I have to admit that I’ve never quite gotten the appeal of adding a full bottle of red food coloring to a cake batter in order to make it ‘red velvety’.
It looks pretty enough, but all that artificial dye just seems – well – icky.
The original cake – the one that modern red velvet cakes are trying to recapture – had a moist velvety texture due in part to the use of buttermilk, baking soda and vinegar in the batter.
The addition of a small amount of natural cocoa imparted a reddish tint to the cake because of a chemical reaction between the acidic vinegar and buttermilk. This reaction does not occur with the popular Dutch-processed cocoa, which has been treated to make the natural cocoa less alkaline.
(You can read more about the differences between the two types of cocoa in this earlier post.)
If you like the idea of red velvet cupcakes, but are not comfortable with using so much artificial dye in your baking, then these New Velvet Cupcakes might be just what you are looking for.
They get their color from a good dose of raspberry puree which – unlike dye – provides both flavor and visual appeal.
Instead of buttermilk, these cupcakes use sour cream for added moistness.
A mere 2 tablespoons of cocoa is added. You may want to use Dutch-processed cocoa here as it will provide a slightly deeper hint of chocolate, but either type will be fine.
You can increase the cocoa by up to 2 tablespoons if you prefer a more chocolatey cupcake.
- 2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cocoa
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup raspberry puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prepare cupcake tins with paper liners - 24 regular or 72 mini cupcakes.
- In large bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda.
- In separate bowl, beat together oil and sugar with electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs one at at time and beat well after each addition.
- Mix in raspberry puree, sour cream, vanilla and vinegar and beat until thoroughly blended.
- Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients fold until flour is mixed in evenly.
- Spoon into prepared pans.
- Bake 20-25 minutes for regular cupcakes and 10 - 15 minutes for mini cupcakes (mini cupcakes dry out quickly, so use the shortest time possible to keep them moist).
- Cool and frost.