I will be the first one to admit I’m not a huge fan of red velvet. I mean… what is that flavor? Just a hint of chocolate, lots of buttermilk, vinegar of all things, and red food coloring. They’re just so RED. But I found an enticing recipe for Southern Comfort Red Velvet cupcakes and I thought that was a cupcake I could get behind. I know what you’re all thinking, SoCo?! Yuuuuuumm. Right? No? My entire family makes so much fun of me for drinking it but as a college kid what more could you want? It’s the best possible mix in for an Arnold Palmer on game day if you can’t foot the bill for a bottle of Maker’s Mark.
Anyway, I got off topic. We’re not here to debate the merits of SoCo but to talk about cupcakes! It was my birthday a few weeks ago and I wanted to take some cupcakes to a little gathering a friend of mine was throwing. So when I stumbled upon the aforementioned recipe I decided to give them a try and see how spiked red velvet was received.
I should also take this time to mention that I do not really like cream cheese frosting either. So I decided to forgo the classic red velvet topper and settled on cinnamon whiskey buttercream instead. Best decision ever, I must say. You can never go wrong with a simple buttercream. And with some whiskey and cinnamon? Yeeeeess please. I added some red hots for garnish because they just seemed to fit the theme and they worked perfectly. I shocked myself with how much I enjoyed red velvet of all things. Just goes to show what a little whiskey can do!
Adapted from Martha Stewart; makes 24
- 2 1/2 c. gluten-free AP flour
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp. red gel-paste food color
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3/4 c. buttermilk
- 1/4 c. Southern Comfort (or whiskey/bourbon of your choice….)
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. distilled white vinegar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tines. Whisk together and sift flour, cocoa, and salt.
- Mix together sugar and oil until combined in large stand mixer. Add eggs one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Mix in food color and vanilla. (I didn’t have gel so I dumped in about a half of a small bottle of liquid dye.
- On low speed, blend in flour mixture in three batches. Alternate with two additions of your buttermilk/SoCo mixture, and mix well after each.
- Mix baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it sizzles!) and then add to the batter, mixing it in until just combined. So weird, I know, but supposedly this addition is what really brings out the “red” of the cocoa.
- Fill lined cupcake tins about three quarters full and bake for about 18-20, rotating halfway through for evenness. Let cool completely, frost and keep in airtight container for up to a week (yes, they’re that moist. They live foreeever in the cupcake world if you can keep yourself from eating them all.)
Beat 2 softened sticks of butter until fluffy. Add confectioners sugar (about 3-4 cups, when all is said and done), a dash of milk (yes, that is a technical term), whiskey and cinnamon to taste and blend all ingredients together. Vanilla is optional, but highly recommended if you use the same Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract I do! Frost cupcakes, add red hots and enjoy your super duper Southern cupcakes!!