Red Velvet Cupcakes & My New Favorite Way to Frost Cupcakes

I wanted to make something festive to take into work for Valentine’s Day. I decided on red velvet cake for a couple reasons. My friend Amy had asked me about red velvet about a month ago. She made cupcakes for her sister’s birthday party. Having never tasted, let alone baked, red velvet cake, I sent her a couple recipes that I thought looked good. After looking into it, I noticed how much food coloring is in red velvet cake. The thought of it kinda skeeved me out. But I’ve been trying to step out of my comfort zone lately, so I decided to try the red velvet cake for Valentine’s Day.

I wanted a recipe that didn’t use a ton of food coloring. I decided on a recipe from Kelsey at Apple A Day because it only (ha! only) takes 1 oz of food coloring. That’s a whole bottle of food coloring! And believe it or not, I saw recipes that called for up to 3 oz. I also liked this recipe, because the coloring is added to the liquid ingredients and then you add the dry ingredients to that. I would be worried about staining something if it was the other way around…

I loved how these came out. Very moist and very red. I really enjoyed the taste of the red velvet cupcake and I’m glad I made them. AND, I got to use my new favorite way to frost a cupcake (see details at end of post). I can’t explain why I like it so much, I just do. It does give you more frosting without piling it on really high.

As an added bonus, I sat down while my cupcakes were in the oven only to find this Red Velvet cake comparison on The Way the Cookie Crumbles in my Google Reader. Bridget compared 4 red velvet cupcake recipes, including Kelsey’s from Apple A Day, Deb’s from Smitten Kitchen, and two others. I was very interested in her results since I had chosen the Apple a Day recipe and Amy had made the Smitten Kitchen recipe. If you’re looking for a Red Velvet cupcake recipe, definitely check out the comparison post. I am proud to say that Bridget recommends the Apple A Day recipe that I chose for my cupcakes! I agree that they come together easily, are very moist due to the oil in the recipe, have a bright red color, and have a sweet but tangy flavor.

For the frosting, I know most people put cream cheese frosting on red velvet cake/cupcakes. When I was searching for cupcake recipes, I came across one on Joy the Baker’s blog. It looked a little different than the other recipes I had been looking at and she opted for a brown sugar cream cheese frosting. I was intrigued by the frosting so I decided to go with it. And I’m so glad I did. I read her post about how to prevent curdling cream cheese frosting. I did make a silly mistake in making my frosting before my butter was at room temperature, resulting in a slightly lumpy frosting. But it tasted delicious which is all that matters, right!?!

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes
2 1/2 cup cake flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp (1 oz.) red food coloring
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp white distilled vinegar

For the Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
3/4 cups butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp milk, depending on desired consistency

Directions:

For the Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 F.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl.

Beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Divide batter evenly between 3 greased and floured 8" round cake pans (or a lined cupcake pan).

Bake cakes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 25–30 minutes. Let cakes cool 5 minutes, then invert each onto a plate, then invert again onto a cooling rack. Let cakes cool completely.

For the Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
Cream the cream cheese in an electric mixer for 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl and add the butter, beating for 1-2 minutes, or until incorporated.

Add the brown sugar, pinch of salt and vanilla extract, and beat until incorporated.

Turn off mixer and add 1 cup of powdered sugar. Turn the mixer on a low speed so the sugar doesn’t fly out of the bowl. Slowly add more sugar alternately with the milk until you reach your desired consistency.

To Frost the Cupcakes
Using the cone method, remove a cone from the top of the cupcake. Discard cones.

Using a piping bag with a large round tip, pipe frosting into hole of cupcake. Continue frosting in a fat swirl.

Cupcake recipe from Apple A Day, Frosting recipe from Joy the Baker

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37 Responses to “Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows”

  1. #
    1
    Megan — December 21, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    I love the red swirl in these. They look so festive! Homemade marshmallows are seriously so much better than store-bought.

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    Jen — December 21, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Completely agree Megan. And the best part is they melt and get all gooey in the hot chocolate!

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    Meesh — December 21, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    gorgeous! and so festive. what a great idea.

  4. #
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    Fun and Fearless in Beantown — December 21, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    These are awesome! I’m sure your friends and family will love this thoughtful gift!

  5. #
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    Daisy — December 21, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    these are the prettiest marshmellows I have ever seen. you could make them for every winter season (throw some sparkles in for news years, green for st pattys. pastels for easter!) oh the possibilities.

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    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — December 21, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    So pretty! I hear people talk about how easy it is to make homemade marshmallows all of the time – I’ve really got to make some.

  7. #
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    dana — December 21, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Peppermint marshmallows? I think this is the first time I am hearing about it. Anyway it sounds fun and looks yummy.

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    Blog is the New Black — December 21, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Looks great!

  9. #
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    Evan @swEEts — December 21, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    I bought all the ingredients for marshmallows but haven’t made them yet.. this peppermint variety sounds awesome though!

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    kitchenmisfit — December 22, 2010 at 2:38 am

    I really need to get off my butt and make some homemade marshmallows! No excuses!

    -Amanda

  11. #
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    LimeCake — December 22, 2010 at 2:38 am

    These are so darned pretty, and festive! Happy holidays!

  12. #
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    SomeSojourns — December 22, 2010 at 6:31 am

    holy clever. these look so yummy.

  13. #
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    Anne @thefitbridesmaid — December 22, 2010 at 6:46 am

    Those look so professional. It’s amazing what a little red food coloring can do.

