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Red velvet cupcake recipe

A friend’s birthday wish for red velvet cupcakes sent me on a mission to find the best recipe available. I wanted to make sure the cupcakes were moist and melt in your mouth soft as there is nothing worse than a dry cupcake! Also, as this was a birthday present, and the recipient knew what it was, I wanted to add an element of surprise without reducing the impact of the cocoa and buttermilk flavour that makes red velvet so delicious. Sticking with the theme, I decided that a hidden chocolate cookie would do the job perfectly, and that a dark chocolate oreo with its cream filling would work perfectly with the cream cheese frosting!

Surprise oreo bottom

Surprise oreo bottom!

Ingredients (for about 24 cupcakes)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
30 – 60ml red food coloring
1 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar
½ cup of prepared plain hot coffee (don’t skip this ingredient)
24 dark chocolate oreos
24 Paper cupcake liners
Muffin tray
Decorations of choice

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees celsius.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt.

In a bigger bowl, combine the sugar and vegetable oil.
Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and red food coloring until combined.
Stir in the coffee and white vinegar.

Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients a little at time, mixing after each addition, until just combined.

Grease the bottoms and sides of the cupcake pan. Place cupcake liners inside.
Pour a tiny bit of batter into the bottom of the cup, basically to cover the bottom. Place a oreo on the batter in each cup. Fill the cups the rest of the way. Bake for 18 – 23 minutes, making sure not to over-bake (they will continue to cook as they cool)!! Check cupcakes at 18 minute mark. They might look sticky on the outside but are done when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes.
Slide a knife or offset spatula around the insides to loosen the cupcakes from the pan.
Remove from the pan and cool completely before icing.

Red velvet cupcakes recipe

For the Cream cheese Icing:
I don’t like my icing too sweet, preferring to still be able to taste the cream cheese.


2 tubs cream cheese (about 500g) at almost room temperature
1/2 cup salted butter at almost room temperature
2.5 cups sifted icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk, if 


Whip together the cream cheese, butter, and extract until light and fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar and whip until smooth and fully incorporated.  If the icing is too thick for your taste you can whip in a little milk till the desired consistency has been reached.
Use a piping bag to ice the cupcakes. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Cream cheese icing recipe