Make the Perfect Holiday Red Velvet Cake

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Whether you're preparing for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Christmas or just a weeknight night treat, there's only one red velvet recipe you should consider. It's in cupcake form, which helps in several big ways: you don't have to use as much dye, they'll stay moist for longer, and you'll have much better portion control! So, enjoy the simple process for an amazing cake classic.


For the cake itself, you'll need 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil, 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature, 2 large eggs, room temperature, 2 tablespoons red food coloring, 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. For the flour, we recommend something high quality, like White Lily flour. Always use vegetable oil, as well. Butter or shortening will not add the appropriate moisture needed for a good red velvet cake. Follow the measurements precisely for the right consistency and flavor.

For the cream cheese frosting, you'll need 1 pound cream cheese, softened, 2 sticks butter, softened, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 4 cups sifted confectioner's sugar, chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries. These will add garnish to the top of your treats!

For your materials, you'll need two 12-cup muffin pans, as many cupcake liners, a medium mixing bowl, a large bowl, handheld electric mixer, a baker's spoon and a sifter. A stand mixer won't work as well as the handheld electric, so avoid it. Larger machines like these can over-mix the batter, which sometimes prevents the cake from rising correctly.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line your two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together your flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. In a large bowl, gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet ones, and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide your batter evenly among the cupcake tins, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Bake them in the oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once at the 10- to 11-minute mark. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. If the toothpick comes out clean, then the cakes are done. Otherwise, put the cakes back in for another minute or two, repeating until finished. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow them to cool completely before frosting them.

For the frosting, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth, in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and beat on the low setting until completely mixed. Increase the speed to high, and then mix until very light and fluffy. After frosting your cupcakes, garnish them with chopped pecans, fresh raspberry or strawberry, or even sprinkles.

For special events, we recommend placing your red velvet cupcakes creatively on a cake tray or large serving table. For big parties, add name labels, either to the cupcake liners or little tags attached to toothpicks. This will add a more personalized touch, and the cupcakes will be cute and delicious!

Last Updated: July 22, 2011
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About Emelie Battaglia Emelie Battagila is a contributing writer for

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