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Red Velvet Cupcakes & Cream Cheese Frosting

I titled this recipe "Red Velvet Run Cupcakes," for a WWL-TV segment featuring my party food for the Red Dress Run in New Orleans, August 12, 2023. Weatherman Payton Malone did the decorating honors! (Video linked below recipe.)

Fill each liner about 3/4 full. These babies really rise.

Red Velvet Run Cupcakes

Makes 24 frosted cupcakes

These are made with traditional ingredients, in the Southern manner. Secret ingredient: a whole stick of butter. I’ve never had any complaints.

Toppings: Chopped walnuts or pecans, red sanding sugar and/or red dragées. Pro-tip: dark cupcake pans evenly distribute heat (think: rise) better than light-toned ones.


2 ½ cups cake flour

2 tablespoons unsweetened, non-alkalized cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups sugar

1 cup canola oil

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon red gel food color

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Heat oven to 350°F. Place 24 paper liners in two standard muffin pans. In medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, salt.

In large bowl, with electric mixer, combine sugar, oil, butter. Mix in eggs, food color, vanilla.

Mix in a third of dry ingredients, half buttermilk, another third dry, other half buttermilk, last third dry. In a small bowl stir together the baking soda and vinegar (it fizzes!), mix in to batter. Scrape down sides of batter bowl to fully incorporate all ingredients.

Fill each liner about 3/4 full. Bake 17 to 18 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Don't overbake. Done when a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool then frost!

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

4 cups (16 ounces) powdered sugar

2 to 4 tablespoons milk (don't overdo it)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

Red sanding sugar

Chopped walnuts, pecans, per your preference

In large bowl, with hand mixer, cream together the cheese and butter till smooth. You might have sort of a big glob at first; carefully spin the beaters low in the bowl on high speed to clear them, without spattering the kitchen with cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time and beat. Add 2 tablespoons milk, vanilla, salt. Add another tablespoon milk or 2 if frosting is too stiff.

Pipe onto tops of muffins, dust with red sanding sugar and/or chopped nuts to garnish.


Let cool, then pipe the frosting . . .

Then sanding sugar and walnuts = all done!

Click on the pic below to go to the tape! (Left to right, Colleen Seeley, Payton Malone, myself, Whitney Miller, and Eric Paulsen, of WWL-TV New Orleans' Eyewitness Morning News)!

Party the next day at my house with my red dress runners!! The real feel outside was 125°F! Laissez les bons temps rouler! 💃🏻 🍤 🧁 🎉 🥵 !!!

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