Sunday, February 7, 2010

SMS - Red Velvet Cake + backup chocolate cupcakes

This week's Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe, Red Velvet Cake, was chosen by Rosy of Rosy Lips and Lavender. With Valentine's Day around the corner, this week's pick made perfect sense. I've never made Red Velvet Cake from scratch before so I was pretty excited. Thank you, Rosy, for picking a recipe I've never tried before.

While comparing the SMS recipe to the Red Velvet Cake in Rose's Heavenly Cake, I learned that it's better to use baking powder instead of baking soda, to prevent the cake from turning brown-ish while baking. I also left out the vinegar as the buttermilk in the recipe provided sufficient acidity to the batter. For the red food coloring, I used McCormick's liquid red food coloring.

With the batter in the Pyrex cup, dividing up the batter was a breeze.

11 cupcakes total.

An inside look into the Red Velvet Cupcake.

I made a third of the recipe and baked cupcakes. The batter yielded 11 cupcakes. When the cupcakes came out of the oven, I couldn't wait to try them. I was happy to see that the cupcakes retained their red color. As soon as they were cooled and just slightly warm, I broke a cupcake in half to look at the texture and feel the cake's moisture content. So far so good. Now let's have a taste... oh it has no frosting yet, you ask? I couldn't wait for that. This is my homemade Red Velvet Cake from scratch and I want to taste it NOW :o) I can't tell you how disappointed I was. I expected a chocolatey cupcake that happens to be red in color. Not the case. No chocolate flavor to be found. After you swallow, you get this weird and off-taste in your mouth. I have to believe that the food coloring is the culprit. This is the first time ever I considered throwing a baked good in the trash. For now, I bagged them in a ziploc bag and put them in the freezer. Maybe if I cut them up, doused them with a chocolate syrup and lots of whipped cream, I could make a palatable trifle with them. Needless to say, I decided not to "waste" a good cream cheese frosting on these. Sorry!

This oil-based chocolate batter came together quickly.

These cupcakes baked in a 300 degrees oven for quite some time, about 35 minutes, even though the recipe stated 20-25 minutes. It didn't negatively impact the cupcakes though.

With this setback, I needed a backup. After all, I had my mind set on eating cupcakes that evening and they had to be chocolate. One recipe that's been on my todo list is Molly Wizenberg's recipe from her book, A Homemade Life. Molly is widely known for her award-winning blog, Orangette. You can find the recipe for these super-chocolatey, moist and fudgy cupcakes HERE. I made a 1/3 of the recipe which yielded 12 cupcakes and used a simple chocolate glaze to "frost" them. Hubby really liked these. He already had a dessert today so he was only going to eat half a cupcake. When I came back into the room, the other half was gone :o)

Doesn't that look gorgeous?

The cupcake in all its chocolate glaze glory. Bon appetit!

Final thoughts/tips:
  • Hubby didn't like the Red Velvet Cupcakes either. I didn't share with him my opinion until he told me his. He too said it had a "funny taste".
  • Since the red food coloring was the only ingredient I don't normally using in my baking, I'd have to think that that was the culprit but I'm not sure.
  • The recipe for the Red Velvet Cake can be found HERE. A big thanks to Rosy for hosting this week!
  • The backup chocolate cupcakes more than made up for the RVC setback. They were absolutely delicious. I'm not much of a milk drinker but if you are, I'm sure you'd want a tall glass of cold milk with these cupcakes. They're very moist, fudgy and tender, and are deliciously chocolatey even without the chocolate glaze.
  • If you're in a serious chocolate mood, try the Chocolate Cupcakes. The recipe can be found HERE.
  • Don't forget to check out the other SMS bakers to see if they had better luck with this recipe.


  1. I have to say your cupcakes look pretty. I used my Wilton no taste Red food coloring for my cakes. I didn't have any of the other stuff around. I liked these...not chocolate-y, but then I kind of knew red velvet isn't really chocolate-y. (Probably why I don't usually make it!:D)

  2. Aw I'm sorry you didn't enjoy these!! Spending time and ingredients making something from scrap... and have it come out almost trash-worthy is the worst. :( At least you got to have some delicious (and really truly gorgeous) chocolate cupcakes!

  3. I've never had red velvet that actually tasted chocolaty. I have no idea why cocoa is always called for, but there's just a tad bit... not really enough to flavor the entire cake.

    I used No-Taste red gel coloring when I made my brother's RV wedding cake... no bitter taste.

    I'd be interested in hearing how you like Rose's RV cake from Rose's Heavenly Cakes.

    Definitely make a trifle - perhaps one with chocolate pudding to fulfill that chocolate craving.


  4. Well, I dont think that a red velvet cake would be able to satiate a chocolate craving. It's never been chocolate-y to me. Perhaps, it's just a weird taste that some people like!

  5. Sorry to hear that you guys disliked these so much - that's always a bummer after you've spent time & ingredients making something. I've only had red velvet once or twice so I didn't have much to compare these to. The chocolate cupcakes look splendid and I'm glad they seem to have worked for a back-up plan.

  6. Sorry to hear about your disheartening experience. Thanks for sharing about the food coloring. I have never used any and am contemplating Rose's RV heart one for Valentine's Day. It doesn't sound chocolate-y tho' and I am beginning to think twice. I think the heart shape is so pretty, with the coloring and creamy white frosting setting it off - but if it isn't drop-dead in flavor, I don't want to serve it at a special time. So, we'll see, Thanks for sharing all of these processes.

  7. This was my first experience with Red Velvet cake and I wasn't wowed. I've seen several other recipes posted today, I think I will give it another go!

    Your chocolate frosting looks heavenly!!

  8. Sorry you didn't enjoy them. YOur cupcakes sure look good though. I love the second ones...yum!!

  9. So sorry you didn't enjoy those cupcakes, but they sure do look pretty!
    You backup batch looks delicious and love the way the chocolate glaze yum!

  10. Thank you all so much for your kind and supportive words. Maybe those cupcakes were supposed to taste that way and I was mentally prepared for something else, something more chocolatey, hence the disappointment. Regardless, I think I'm scarred for life. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit :o) But for sure I won't be making any Red Velvet cake for a while :o)

  11. I wonder why they tasted weird... Even if they weren't chocolatey I wouldn't think they would taste bad, kwim? It's a mystery. I love red velvet and this was not my favorite recipe, but I didn't think it tasted bad.
    I like the idea of using them up in a trifle!! I think that would be wonderful! I'm sorry you didn't like them.

  12. I'm so sorry that these didn't work for you! What a shame. I agree - I'm not sure they're supposed to taste chocolatey but I'm not honestly sure what they are supposed to taste like!! The chocolate ones look amazing though - glad your chocolate craving was finally sated! Thank you for baking along with me this week. Rosy x

  13. Your chocolate cupcakes look like they saved the day! And with that chocolate glaze, how could they not? :)

  14. Too bad these didn't turn out for you, but at least you made the best of it and got truly chocolate cupcakes out of it! I bought my food dye at Whole Foods and it didn't make the cupcakes taste funny. Martha suggests using paste in lieu of liquid dye.

  15. LOVE the chocolate icing. Beautiful! I thought the taste was a little off too. I have baked better along the way BUT I am glad to have tried the recipe.

    Adorable cupcakes Hanaa =)

  16. So sorry to hear that your RVC's didn't turn out. It wasn't my favorite red velvet recipe. But those chocolate cupcakes sound fantastic!


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