Red Velvet Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

December 5, 2010

When someone asks me if I'll make something for them to bring to a party, it's like asking a fish if it would like to go for a swim. Really, you don't have to be nervous about asking. The only string I attach is some time and space for picture taking (without the eye rolling/complaining/looking over my shoulder to see if I'm done.) I think that's a fair deal. Plus it gives me an excuse to make things that I may not have wanted to reattempt after a series of let-downs...such as these cupcakes.

Red velvet cake has never been at the top of my to-do list. Taste wise, it never really did anything for me and I usually just ended up eating the cream cheese frosting, leaving the dreaded stump-of-shame. Since I had a request for red velvet cupcakes, I had to put aside my misgivings and find a 'wow' recipe. And I did! This recipe blew all the others out of the batter. It's super moist,almost pudding-like, and it actually has a distinguishable vanilla/chocolate flavour. So to the other person out there who has never been a fan of red velvet cake, please give this one a chance, I promise that you'll get a much bigger reaction than the usual 'meh'.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
(cupcake recipe from Joy the Baker and Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)Print

Cupcake ingredients
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 Tablespoons red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Maple cream cheese frosting ingredients*
4 oz of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
about 2 Tablespoons of cream or milk
2 1/2-3 cups of confectioners sugar, sifted

Prepare the cupcakes: In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Turn mixer to high and add the egg. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.
In a separate bowl mix together cocoa, vanilla and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter, mixing thoroughly until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.
Turn mixer to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.
Turn mixer to low and add baking soda and white vinegar. Turn to high and beat a few more minutes.
Spoon batter into a paper lined cupcake baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean.
Let rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then place them of a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting: Place the cream cheese and butter into the bowl of your stand-mixer. Or into any large bowl, if you're using a hand-held. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and combined. Don't worry if it's chunky, it will smooth out once you add the sugar. Reduce the mixer to low and add the maple syrup and cream. Increase the speed and beat until well combined. On low speed, slowly add the sugar. Don't add it all at once or you will end up with sugar everywhere. If the frosting is too thick, add a little bit more cream (remember, a little bit goes a long way.) If it's too thin, add more sugar. You're aiming for a nice, spreadable consistence.

*If you want to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes, you may want to double the frosting ingredients.*

Makes 12 cupcakes


  1. I love red velvet cupcakes. I make a skinny version... Topping yours with a maple cream cheese frosting sounds yummy!

  2. Valerie, I am "that other person" who doesn't care for red velvet cupcakes. But if you vouch for this recipe, it must be great! And yes, if I don't like it, there's always that cream cheese frosting to console myself with!

  3. Valerie, these are so pretty! And you are quite the frosting expert. I need to learn some tricks from you. My frosting always comes out looking, well, sad. I'm glad you liked this recipe...I was never a big red velvet fan either, so I should give this a try.

  4. I love the idea of the Maple Cream Frosting. (So Canadian, he he)When we were in London last March I found myself in Hummingbird just by chance as I was wondering through Portobello Market. So, I had one of their red velvet delights. I have also been to New York and the same thing - found myself beside Magnolia by chance, so popped in for the world famous red velvet there. That recipe is on Epicurious and I will say is nothing like the ones at their store. The Epicurious recipe is really lovely. Maybe the Magnolia cupcakes used to be lovely, but they are light and airy and just a conveyor of an all too sweet frosting. At least that was my opinion. I have never made the hummingbird recipe, but their cupcake was far superior. More moist and more dense. The frosting was perfect. That being said, and even though they make them an hour before you eat them - there is still nothing at all like a home made cup cake. Not even close. My students make 6 kinds for their grade 9 grad, and these are always a hit. We add more red food colouring (about a full jar per recipe) and I will definitely be making this icing and trying this recipe, too for their grad this year - if they are still into the cup cake theme. If not, by myself!

  5. Hey Valerie, I love red velvet cake-probably b/c I'm from the South and grew up with it. That being said, I've had quite a few where only the frosting was worth the calories and sugar. This recipe will be on my 'to make' list of sweets, as it would be so nice to have this cake right now. There is something very Christmas-like about it! Plus, I trust your judgment on these things;-)

  6. Red velvet cake is one of my family's favorites. They just can't get enough of it. I like how you made it into cupcakes and decorated it so prettily. By the way, I'm holding a giveaway on my blog for Orglamix Organic makeup and you're welcome to come by and enter.

  7. Another not red velvet fan here, but if you say it's good, I'll take your word for it. I have a friend who loves this cake, so now I know which one to make. Oh, and the frosting? Never mind that I'm sick in bed, but I still want a bowl of it and a spoon.
    p.s photo tip I learned from you today-- iron your table linens because it makes a huge difference. Must make an effort...

  8. Forget the iron, Mary. I'm a huge proponent of the shake-whilst-still warm from the dryer, method. Plus, if you brighten the light settinga enough, wrinkles magically disappear. :D

  9. I like red velvet cupcakes. I had the Hummingbird one before but don't remember how it tasted! Starbucks used to sell a pretty good one too. Thanks for sharing the recipe, it's great that we can make them at home instead of shelling out $4 for one!


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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