The Boastful Baker

because every cook praises her own broth

Remedy for a dearth of cake.


Red Velvet Mini Cupcakes

It’s recently come to my attention that I haven’t baked enough cake this year. I think my husband has been subtly mentioning this for months, but I apparently chose to pretend I didn’t hear him for months. I’m going to go ahead and blame our move late last year for the cake drought. When we lived in Williamsburg, it seemed like I needed to bake cakes for one reason or another pretty frequently. Now that we’re in Charlottesville, my husband is the only one other than me in need of cake (his office apparently isn’t aware of my dessert making ability). And as I just mentioned, I chose to ignore his pleas for months.

No matter what reason for the dearth of cake in our house really is, I’m now aware of the shortage and will consciously make an effort to up our cake intake for the rest of 2012. Starting with today’s batch of Red Velvet mini cupcakes.
Red Velvet Mini Cupcakes
Red Velvet cake was chosen today for no reason other than my realization that I haven’t made it in a couple of years. I also knew that I still had a giant bottle of red food coloring on hand from the last time I made it.

A few years ago I needed to find a good Red Velvet cake recipe for my sister’s wedding cake. I made a few batches of bland, tasteless cake and finally found the magic recipe in a well worn copy of a local cookbook my husband owned. By “local cookbook”, I mean the kind of cookbook often put together by churches or civic groups. This particular cookbook appears to be from a local community college’s culinary program. Wherever it’s from, their Red Velvet cake recipe is a winner.

Red Velvet Mini Cupcakes

Red Velvet Mini Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe adapted from VVTC Cookbook

Makes about 40 mini cupcakes.


  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 stick margarine, softened to room temperature
  • 1 (16 oz) box powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line mini muffin tin with paper mini muffin/cupcake liners.
  2. To prepare the cake, mix buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, vinegar and food coloring. Beat for 2 minutes (I used the lowest setting on my Kitchenaid stand mixer, but a hand mixer will work fine for this.)
  3. Add flour, sugar, baking soda and cocoa to wet mixture and beat for 2 more minutes.
  4. Spoon batter into muffin/cupcake tin. Fill each liner to about 2/3 full.
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of cupcakes comes out clean
  6. To prepare frosting, beat cream cheese and margarine together until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and continue to beat for about 5 minutes, until frosting is fluffy.
  7. Using a pastry bag and decorating tips, pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Or spoon it onto cupcakes if you prefer.

Red Velvet Mini Cupcakes
A few notes:

  • If you only have one mini muffin tin (like I do), gently scoop cupcakes out of tin with a teaspoon and place on rack or tray to cool. Repeat lining muffin tin, spooning batter and baking steps to bake the rest of the cupcakes.
  • You’ll have lots of extra frosting. Do what I’m doing and make a batch of cinnamon rolls. Top them with this extra frosting.
  • You could make regular cupcakes if you’d like. This recipe will make about a dozen of them.


  1. I used the store bought red food colouring to make red velvet cupcakes, however they turned out brownish in colour and not so appealing. Is there a particular type of bakers food colouring that I should buy?

    • The red food coloring I use is just standard generic grocery store food coloring from a giant bottle and I did get a nice red color. It may have more to do with the quantity of food coloring used versus the quantity of cocoa powder in the recipe you used. Also, a darker cocoa powder would probably mess with the color as well. Hope this helps!

  2. These look so good! I’ve been on the hunt for a good red velvet recipe for a while

  3. Hi, how much batter did you put per mini muffin tin? (or scoop size may be of reference?)

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  5. Did you use unsweetened cocoa powder or sweetened?

  6. Yes I didnt realize that I bought it one time and it REALLY made a difference (in a bad way),,,, Thanks for the response! cant wait to make these today!!!!

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