Red Velvet Cupcakes
Moist and velvety soft red velvet cupcakes topped with a sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting are amazingly delicious and surprisingly easy to make dairy and egg-free! No one will ever suspect that these are vegan cupcakes!
WHAT IS RED VELVET?
Red velvet is a vanilla-based cake with a touch of cocoa powder then colored with red food coloring to give it a red look. The hint of chocolate sets this cake flavor apart. Traditionally, the chemical reaction between cocoa powder, buttermilk, and vinegar causes a red tint. It is often enhanced with red food coloring to give it a deeper color. The sweet and slightly tangy cream cheese frosting pairs perfectly with these red velvet cupcakes.
HOW IS IT DAIRY AND EGG-FREE
Typical red velvet recipes contain buttermilk and eggs. For this recipe, I'm using almond milk and applesauce. But any dairy-free milk should work. Next, you will mix your vinegar with the almond milk, creating the buttermilk consistency. Applesauce is an excellent replacement for eggs in cakes and works perfectly for these cupcakes.
HOW TO MAKE THESE RED VELVET CUPCAKES
Start by mixing your vinegar in your almond milk and set it aside to create buttermilk consistency. Then whisk your all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. These cupcakes only contain three tablespoons of cocoa powder, but it's just enough to give you that hint of chocolate.
Then you'll start mixing your wet ingredients. With a mixer, beat the sugar and vegetable oil until combined. Next, add the applesauce and vanilla extract and mix until just blended. Then, you'll alternate mixing in your flour mixture and vegan buttermilk to the mixer. Start by adding one-third of your flour mixture, then add half the vegan buttermilk. Next, add another one-third of the flour mixture, the remaining vegan buttermilk, and the remaining flour. When alternating, always start and end with the flour mixture.
Just before it is all blended, add some red food coloring. You can add either the red food coloring or use one teaspoon of red velvet emulsion. Line your cupcake pan with liners and bake at 350 degrees F for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. This recipe makes about 18 cupcakes.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
If you've been dairy-free for a while, you know it's not easy to find dairy-free cream cheese. The only kind of dairy-free cream cheese I could find nearby is Kite Hill Dairy Free Plain Almond Milk Cream Cheese Style Spread. The problem here is that with a spread style of cream cheese, you can have a thinner consistency of frosting than desired. But, surprisingly, this kind worked PERFECTLY.
I prefer to use EarthBalance Vegan Butter Sticks for any dairy-free frosting or buttercream. I find this brand gives the best taste and texture overall.
Be sure to let your butter and cream cheese come to room temperature. If you don't, then you could be left with clumps, and that's no good! Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer. (I prefer to use my stand mixer and beat the paddle attachment). Scrape down the bowl and beat again for an additional minute. Scrape down the bowl again and sift in the powdered sugar. Once it starts to come together, add the vanilla extract. Continue to mix for about two minutes to ensure it is smooth and creamy. Do not add any additional liquids or dairy-free milk!! This will cause the frosting to be too soft and won't hold its shape when piping onto the cupcakes.
I used the Wilton 1M piping tip to create the frosting look in the pictures.