Its a bold statement. I know. But I can’t dance around it. The unnecessary additional punctuation 100% needed for emphasis.
These red velvet cupcakes just landed a spot among my top favorite cake recipes. Co-stars on that list include Salted Caramel Pretzel Cake and the beautifully pink Strawberry Rosé Ombre Cake. But these red velvet….awwww shoot.
Pull up a seat because you might get a little light headed savoring all this red velvet cupcake awesomeness.
Recipes Tests & New Memories
Recently, I dabbled in a blue cake recipe. Not bad, but it wasn’t love. Besides the resulting blue teeth and, um, other things that happened from consuming what proved to be too much blue food dye. :::Squirmish folk skip ahead::: This is a ???? story. A quick one. But a ???? story nonetheless.
Let me set the scene. I have a huge order due for Saturday. Tested out a recipe earlier in the week to see if it’s A. delicious and B. will cause blue teeth. Which meant there were cupcakes a plenty and this strawberry thief practically said cake out of the womb.
To pile on, the roof on the second floor apartment had a major leak that went through our ceiling and into little Miss’ bedroom. Sensing it time for a diaper change, I remove said item and am going to get a freshy when the landlord calls. IMPORTANT. Take the call, he’s here wants to see the damage. So we chat for a few quick minutes, form a plan, landlord leaves. I go back to frosting cupcakes for the upcoming order when Bae Shea saunters in the kitchen with an ultra embarrassed look on her face.
To myself I think, “Wow, that’s strange. I’ve never seen that expression on her face.”
AND THEN I SEE IT. A little smudge on the back of her leg. (But wait there’s more.)
Around the corner, on the floor, awaits THE BLUEST SMURF COLORED TURD YOU EVER DID SEE.
I hung my head in total mom fail shame, while simultaneously chuckling to myself. As I type this, I’m struggling with the idea that my daughter may some day hate me for sharing a poop story, starring her as the culprit, with the Internet. Or the shame from the other mommies for feeding my kid food containing enough food dye to produce those results. But…this is my life. And in a week of mega stress and craziness, this little blue turd brought just the levity I needed to remain sane.
Red Velvet Cupcakes
Okay, okay, number 2 anecdotes aside….let’s get to the real reason you’re all here. The best red velvet cupcakes are coming right up.
What makes this recipe the best? The cake itself is melt in your mouth tender and crazy moist. The cream cheese frosting is a balance of tangy cream cheese, sweet confectioners sugar and sticky, gooey, get-on-every-bite heaven.
If you’re not weak at the knees yet, hang on. On top of that decadent, white frosting sits a white chocolate drizzled strawberry. Like a little cherub napping on a soft and fluffy cloud in heaven.
Having made red/blue velvet a handful of times, I hadn’t quite found a recipe that fit all my requirements. With a little tweaking it’s finally here. This recipe originally appeared on food.com as the original Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet Cake. With a name like the Walfdorf Astoria, I knew it had to be A++.
Fun Fact: Did you know the Waldorf Astoria’s kitchen is one FULL New York City Block?! It’s gigantic. Due to a few industry hook ups we got a tour one trip to our beloved NYC and it seriously blew my mind. The same guy has been cutting the vegetables for soup for like 20 years.
In true Lauren fashion, I messed around with the original to come up with Literally. The. Best. Red Velvet Cupcakes. An extra tablespoon of shortening will ensure you reach top level moist cupcake status. And a reduced amount of food dye, because the original amount in the recipe seriously freaked me out. And of course, this ultra soft, sticky and satisfyingly delish cream cheese frosting to top that seductive red cupcake.
Optional Add Ons
In addition to the eye popping white chocolate covered strawberries, shiny white sprinkles and small white non pareils catch your eye atop these red velvet cupcake. If preparing for company, serve alongside these Sparkling Strawberry Martinis for a grown up, liquid treat.
If hot coffee is your go to cupcake pairing, I recently tried these at home flavored coffee syrups from The Domestic Dietitian and am in love. With fall around the corner, they have me dreaming of oversized sweaters sipping on a homemade PSL. But let’s not rush the last bit of summer. Instead, let’s sit back, relax, and savor each close-your-eyes-for-extra-enjoyment bite of these decant Red Velvet Cupcakes.
The moist tender, moist, stunningly red cupcakes with gooey, cream cheese frosting and chocolate covered strawberries on top.
Red Velvet Cupcakes
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 fluid ounce red food coloring
- 2 heaping tablespoons cocoa
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 1/4 cup cake flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 packages cream cheese, softened but still cool
- 1 stick unsalted butter* softened but still cool
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 4 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 pint fresh strawberries
- 1 cup Ghiradelli white chocolate melts
Red Velvet Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cupcake tins with paper liners.
- In a standing mixer or mixing bowl with handheld electric mixer, cream shortening, sugar and eggs.
- In a small bowl, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of buttermilk to cocoa powder.** Stir to make a paste and add to the mixer on low speed.
- Add half the buttermilk, then half the flour to the mixing bowl on low speed. Add salt, then remaining buttercream, then remaining flour.
- Increase speed to medium-low. Add vanilla and mix to incorporate, scraping down sides if needed.
- In a small bowl, add soda to vinegar. Add to the mixer and incorporate.
- Bake for 18-21 minutes. (If using the toothpick method to check doneness, it’s ok if there are a few crumbs clinging to the toothpick).
For the Frosting:
- In a standing mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter on medium speed for 2 minutes until combined. Scrape down sides and bowl of the bowl half way through.
- Add vanilla bean paste and mix on medium-low to incorporate.
- On low speed, add confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time. After the addition of the last cup, raise speed to medium for 20-30 seconds.
- Transfer frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a large round tip.
For the Strawberries:
- Wash and dry strawberries. Line up on parchment paper, baking sheet or cutting board.
- In a microwave safe bowl, heat chocolate on low stirring every 15 seconds until smooth and melted.
- Transfer to a small piping bag or plastic bag and cut a small tip off.
- Drizzle strawberries with melted chocolate. Let cool before topping the frosted cupcakes.
*For thicker, sweeter frosting leave out the butter. If traveling with the cupcakes, refrigerate to stiffen frosting before your journey!
**In a standard red velvet cake recipe, a paste is made from the food coloring and cocoa. Because this recipe calls for a reduced amount of food coloring, make a paste using buttermilk.