(YELP photo taken by Tonya Russ Price, owner of PopRock Photography, Charlotte)
Someone posted on YELP that our red velvet was the worst cupcake she’d ever had, and that it wasn’t red enough for her liking. Another customer came in a few weeks ago and screamed (yes, screamed) that red velvet was “disgusting” because you have to use ungodly amounts of food dye. SHE knew, as she was a baker.
We just nod. Alright, I can’t please everyone. But red velvet IS our best seller, 3 to 1, hands down, the best selling cupcake we have. We use a recipe, and if you don’t like the recipe we use, you can take it up with Martha Stewart. That’s right, ladies and gents. We use Good old Martha’s recipe, every day. Martha doesn’t lie. When I was opening the shop, I had never eaten red velvet. I went to every bakery and cupcake shop in Charlotte and OD’ed on red velvet. I wasn’t impressed, and needed to figure out what I was missing. I grabbed 5 recipes out of 5 different reliable food sources, and one was Martha. Two recipes went into the trash, completely gross. The other 3 recipes seemed great but I still wasn’t sure what “great” meant as I was no red velvet connoisseur, so I took them to my book club one night and we did a red velvet taste off. Hands down, Martha won.
No, my hollering baker friend, we do not use 3 gallons of red dye. No, unhappy cupcake eater, we will not ADD 3 gallons of red dye. We use less than a teaspoon per batch. And we use gel, because that liquid stuff does taste disgusting. We actually use Americolor, because I found it is the least funky tasting. I tried to all natural coloring route, and that was a fail not to mention crazy expensive.
So here is the recipe, via the MS website. Oh, and as we all know, baking is science. I was given a bunch of baking cookbooks that are oooooold. Older than Martha’s. Guess what? Many of the recipes are the exact same, it’s all recipe recycling when you’re dealing with baking basics. So here you are, the same recipe we use in the shop. I think Martha would approve of our cupcake.
Red Velvet Cupcakes
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food color
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
(yep, we use her frosting recipe, too!!)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
- With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla.
- Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.
- Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
- To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting.