29 Oct Red Velvet Cupcakes

red velvet cupcakes I butterlust blog

It seems like the older I get, the harder it is to come up with a good Halloween costume.

I spent over an hour walking around the Halloween store last week, staring at row after row of cheaply made, over-priced costumes. All of them were either way overdone (hippie, 80’s chick, cowgirl) or require fishnet stockings and a bikini wax. How did Halloween change from being a spooky night filled with jack-o-lanterns and trick-or-treating, to a night filled with sexy cops and lingerie? (Okkkk, so I dressed up as a sexy firewoman once. College freshman are supposed to make questionable decisions.)

As a kid, my costumes were always pretty awesome. For a number of years in a row, one of my best childhood friends and I dressed in couple themed costumes.One year we went as Siamese twins. We bought an XXL shirt from Target and walked around underneath it all night long. (Notice, we even had matching bangs.)

Another year we were Grandma & Grandpa – this is probably my favorite costume of all time.

We also went as Sonny and Cher and Santa & Mrs. Claus. I’m pretty sure we always got more candy than the other kids in the neighborhood. Total domination.

Speaking of sugar and Halloween, my parents had college friends come in town this weekend. On Friday night they had a Halloween themed dinner and costume contest. Since I pay rent in sugary confections, I was tasked with making dessert. And what says Halloween more than blood red cake?

I know that red velvet is traditionally paired with cream cheese icing, but my dad is a chocolate guy. And since he let’s me pay him in sugar, we’re going  attempt to please the boss man.


Red Velvet Cupcakes

adapted from BrownEyedBaker

4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ c granulated sugar
1 egg
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp red food coloring
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ c buttermilk
1 c + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1½ tsp distilled white vinegar

1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add egg and mix until well blended.

2. Add red food coloring, cocoa powder and vanilla to the mixture and beat until color is completely incorporated, scraping the bowl as needed. (note: you may want to mix the ingredients into a paste before adding to the butter mixture to avoid splattering red food coloring…or just be very careful when you turn on the mixer.)

3. With mixer on low, add half the buttermilk and half the flour. Mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat with the reserved halves. Beat until smooth.

4. Add baking soda, salt and vinegar. Beat mixture on high for another 2-3 minutes until well combined and smooth.

5. Pour batter into lined cupcake tins and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (note: since the batter is fairly thick, I scooped it into a large plastic bag and cut off 1 corner to make a “piping bag” and piped the batter into the liners.)

6. Let cupcakes cool completely before icing.

Chocolate Frosting

1 c butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened
3 1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 c cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp milk or heavy cream

1. In a large bowl cream butter until light and fluffy, about 3 min. Add vanilla extract and salt and mix until blended completely.

2. Sift in cocoa powder and half of the powdered sugar and mix on high.

3. Add milk/cream and mix until well incorporated and icing is smooth.

4. Add remaining powdered sugar in increments until desired consistency & sweetness is reached.

5. Optional: Scoop icing into pastry bag w/large star tip and pipe onto red velvet cupakes.


I used mini cookie cutters to cut cute Halloween shapes from marshmallow fondant. Decorate as desired!

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