Monday, September 2, 2013

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

 These cupcakes are my beautiful mother Lee Brown’s favourite cupcakes. She is “not a sweet tooth” apparently; however anytime these are baking in the oven she is more than happy to eat at least one, smothered in cream cheese icing. 
Another fan is my absolute legend of an uncle Pete Arlington, who also needs to taste at least 2 or 3 each time I bake them, "...just to make sure of the flavour" he says.

I love when people love cupcakes, especially mine. While these recipes aren’t my own, I have adapted them in my own way and now they are a favourite of many of my friends and family. 
All I can say is – go ahead and make these awesome red cakes; because red velvet is red hot right now, and their flavour is only describable as tasting red - you will just have to see for yourself - oh, did I mention they're red?

Magnolia Bakery Red Velvet Cupcakes original recipe can be found here:

Butter Lane Cream Cheese Frosting recipe cannot be accessed online, so, you’re welcome.

Very importantly - many thanks to my wonderful colleague JuJu (Julia de Berg) for her fabulous photography skills - she took all of these photos for me!

Now to the recipe... 

Magnolia Bakery Red Velvet Cupcakes


  • 3 1/3 cups plain flour
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature - about 187.5g: use kitchen scales or guesstimate like I do J
  • 2 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature – free range, always
  • 6 tablespoons red food colouring (this equals to two bottles of Queen Pillar Box Red food colouring)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract (never use imitation vanilla or vanilla essence, always vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt (I always use Himalayan pink rock salt)
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda


  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
  2. Line cupcake tins with cupcake patties, this recipe yields approximately 36 cupcakes.
  3. To make the cupcake mix: in a small bowl sift the flour and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food colouring, cocoa and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well. Ensure top scrape down the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated – this stage it may look curdled which is OK.
  7. In a measuring cup, whisk the salt in to the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts, alternating with the flour. (Remember, always start and finish with dry ingredients when incorporating wet and dry – this means you will need to portion the flour in to four parts, and the buttermilk/salt in to three).
  8. Also in this part – ensure not to overbeat. This is imperative!!!!! Make sure you mix with the electric mixer until just combined, and at the end you can finish it off with the spatula.
  9. In a small bowl, stir together the baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Add to the batter and mix well, again just lightly beat with the electric mixer and do the rest by hand – making sure the mixture is well blended and smooth.
  10. Divide the batter among the cupcake patty tins, you may need to bake in two batches as this mixture makes more than 24 cupcakes – I use an old fashioned ice cream scoop that releases the same portion per cupcake – one of the many best things that has ever happened to me.
  11. Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes before turning them around to make sure both ends of the cupcake tray are evenly baked. After 20 minutes, turn them around and bake for a further 5 minutes. You may want to watch them at this stage, because all ovens vary.
  12. When a cake skewer is inserted and comes out clean, the cupcakes are ready. Leave them in their trays for 5-10 minutes before moving to a wire rack and allowing to cool completely.
  • A trick that I have said before, you can test when a cupcake is completely cool by placing it on your wrist, if your wrist feels no heat, then the cupcakes are ready to ice! 
  • This recipe also yields 2-3 cakes depending on how big you want them, if you want to do a layer cake then bake the cakes for 40-50 minutes or until a cake skewer comes out clean. 

Butter Lane Cream Cheese Frosting

*Yields enough icing for 36 cupcakes, but this can be stretched a bit further.


  • 227g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (225g is fine, I mean reeeeally….).
  • 454g Philadelphia full fat cream cheese (450g is fine, I mean reeeeally….).
  • 8 cups pure icing sugar, sifted.
  • 1 splash vanilla extract.


  1. Mix butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat on a medium speed for 5 minutes until well combined.
  2. Once combined and while mixing on a low speed, add the sifted icing sugar, one cup at a time.
  3. Once all the sugar is well mixed, add a splash of vanilla extract and mix on a medium-high speed for 3 minutes or until smooth and fully combined.
  4. Frost, ice, spread, however you want to ice your cupcakes with the icing – do not refrigerate!
  5. Stuff 1, 2, 3 or 4 in your face and eat quickly to forget it ever happened and avoid guilt at all costs, they’re worth it :)


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