Eaton’s department store restaurant.

A photo of 2 red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting placed on a brown tea towel.

The story surrounding the Waldorf-Astoria is that it was their signature dessert at the hotel in the 1920’s. Others doubt it was ever served there. By 1959 an urban myth started circulating stating that a woman requested the recipe and apparently the Waldorf sent her the recipe with a bill attached for something like $300 (that was a lot of money for a recipe then…and now!). She was furious and her revenge was to distribute the secret recipe via a chain letter. Can you imagine if that happened today with email?

A photo of 2 red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, one has cupcake liner partially removed placed on a piece of parchment paper with a cupcake liner off to the side.

The New York Times did an article on the cake titled So Naughty, So Nice and in the article they described the cake and I quote “It’s a cake that can stop traffic. The layers are an improbable red that can vary from a fluorescent pink to a dark ruddy mahogany. The colour, often enhanced by buckets of food colouring, becomes even more eye-catching set against clouds of snowy icing, like a slosh of glossy lipstick framed by platinum blond curls. Even the name has a vampy allure: red velvet.”

A photo of 3 red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting placed in a row on a long, rectangular, white dish.

Now you can even have a calorie-free version of red velvet cake. Philosophy (bath and beauty care company) introduced a line of products with a red velvet cake theme. For example, you can buy a Red Velvet Cake Lip Gloss that tastes just like the cake. What a coincidence!

A photo of 2 red velvet cupcakes, both on small white plates arranged on a pale blue table runner.

Me I’d rather enjoy the true taste experience. This cupcake is light and moist with a mild chocolate flavour, frosted with a rich, sweet and velvety cream cheese frosting. Why did it take me so long to make them?!

A photo of 3 red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting placed on a glass plate stand that is lined with parchment paper white a clear ribbon placed on stand.

A photo of Martha Stewart's red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting on a white cloth napkin placed on a brown tea towel.

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Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Basics, Cakes & Cheesecakes, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Mini Desserts, Pasticcini, Pastries, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Piccola Pasticceria, Recipes, Ricette di Base, Torte

Comments (12)

12 Responses to “Red Velvet Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. Your Southern Peach Says:

    I have been wanting to attempt these too! They’re my favorite. Being a Southern girl, I like to think they’re a Southern delicacy. I like your blog a lot and have enjoyed following it the last few weeks.


  2. Grace Says:

    Thank you so much!

  3. Brenda Says:

    These are gorgeous Grace! Never mind teenagers, I love cupcakes, lol! I tried to make red velvet cupcakes a few months back. Couldn’t get the “red” part quite right. I just got a really weird nasty colour, lol. Tasted good though. Your cupcakes look awesome, thank you for sharing!

  4. marcellina Says:

    I’ve heard of Red Velvet Cake and just the name alone is appealing. I will try your recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Marly Says:

    These look amazing. I used a recipe that actually called for beets. I guess that is what they used to make the cake red in recipes a long time ago. This cake is so good. I might have to make some more!

  6. Bhibsen Says:

    I made these two weeks ago and everyone LOVED them! I am making them into a cake for my nephew’s 11th birthday because they were so decadent he insisted on them. The frosting is fantastic and you can add a nice touch by using a couple dipped toothpicks’ worth of various colored gel past to make vibrant pastel colors for your cupcakes. HUGE hit!

  7. Grace Says:

    Great idea! Will have to try it next time the kids are here and we are having a baking day. They always love the pretty colours. So happy you enjoyed!

  8. Rita Says:

    I read on Internet about differences between Dutch-processed and regular dark cocoa – that the former should use baking powder and the later soda as they are totally different in their chemistry. I’m curious because you seem to contradict this advice.

  9. Grace Says:

    Hi Rita I was confused about this as well when I first set out looking for a recipe for red velvet. This was the first time I made the cake, in fact up to that point I’d never tried a piece. I did some research and what I found that yes in fact when you use dutch processed cocoa usually baking powder is method of leavening but if there’s enough acidic ingredients in the recipe (in this case buttermilk, vinegar) baking soda can be used. I think the baking soda is also used to create the red colouring in the cake. When I was looking for a recipe I found most recipes contained the exact same ingredients with measurements pretty much identical, some were leavened merely with baking powder, some with baking soda and some with a combination. I also found initially cocoa powder was used but when dutch process came on the market the recipes seemed to shift and more recipes were written with the dutch process.

  10. jamie fishing rods Says:

    well that looks so nice a bit to nice to eat :)

  11. Tania Says:

    Yum! Thanks for the recipe, these cupcakes turned out great. I posted some pictures on my blog as well:

  12. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Thanks Tania, very happy you enjoyed them and thanks for the heads up because I missed the link back from your site. Have a great weekend!

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