Moist and oh-so-fluffy red velvet cupcakes topped with a whipped, lusciously tangy white chocolate cream cheese frosting!
Other than chocolate-covered strawberries (see last post), I really can’t think of any dessert more synonymous or fitting for Valentine’s Day than Red Velvet. Is it the deep, crimson color, or the actual flavor itself? I’m not totally sure, but what I AM sure about is how flippin’ amazing these Red Velvet Cupcakes turned out!
While I’m never one to toot my own horn (side-eye), I have to say that these are hands-down the best red velvet cupcakes I’ve ever had.
Everything about these little dudes is perfection.
The cake itself is so moist…so fluffy…not a dry crumb in the house. Impeccably delicious. (So modest, I know.)
As far as flavor goes, I’ve found that some red velvet cupcakes tend to be rather flavorless due to red velvet’s classic subtle chocolate flavor. It’s not chocolate cake, but it’s also not vanilla cake–it’s in between. In fact, I’d venture to say that it’s closer to the vanilla side of the scale.
In order to boost the flavor in my cupcakes, it was absolutely crucial to get the amount of cocoa powder and sugar juuuuuust right. As I mentioned, red velvet is more of a vanilla cake than chocolate, so 2 Tablespoons seemed to be the magic amount for that slight chocolate flavor. To sweeten the deal, instead of sticking with solely granulated sugar, I added 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar. Just enough to add a deeper sweetness, yet not too much for anyone to detect any hint of molasses in these cupcakes.
A classic ingredient in red velvet cupcakes is buttermilk. However, if you don’t have any, just add a 1/2 Tablespoon (or 1 and 1/2 teaspoons) of vinegar to a measuring glass, then pour in enough milk to equal 1/2 cup. That’s actually what I ended up doing since I rarely have buttermilk on hand. I also added a little extra vinegar to the batter since it brings out the redness in the cupcakes.
Moving on to the frosting…as you can see when it comes to cupcakes, I like a little cake with my frosting. I’m sure you’ll understand why once you get your hands on this white chocolatey cloud of luscious heaven. (Did that even make sense?)
The frosting has that lighter whipped texture which I absolutely adore on top of cupcakes. In fact, I was rather surprised just how fluffy the frosting was since it’s a cream cheese frosting, which tends to be on the heavier side. The key is to use cold ingredients (no softened butter or cream cheese) and to give it a good whippin’. And I’m not talking the Fifty Shades kind 😉
Since the butter is cold, it requires more mixing/beating until it gets to that lighter, creamier consistency. I had the butter mixing for about 4 minutes (on high) before adding the powdered sugar. You want it really light and pale in color. Once the sugar was added, I beat it for an additional 3 minutes. Oh! And another thing–I also didn’t add the cream cheese until later on. It gets mixed in at the very end with the cooled melted white chocolate is added. Then I continued to whip it good for another 3 minutes.
Instead of the usual vanilla extract, I went bougie by adding the seeds of one vanilla bean. Not only is it more flavorful and pretty (I love seeing the tiny black flecks all throughout the frosting), but it won’t add that slight tinge of yellow to your frosting.
And because I’m a sprinkle addict who has pretty much every sprinkle that ever existed, I threw on some gold sugar sprinkles along with some of these cute Heart Sprinkles and these Gold Edible Glitter Hearts.
Rich in both color and flavor, these cupcakes have everything a red velvet cupcake should have AND more. A moist and fluffy cake with the perfect amount of chocolatey sweetness, and that incredibly luscious, tangy, whipped white chocolate cream cheese frosting. With a whole batch of these cupcakes to myself, single never tasted sooooooo freaking good.
Red Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Yields: 18 cupcakes
Red Velvet Cupcakes:
1 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons natural cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 cup buttermilk*
1-2 Tablespoons red food coloring, or as needed
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
7 ounces white chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter, cold and sliced into Tablespoons
Pinch of salt
Seeds scraped from one whole vanilla bean
2 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, cold
Make the Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars together on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat in the Greek yogurt, vanilla, and vinegar on medium speed.
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Stir the food coloring into the buttermilk, then pour it into the batter. Mix until just combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 19-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the Frosting:
Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave until smooth and melted. Set aside to cool completely.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, salt, and vanilla bean seeds on high until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, a 1/2 cup at a time, until fully incorporated. Mix on high for 3 minutes.
Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl. Add the melted chocolate and cream cheese. Beat frosting on high for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
Pipe or spread frosting onto cupcakes, then garnish with sprinkles. Serve and enjoy!
*If you don’t have buttermilk, just add 1/2 Tablespoon (or 1 and 1/2 teaspoons) of vinegar to a measuring cup, then pour in enough milk to equal 1/2 cup. Stir, and allow to sit for about 5 minutes.