Red Wine Velvet Mini Cupcakes

July 29, 2014

I've been on quite a bit of a backlog when it comes to writing, and editing photos, and pretty much everything else since our trip to Seattle. It seems like I'm still on vacation mode and I find it hard to do anything other than eat and sleep. But this post can't wait much longer. I've transformed my best red velvet cupcake recipe and made it a little boozy.

Remember the Baileys Chocolate Cupcakes? What I did to that chocolate cupcake recipe, I did to this red velvet recipe - I substituted the buttermilk with booze. In this case, I substituted the buttermilk with red wine.

The texture turned out drier than I expected. The richness of the buttermilk was replaced by the crisp red wine so it didn't really come as much of a surprise; thus, this recipe needs to be tweaked to bring back the moist texture even with the red wine. I also thought that the deep berry color of the wine will suffice to make the cupcakes red so I halved the amount of red food coloring called for in this recipe - boy was I wrong. These looked very much like chocolate cupcakes with the slightest hint of red. I know, next time I will follow instructions.

On a slightly different note, I don't like bright-red red velvet cupcakes - they just look "fake" and artificial, don't you think? What I do prefer is a deep chocolatey-red color so I know that there's a good amount of cocoa in there. You might ask, "Cocoa? Why?" So you might want to read this post from It hit me with an enlightened passion for red velvet cupcakes and the recipe that they have there is still the best recipe I have to date.

Pink cream cheese frosting is something you don't see everyday but I was feeling a little fancy and decided to try different piping tips on these mini cupcakes. And for the piping techniques to pop, a little color was needed. These turned out really pretty and quite professional looking and I look forward to trying out other "swirls" in the future. I'm also loving the mini cupcake size - so easy to just pop in your mouth, excellent for portion control, and more cupcakes for more design experiments.

It seems like I've been on a bit of a roll with cake decorating the past few days. I just made my first ever 4-layer cake last weekend and it turned out quite successfully. It will be up in a few days in a different post so stay tuned. Until then, let these pretty red velvet babies keep you occupied. :)

Red Wine Velvet Cupcakes Print Recipe
Recipe adapted from, makes 32 mini cupcakes
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp red gel food coloring
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp white vinegar
For the cream cheese frosting
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature (½ cup or 112 grams)
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
Instructions for the Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a mini cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Whisk cake flour, cocoa, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Place oil and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, and beat at medium speed until well-blended. Beat in egg.
  4. With mixer on low, add red food coloring very slowly. Add vanilla.
  5. Add flour mixture alternately with red wine in two batches. Scrape down bowl, and beat just long enough to combine the ingredients well.
  6. Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar, and add to batter with the mixer running. Beat for 10 seconds.
  7. Divide batter among the partitions in the cupcake pan, filling each about 2/3 full.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into each one. It should come out clean.
  9. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Instructions for the Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. By hand or with a mixer, cream the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla together until combined.
  2. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar to taste.

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