The two main ingredients for a killer Red Velvet cake base are buttermilk and cocoa powder. I like to use dark cocoa powder, such as Valrhona or Cacao Barry, to give my Red Velvet cake a deep chocolate flavor. And of course, the topping is a traditional, luscious cream cheese frosting. My secret to making the perfect cream cheese frosting? Cold cream cheese and soft butter.
Another one of my favorite Valentine’s Day themed treats is this refreshing Cherry Mint Sparkler. For the perfect Valentine’s Day, whip one of these up to enjoy during the afternoon, and then save the cupcakes for after dinner!
Red Velvet Cupcakes and Cherry Mint Sparklers
Cupcakes (frosting recipe separate)
- 2½ cups cake flour sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ounce red food coloring double concentrate
- 5 ounces butter soft
- 1½ cups sugar
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk warmed slightly in microwave
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside
- Whisk together food color and cocoa powder. Set aside.
- In electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk and vanilla. Scrape sides of bowl after each addition.
- Add food color mixture to batter and mix just until uniform color is achieved. Make sure to scrape down sides of bowl well.
- In small bowl, mix vinegar with baking soda. Fold into cake batter with spatula – do not beat with mixer.
- Portion batter into lined cupcake pan. I use the Vollrath #16 blue scoop.
- Bake for 12 – 14 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Cream Cheese Frosting Directions
- In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, butter, salt and vanilla until blended. Make sure to scrape down sides of bowl regularly to ensure no lumps remain.
- Add powdered sugar one-third at a time and beat just until smooth. Again, make sure to scrape down sides of bowl at regular intervals. If frosting is too stiff, beat for few seconds longer, but be careful to not overbeat.
- This keeps, refrigerated, for one week. Make sure to bring to room temperature before using.
Cherry Mint Sparkler Directions
- Muddle 5 mint leaves in a sturdy glass.
- Add cherry juice and agave. Stir well.
- Strain out mint.
- Place ice cubes in drinking glass. Pour sparkling water over ice. Slowly pour in the cherry mint juice.
- Garnish with mint sprig, enjoy!