Red Velvet Cupcakes– Perfect for Memorial Day!

This past weekend was, of course, Memorial Day weekend. It was also just a few days after my sister’s birthday. What better way to celebrate the start of summer and a new year than with cupcakes! I decided to make red velvet, to keep them festive. I frosted them with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting, and garnished them with large, unsweetened coconut flakes.

red velvet cakeRed Velvet Cupcakes (Adapted from the Joy of Baking Recipe)

Red velvet cake is a Southern tradition, and, since I originally hail from New Jersey, I won’t pretend to have the definitive word on them. There are countless debates on how much cocoa powder should be used, and whether the color should come from food coloring or beet juice. I went with food coloring because it produces a redder color than the natural alternative, and I also used an unprocessed non-alkalized cocoa (as opposed to Dutch process). Even though recipes often specify Dutch process cocoa, I’ve never had a problem subbing in the other stuff, which, unlike Dutch Process, retains all of the cocoa’s antioxidants.

These seemed to take a little longer to bake than usual– it could be that I filled the cups higher than normal. Start checking them after 18 minutes, but, you might have to go for as long as 25 minutes. Mine turned out moist and delicious.


  • 2 1/2 cups sifted flour (cake flour is best, but I used all purpose and it worked out fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin/ cupcake pan with paper liners. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and cocoa powder and set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat butter until soft; add sugar and continue to beat until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

In a separate container, mix buttermilk with food coloring. Slowly, alternately mix in buttermilk and flour into the butter-sugar-egg mixture.

In a small cup, mix vinegar and baking soda. The mixture will fizz. Then, fold it into the batter. Ladle batter into each of the lined cups, so that each one is about 3/4 full. Bake for 18-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of a cake. Let cool, and frost with white chocolate cream cheese frosting.

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

I only used about 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar, so that my frosting was slightly creamier and not as sweet as a frosting that uses more. I refrigerated it before piping it onto the cupcakes so that it would retain its shape a little better.


  • 6 ounces of white chocolate (or half a bag of white chocolate chips)
  • 12 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted

Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler. Allow to cool slightly, but so that the mixture is still viscous. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese. Beat in white chocolate. Beat in vanilla. Slowly add confectioner’s sugar until the desired consistency is reached. Refrigerate for an hour, and then frost cupcakes. Garnish with coconut flakes, if desired.