Red Velvet Roses: Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

cropped 1

The Scoop:

Normally for this post I would tell you about how perfectly soft and moist these little cakes are.  I’d tell you about the weekend that I tested 4 different red velvet recipes because my mind had become overwhelmed with the desire need to nail these cupcakes before February 14th.  I’d tell you how much the small amount of coffee used in this recipe kicks up the flavor of the cocoa, and how I can’t believe I never thought of that before.  I’d tell you how grossed out I feel as I dump an entire bottle of red food coloring into the batter, but that I tried making them with beet juice and it really just wasn’t the same.  I’d tell you all these things in great, rambling detail.  But instead I’m going to tell you the story of the night I made these cupcakes.  The ones that I actually photographed for this post.  (and I’m going to tell you the story in great rambling detail… naturally, because it’s me, and I’m completely incapable of telling an abridged version of a story.)

Last Friday night there was a Nor’easter making its way up the coast and threatening to dump more than a few flakes of snow on Philadelphia.  Some friends had invited me to go out downtown but I didn’t feel like braving the cold or the potential road conditions so I opted for an evening in.  The perfect excuse to get some baking done.  After test driving 4 red velvet cupcake recipes the previous weekend, I had settled on my favorite, so I wanted to make another batch to photograph.  11PM rolled around and my cupcakes were all baked and had just finished cooling on the counter.  I’d whipped up a batch of my favorite cream cheese frosting and had it covered in the fridge, waiting for me to frost my cakes in the morning.  I wasn’t really tired, but I figured, why not call it an early night?

cropped 3

<beep beep>  I had a text message.  It was Dave.  Mike’s younger brother had just moved to town and they were taking him out for a couple drinks at the divey little bar a couple blocks from my apartment.  I mean, I wasn’t actually doing anything, so why not stop over?  I’d be home by 1:00, go straight to bed, and still get a solid 7-8 hours of sleep.  Riiiiiiiiiiiight…

2 hours passed, 2 PBR’s were consumed, funny stories were told, and I had a case of the giggles.  It’s always a dead giveaway that I’m training for another marathon when my alcohol tolerance plummets to that of an 18 year old on her first weekend of college.  There is an inverse correlation between the number of miles I run during the week and the number of drinks I can sip on the weekend before getting giggly.  It was a pretty heavy week of marathon training, therefore my drink consumption was capped at 2 PBR’s… which happen to be one step up from water.  Sad but true.

Anyhoo, my 1:00 AM bedtime came and went.  I finally said goodbye to my friends at 1:30 and ice skated the 2 blocks home, because instead of getting pounded with feet of snow, we found ourselves with nothing more than some freezing rain.  So what does a girl do when she gets home at 1:30 on a Friday night and is tipsy off of 2 PBR’s?  The correct answer: go to bed.  My answer: decorate 3 dozen red velvet cupcakes in a rose flower frosting pattern while watching an episode of Girls on my friend’s HBOGO account.

Finally at 2:15, I was all tuckered out so I cleaned up the kitchen (shockingly), ate a cupcake (not so shocking), and collapsed into my bed.

Seriously.  God bless any person who is crazy enough to live with me.

I guess now we get to the whole moral of the story part of the post.  The moral of the story is this: don’t be intimidated by frosting cupcakes.  If I can do it at 1:30 in the morning fueled by cheap beer, well then I promise that you can do it too.  In no way do I claim that my cupcakes look professional.  But I’m also proud to say that they don’t look like they were decorated by a drunk person either.

If you still don’t believe me, I’m hoping the step-by-step photos below will help you see just how easy it really is!  So if you are looking to impress someone this Valentine’s Day (or any day really), I totally recommend giving these Red Velvet Roses a try.  All you need is a disposable piping bag and the Wilton #1 open star tip (both available in the baking aisle of your local Wal-Mart and every major craft store).

cropped 2

The Goods:


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 oz red food coloring
  • 1 tsp distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup prepared black coffee (brewed or instant)
  • Cream Cheese Frosting


  • Disposable frosting bags
  • Wilton #1 Open Star Tip

cropped 6

The Deets:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, combine the  flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the sugar and oil on medium speed until well combined, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Add the buttermilk, vanialla, and red food coloring.  Mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds.  The mixture will be very liquidy and very red.  Stir in the prepared coffee and white vinegar.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the liquid ones, mixing thoroughly after each addition to make make sure everything has been incorporated.

The batter will still be very liquidy, so I transfered mine (in 2 batches) to a large 2 cup measuring cup and poured it into each of the cupcake liners.  They will be filled about 3/4 of the way to make 24 cucakes.

Bake your cakes for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let them cool for a few minutes in the tins before transfering them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, you can let the frosting fun begin!  I think the rose flower frosting pattern is one of the easiest to acheive, but also so pretty and so festive!


1.  Snip the end off of a disposable piping bag and fit it with the open star tip.  Fill the bag with frosting, and twist the top to seal the bag, letting out as much air as possible before doing this.  I usually fastnen to top of my bag with a chip clip to avoid any oozing frosting.

2.  Hold the bag so it is almost perpendicular to the cake, and apply a little bit of pressure as you squeeze out the frosting in a very small clockwise circular motion in the center of the cupcake.

3.  Continuing holding the bag at the same angle and squeeze a counter clockwise circle around the one you’ve already made.  Try and squeeze the bag from the very top if possible to keep the frosting flowing without air pockets.

4.  Angle the bag a little more than you did before, and draw a final circle, this time in a clockwise motion, around the outside of the cupcake to create the final folds of the flower design.

The Inspirations:

I googled ‘best red velvet cake ever’ and this is what came up.  I have to agree.  Check out the original at Divas Can Cook.

cropped 5

The perfect way to say I Love You.   And  leftovers are the perfect way to say I Love Me.


Tall One


One thought on “Red Velvet Roses: Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s