More Birthday Celebrations: Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

For my other suitemate’s birthday (which occurred the day after suitmate #1’s birthday), I decided to make red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. It was a pretty simple recipe — it probably took me less time to make the cupcakes than it took me to find someone who owned red food coloring and was willing to lend it to me. I broke my hand mixer making donuts so I had to cream the butter by hand, and even so the entire recipe probably took under an hour from prep to frosting.

This was also my first time halving a recipe, and I have to say it made the perfect amount. Turns out the recipe was halved already, but I knew my suitemate would probably be getting a ton of other birthday desserts, so five cupcakes felt just right. Some of the measurements may seem kind of wonky as a result, but I assure you, if you decide to halve this everything will turn out just fine. Even if you do spent a good five minutes trying to figure out the best way to measure 1/2 an egg or .375 of a cup of sugar.


For the cupcakes:

– 4 tbsp unsalted butter

– 3/4 cups sugar

– 1 egg

– 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

– Red food coloring

-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

– 1/2 cup buttermilk (I didn’t want to buy buttermilk and have it sit in the fridge forever, so I made my own by mixing regular milk with lemon juice)

-1 cup plus 2 tbsp flour


-Baking soda

-1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

[yields 1 dozen cupcakes]

For the frosting:

– 2 1/3 cup powdered sugar

– 3 tbsp butter

– 4 oz cream cheese

– Cinnamon

Step 1: Cream butter and sugar. Normal people would do this with a mixer. As I said, my mixer was broken, so I used a fork.

Step 2: Add the egg.

Step 3: In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder, red food coloring, and vanilla extract into a paste.

Step 5: Add the fake blood cocoa mixture to the egg mixture.

Step 6: Mix half of the buttermilk, then half of the flour. Then mix in the second half of the buttermilk, followed by the second half of the flour. Add salt, baking soda, and vinegar. Experience childlike glee in the chemical reaction that ensues.

Step 7: Pour the batter into prepared baking tins, then bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Step 8: Prepare the cream cheese frosting! Beat together the powdered sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Add the cream cheese, and mix until incorporated. Turn the mixer to medium-high and beat for 5 minutes, until frosting is light and fluffy (obviously, I skipped the last step, but the frosting still tasted creamy and delicious. It was just more grocery-store quality than bakery-quality).

Step 9: Allow cupcakes to cool 10 minutes before frosting, then frost away!


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