Have you ever had a cupcakes from a Sprinkles Bakery? Their most popular flavor is red velvet! Instead of paying $3.99 for a single cupcake, why not make a dozen of them at home? You may be thinking, well it’s not worth making them if they don’t taste like a sprinkles cupcake, but these actually do! Do you know why? This is the actual Sprinkles cupcake recipe! For my 12th birthday, I got the Sprinkles baking book, where Candace Nelson includes all of the Sprinkles recipes! You can get the book here. I could spend hours just flipping through the pages of that book, reading all the summaries, and all the tips.
This red velvet cupcake recipe, as mentioned above, is not my recipe. I just thought it would be nice to share it, because I’m convinced this is the best red velvet cupcake recipe out there. It is super moist, and has a mild cocoa flavor, with a bright red color.
Here are some questions you may have:
What does a red velvet cupcake taste like?
A red velvet cupcake is not just a red, vanilla cupcake. The small addition of cocoa powder makes it super rich and flavorful. The addition of buttermilk and vinegar gives it a fluffy and airy texture.
Do I have to use buttermilk? Can I use a substitute?
Yes, you have to use buttermilk. Otherwise, the cupcake will be very dry and will be like a big, hard cookie. You cannot substitute buttermilk for milk. The reason is because the acidity in the buttermilk reacts with the leavener agent (baking soda, baking powder, etc,) so it creates a moist crumb. You could also use a buttermilk substitute online (milk + lemon juice or vinegar) but for best results, I would recommend buying a small carton of buttermilk.
I have a lot of extra batter, what could I use this for?
In the picture shown above, I like to bake the rest of the batter, in more cupcake liners, or in a greased pan, crumple it up, then sprinkle it on top. You can also mix it with some leftover cream cheese frosting, and make it into little cake pops :).
What do I top these with?
It is highly recommended to not top these cupcakes with buttercream frosting. Cream cheese frosting goes best with red velvet cupcakes. It is super easy to make. You can top the frosted cupcakes with the cake crumbs (mentioned above), sprinkles, a red glaze, or really whatever you want to! You can pipe the frosting on, or you can spread it on, and add the fondant decoration for a real Sprinkles experience!
This recipe also includes a super easy cream cheese frosting recipe!
This recipe makes 12 cupcakes
*I have made a few changes to this recipe. I promise they are only made so the cupcake will taste better. I decided to use more cocoa powder, and more red food dye. I did this and they turned out amazing, and were a perfect red color.
1 1/2 cups of flour
3 1/2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup of buttermilk*
1 3/4 teaspoon of vinegar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of red food coloring.
10 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened to room temperature.
1 cup + 1 tablespoon of sugar
For the frosting:
1 eight-ounce block of cream cheese
1/2 of unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar (do only 3 cups for a less sweet option.)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* the directions are in my own wording. Not copied from the book.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 count cupcake pan w/ liners
- In a liquid measuring cup, stir together the buttermilk, vinegar, food coloring, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar for 2-3 minutes until nice and fluffy. Occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl. On medium-low speed, add the eggs one at a time until fully combined.
- Add a third of the flour mixture and with a rubber spatula, fold the mixture into the butter mixture. Once combined add half of the buttermilk mixture. Once that is combined, add another third of the flour mixture, then the buttermilk mixture, then the flour mixture. If the batter doesn’t look bright red, add more food coloring. It isn’t likely, but just in case, do so.
- Fill the cupcake liners evenly. I would use an ice cream scooper, but a measuring cup would work fine.
- Bake for about 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- For the frosting, cream together the butter and cream cheese until combined. Add the salt and the vanilla extract. Slowly, add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until combined.
- Let the cupcakes cool and frost them!