All of the key ingredients for a traditional red velvet cake—cocoa, buttermilk, vinegar, and red food coloring—are here in these colorful cupcakes. They will be a hit for Christmas, Valentine's Day, the Fourth of July, or any other special occasion where red and white are the colors of choice.
Place 12 paper muffin cup liners in muffin cups. Set aside.
Combine granulated sugar and shortening in a bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add egg; beat until creamy.
Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Combine buttermilk and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, stirring with a whisk just until smooth. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350° for 16 to 18 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons Cream Cheese Frosting over tops of cupcakes.
The cupcakes were light and fluffy, but I did use butter rather than shortening. I prefer the flavor and texture that butter lend to a cake, but that's purely a personal thing. I also used a red velvet cake bakery emulsion instead of just red food coloring. I used a meringue buttercream for the frosting, because I didn't have cream cheese on hand when I decided to make the cupcakes. The finished product was very good. It really doesn't matter if you make a "traditional" recipe; if you like it, that's what matters!
I beg to disagree with the other two reviews. My mother made a red velvet that was made with vegetable shortening. It was awesome. I have tried recipes made with butter and they come no where close to being as good. This recipe came the closest to the cake my mother made and got rave reviews. I have requests to make them again. As for the frosting, it depends on your taste. If you're a cream cheese frosting lover you will love it. I make a recipe that adds buttermilk to the frosting, it is extra good.
My family and I have been making Red Velvet cake for years, and snicker about it's recent popularity. Most of all, about the fact that everyone serves it with cream cheese icing! The traditional "Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet Cake and Icing" calls for a delicious white buttercream made with milk, flour, and sugar cooked together, then cooled so that room-temp butter can be whipped into it. It is fabulous and makes the cake! Cream cheese frosting is for carrot and spice cakes, NOT red velvet.
I disagree with the use of shortening and the use of all purpose flour. In the deep south where this recipe is made famous it calls for cake flour and there is no sign of shortening anywhere in the recipe. Not only that, the very last ingredients you are to add are the vinegar and baking soda after they have been mixed together. That's what gives the cake it's unique flavor. I would never try this recipe.
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