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    Caroline — December 22, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    These are beautiful! I have made marshmallows a few times, and only once have I had a problem with them.. I put them into an airtight container and came back about an hour later to find that they had been – at least what it looked like to me – weeping. I’m not sure what happened, I dusted them with powdered sugar after cutting, and thought I did everyting right. I was curious if anything like that has that happened to you before? These marshmallows look like perfection!

  15. #
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    Dina — December 23, 2010 at 12:25 am

    those would be great in a cup of hot cocoa!

  16. #
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    Ashley — December 29, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Jen…these are GORGEOUS!! I keep meaning to try my hand at marshmallow making. These look divine!

  17. #
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    Jen — January 2, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Caroline,

    I have never had that problem myself. It sounds like there may have been a lot of humidity in the air? Was it during the summer? I haven’t made marshmallows during the summer yet, but that’s the first thing that pops to mind.

  18. #
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    Stef at TooMuchToDoSoLittleTime.com — January 15, 2011 at 9:13 am

    I found your site from Pioneer Woman’s Group 3 photography assignment. Congrats on being selected!!

    I love the photo and am looking forward to trying your marshmallow recipe.

    I’m looking forward to looking at your other posts, too. 😉

    Stef at TooMuchToDoSoLittleTime.com

  19. #
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    zzzy — March 11, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Where can one buy a marshmellow make/machine??

  20. #
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    snippets of thyme — April 7, 2011 at 7:16 am

    I cannot wait to make these peppermint marshmallows at the holidays. They are so pretty and looks so nice in that hot chocolate!

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    Jo and Sue — July 15, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Your pictures look soooo amazing 🙂 I did a blog recently about marshmallows (If you are interested – http://joandsue.blogspot.com/2011/07/great-marshmallow-debate.html ) Homemade marshmallows are rediculously addictive!

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    Virginia — November 6, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Important pre-holiday question: how big are the gift bags you use for your marshmallows &/or hot cocoa mix?  I’m looking at the “smalls” from KA (14.5″ x 6″), but I really have zero intuition for how that size translates to volume of, e.g, marshmallows. =)  thanks!

    • beantownbaker — November 8th, 2011 @ 8:26 am

      Great question. I will have to go home and check the size of the bags. I know I got them at Michaels. The marshmallows went into small bags that were almost a smidge too small and the hot cocoa went into larger bags. I’m sure that isn’t very helpful… Let me get back to you on that.

    • beantownbaker — December 19th, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

      Ok I didn’t have any of the bags left. Both of them were Wilton brand from Michaels craft store. Based on what I see online, it looks like the marshmallows were in a bag that was 3″x4″. They were a smidge small. The cocoa mix was in a bigger bag, looks like 4″x6″ and those were just the right size.

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    Sarah C — December 18, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    I’m not sure what I did wrong but these were a total disaster!  The marshmallow wouldn’t pour out of the bowl and seemed like it had already begun to set by the time I was taking it out (even though I only kept it in the mixer for about 13 minutes).  Do you think they were in the mixer for too long?  I was going by timing as well as thick/lukewarm but maybe it was still too long.  The bit of them that I could get into the pan wouldn’t spread so I couldn’t even use what I had because they would have been horribly shaped and not gift-worthy.  I ended up having to just dump everything in the trash.  I’m so disappointed because I was really looking forward to an easy homemade gift for co-workers.

    • beantownbaker — December 19th, 2011 @ 8:59 pm

      So sorry to hear that they didn’t turn out for you 🙁

    • LadyPerson — January 1st, 2012 @ 12:58 am

      You probably cooked the sugar syrup too long. I bet if you’d let them fully set, you’d have ended up with harder than normal marshmallows. Check your candy thermometer to make sure it’s accurate.

  24. #
    24
    LadyPerson — January 1, 2012 at 1:01 am

    Sounds like you didn’t cook the sugar syrup long enough. They MUST get to the proper temperature, or the marshmallows won’t set properly. If the syrup didn’t cook enough, the resulting marshmallow will be too soft and won’t hold it’s shape properly. Cook it too long, and the marshmallows will be too hard when you want fluffy.

    • Jenny K., Colorado — November 29th, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

      I would like to add that when cooking candy to a certain temperature, you must take into account your altitude. I have not made these yet, but will adjust to my own 6,000 feet in altitude. For example, when making English Toffee, I adjust 8 degrees LOWER for the target temperature. Otherwise, it overcooks.You can Google “altitude adjustments for candy making” .

  25. #
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    Molly — November 30, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Would a hand mixer work or would the marshmallows burn out the motor?

    • beantownbaker — December 1st, 2012 @ 9:38 pm

      I’ve never done it with a hand mixer, but I do know that my stand mixer gets pretty hot while it’s whipping up the marshmallows…

      • Mary Christmas — December 21st, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

        I made these last night with a simple handmixer & whisk attachment (Hamilton Beach® 6-Speed Hand Mixer)…worked great! It has a “bowl rest” so your arm doesn’t get too tired 🙂

        • beantownbaker — December 21st, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

          So glad it worked out for you!

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    KS — December 13, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Anyone know if an alternative syrup would work (like light brown rice syrup)? I want to make these but my son is allergic to corn. Thanks!

    • beantownbaker — December 15th, 2012 @ 9:40 am

      I have never tried a substitute. Maybe another reader will know. If you experiment and find something that works, let me know!

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    Mary Christmas — December 21, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Delicious, and they look just like the picture!!

    To save your pan, lay down foil first, and then spray with cooking spray and the powder mixture as instructed. At the end, lift the foil out to dump the marshmallows on the cutting board.

    • beantownbaker — December 21st, 2012 @ 9:11 pm

      Great tip!

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