Queen of the classics, these red Velvet Cupcakes reign supreme!
I don’t care what people say—things like“hype” or “cliche” or “overdone”—I will forever and always have a love affair with red velvet. It started young, like the story goes so often for children raised in the deep south. I grew up in a town on the Alabama/Florida border, 300 people strong, and full of all the southern cooking and baking you could want from a place with dirt roads and one mom-and-pop shop. The red velvet from my childhood is unnaturally red and usually covered with pecans. Though I don’t ascribe to pecans or overuse of red dye, I still swoon over a great red velvet. I happen to think that my red velvet cupcakes are THE tastiest, most perfect red velvet cupcakes there are. I know it’s a confident statement, and I stand behind it. That’s how good these things are!
To dye or not to dye…
There are a few things that make these red velvet cupcakes so wonderful. First, I don’t use red dye. If you opt for red dye, the cupcakes will still taste amazing and they’ll be a beautiful color. I just try to steer clear of anything that’s not necessary to the overall experience of a recipe. Red dye can cause issues for people, including my kiddos, so I omit it. For color, I use the tiniest bit of beet powder, but often I’ll make it with no coloring at all, opting for a light reddish-brown color. The original red velvet recipe never used food coloring and instead got its name from the chemical reaction created by the cocoa powder reacting with the leavener. So, bottles of red coloring are NOT necessary for a wonderful red velvet.
I also use a small amount of coffee in the batter to help bring out that light cocoa flavor. It really adds depth of flavor without making it “coffee flavored.” What really makes these the very best red velvet cupcakes? My cooked cream cheese frosting. This is, by far, my favorite frosting recipe I have created. Everyone who has ever tried it has either immediately passed out from pleasure or slapped their respective mom’s. It’s crazy! But seriously, the combination of this frosting and this cupcake makes for THE VERY BEST red velvet cupcake recipe known to man. You can thank me later, once you’ve picked yourself up off the floor and apologized to your mom.