An update of one of our very firsts posts!
Growing up I often asked for a Red Velvet cake for my birthday. One year I remember Mom making a version with peppermint icing, with a recipe I think came from Southern Living. I decided to try something like that, but in miniature form, adapting the recipe Mom always used for red velvet cake, which I think came from my grandmother. I entered these cupcakes in the “Biochemistry Bake-Off” at work a couple years ago, when we first started this blog. It’s become one of the most popular posts on the site, especially this time of year, but the photos were long past due for a remake — we’ve come a long way since then — and my birthday yesterday was the perfect excuse to make myself cupcakes.
My favorite part of Red Velvet cake is the cream cheese frosting, so I stuck with that for this festive version, but flavored it with peppermint. I garnished some with a bit of peppermint bark (yes, I know I need to update that post as well…), and some of them I frosted with a candy cane swirl. To get the swirl effect, dye some of the frosting red with food coloring (it will take a lot!) and carefully fill one side of a pastry bag with the red frosting and the other side with white. Then, when you pipe it out of a star tip, you get a striped swirl.
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Peppermint Red Velvet Cupcakes
Makes 2 dozen cupcakes, or use the same recipe for a 3 layer cake.
Note that I never seem to get a nice domed top out of these cupcakes, but once you frost them it’s not a big deal, and the cake still tastes delicious.
For the cake:
1 c butter (softened)
2 c sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 T cocoa
1 T vinegar
2 1/2 c cake flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 c buttermilk
1 t vanilla
1 oz red food coloring
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat until fluffy.
Add cocoa to vinegar, and add to creamed mixture.
Sift remaining dry ingredients and gradually add to batter. Add buttermilk, vanilla, and food coloring.
Bake in cupcake wrappers (makes 2 dozen) or bake in three greased and floured 9″ round cake pans, at 350 F for 25 minutes.
Let cool completely before icing.
Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting:
3/4 package of cream cheese (6 oz) (softened)
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1 1-lb. box of powdered sugar
1 t peppermint extract
Beat cream cheese and butter. Gradually add sugar, beating until smooth. Add extract and beat until blended.