You could argue that “red velvet” is overrated, and honestly, in many ways I’d probably agree with you. However, when it comes to the classics, red velvet cake and cupcakes are here to stay. I’ve seen some strange things become unnecessary red velvet versions of themselves, and I mean hey, it’s the food world — there are no rules. Some things should be left alone though. Red velvet fried chicken? Girl, I guess lol.
Anyway, I wanted to combine two of my favorite desserts in a super easy way and I honestly think this is phenomenal. Cheesecake meets the red velvet cupcake. Simple, hardly original, but this is my version. My challenge was to make sure these babies didn’t come out too sweet. However, this will vary depending on how much frosting you apply to the top. I think you should keep the ratios pretty even, but it’s your cupcake, do what you want. The recipe for the actual red velvet cupcakes is already on my website, I’m just going to simply provide the recipe for the filling as well. The actual cupcake is incredible, super moist and fluffy. Why add vinegar? The vinegar does two important things here: it provides lift, and it brightens and intensifies the red color. Stick to distilled white vinegar, don’t use anything with too much flavor.Print
red velvet cupcakes
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons red food coloring
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons distilled white vinegar
- 1 8oz. block cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg yolk
- pinch of salt
cream cheese frosting
- 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 block (8oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 to 4½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- tiny pinch of salt
For the cheesecake filling
- Combine all ingredients and transfer to a piping bag until ready to use.
For the cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin/cupcake pan with liners.
- On medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to high and add the egg. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.
- In a separate small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter and mix on medium speed 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.
- Reduce the mixer speed 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.
- Again, reduce the mixer speed to low and add the salt, baking soda and vinegar. Turn to high and beat for another couple of minutes until completely combined and smooth.
- Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners and fill with cheesecake filling, about 3 tbsp or so per cupcake. Bake on the middle oven-rack for about 18-20 minutes, or until a thin knife or skewer inserted into the center of the largest cupcake comes out clean. I baked mine for 18 minutes.
- Cool for 2 minutes and then remove cupcakes from the pan and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting
- In a food processor, pulse the softened butter and cream cheese together until combined.
- Add 1 cup of the sugar and pulse. Repeat until all the sugar is used.
- While pulsing, drizzle in the vanilla extract and salt.
- Frost your cupcakes.
- ** If you don’t have a food processor, you could use a traditional stand mixer, electric hand mixer, a plain ol’ wire whisk (a sturdy one), or a fork or spoon. Just expect to put more muscle into it if mixing by hand, and note that it will take a bit longer to blend everything together smoothly.
Chef Resha is an accomplished self-taught private chef, home cook, public figure, and recipe developer based in the DC Metro area. Creator and owner of CarnalDish — an incredibly delicious and renowned website full of sinful comfort food recipes made with love. CarnalDish has been featured on Good Morning Washington, Ebony magazine, Essence, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Newport, The Dr. Oz Show, and many more notable publications.