Red velvet cake is my favorite dessert of all time, no doubt. I love cake – love to eat them, bake them, decorate them, you name it. And being from the south and from my family, there are not many family occasions that involve food where red velvet cake is not involved. I’m always on the hunt for a good recipe. If you have never had home made red velvet cake, you are missing out. Store bought and boxed mixes (heaven forbid!) do not even compare.

I do not usually make cupcakes – layer cakes are more my thing; however, for our annual family Christmas dinner, I wanted something different yet without getting too far from tradition. Enter red velvet cupcakes. Cupcakes are great because they are already portioned, fun and easy to decorate, and take less time to cook and cool (in some cases). Who doesn’t love a good cupcake? I came across this recipe on How to Eat a Cupcake. Any recipe I tried from this site has been great and it had wonderful reviews so I thought I would give it a try. The result – they were amazing!! They were not too fluffy, not too dense, just the way I like them. They had an amazing flavor.. definitely the best red velvet cake I have ever had! If you are looking for an outstanding red velvet cupcake (or cake), you should give them a try!

(I did use a cream cheese frosting found here. It goes perfectly with these cupcakes. It is just right, not overly sweet – perfectly cream cheesy!)

Red Velvet Cupcakes

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(I found the recipe here)

Red Hot Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: 1 (8-INCH) CAKE or 12 cupcakes

1/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons red gel food coloring
1/4 cup boiling water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment (or line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners) . Dust with flour, and knock out the excess flour.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, food coloring, and boiling water. Set aside to cool. (This is to "bloom" the cocoa powder, which enhances the flavor. Don’t skip this step.)
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and shortening until smooth. Scrape down the bowl and 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.
Stir the buttermilk and vanilla into the cooled cocoa mixture.
Sift the flour and salt together into another medium bowl (Pay attention here! I almost added the baking soda. It comes in later…). 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 mixture. Beat until incorporated.
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. (If anyone can offer any insight as to what affect this has on the cake versus just sifting the soda in with the flour mixture, I’m curious…)
Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes (15-18 minutes for cupcakes), rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes (Cool cupcakes in pan on wire rack 5 minutes; Remove from pan and finish cooling on wire rack). Invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans, and let cool completely. Remove the parchment.

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