Red Devil Velvet Cupcakes

20 Oct 2018

If you've been visiting this blog for a while, you'll know that I am not the biggest fan of red velvet. I can't quite put my finger on why... it might have something to do with the massive hype surrounding it and me not wanting to follow the trend, or it might be that I can't make it for toffee. No matter what I do, I can never seem to get the crumb to be the right texture or add the right amount of red food gel to get that vivid colour that the cake is known for. I also couldn't seem to get cream cheese frosting right and it ended up being way too runny. Well, ladies and gents, I tackled that in my latest Halloween bake, and I think I've produced the best red velvet cupcakes that I think I've ever made with cream cheese frosting that I've actually been able to pipe. Say hello to my Red Devil Velvet Cupcakes.

You guys knew that I couldn't do Halloween without including a cupcake recipe! They are my favourite things to bake, after all, and I was wracking my brain for so long trying to think of something to do. I scoured Google and Pinterest for inspiration when the idea of red velvet struck me. That doesn't normally happen because I know that I'm so rubbish at making it, but I just felt so compelled to use the popular cake recipe and turn it into something a bit spooky. So then I started to think about all red Halloween-esque things, and it was the devil that stood out to me straight away. I think I was also feeling the dark angel because I've been watching the new season of American Horror Story (anyone else? It's really great so far), so I set about making a plan on how I was going to summon him through baking - not literally, of course.
Arguably, the most prominent features of the devil are his horns and tail. There's also his trident, maybe wings and goat like features, but the two most simple things to replicate are definitely the horns and tail. I'd seen a few Halloween posts on Pinterest that featured devil horns, but most of them were 2D, whereas I wanted to have a 3D effect. I wanted to make cream cheese frosting that I could pipe instead of spooning on top of my cupcakes with horns and a tail sticking out. I toyed with the idea of chocolate, but then it hit me... candy melts! You can get candy melts in a range of colours online or in craft and hobby shops, so of course, I picked up a packet of red melts to bring my devil features to life.

The recipe I'm sharing comes from the Hummingbird Bakery and I've tweaked it ever so slightly, but if you'd like to see the original, then you can click here! Of course, I had to pair the cakes up with cream cheese frosting. It's an unwritten rule that all red velvet cakes must feature cream cheese frosting, otherwise the product is not complete. Like I said in the intro, I'm usually rubbish at cream cheese frosting because it gets too runny and I end up having to spoon it on to my cakes instead of piping it on. Well, I've sussed it out. After a lot of trial and error, I've decided you need slightly more butter than cream cheese, and more icing sugar than both of them. That results in a super creamy but slightly stiff cream cheese frosting that is ideal for piping.

For the cupcakes, you will need:
60g unsalted butter, softened
150g caster sugar
1 egg
20g cocoa powder
Half teaspoon red food gel colouring
Half teaspoon vanilla extract
120ml buttermilk
150g plain flour
Half teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1.5 teaspoons white wine vinegar

For the decoration, you will need:
150g unsalted butter, softened
100g cream cheese
300-400g icing sugar
Half teaspoon vanilla extract
Semi-skimmed milk (optional)
Red candy melts

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3 and line a cupcake tin with 9 cases.
  2. Put the butter and the sugar in a large bowl and beat on medium speed with a hand mixer (or whisk) until light, fluffy and well mixed. Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food gel and vanilla extract to make a very thick, dark paste. I recommend using a food gel rather than colouring as gel is much more vivid and won't fade in the heat of the oven. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured. Scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix in.
  4. Turn the mixer down to slow speed and slowly pour in half of the buttermilk. Beat until well mixed, then add half the flour and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added. Scrape down the side of the bowl again. Turn the mixer up to a high speed and beat until you have a smooth, even mixture.
  5. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Beat until well mixed, then turn up the speed again and beat for a couple more minutes.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  7. Meanwhile, make the frosting by beating the remaining 150g of unsalted butter and the cream cheese together using a hand mixer on a medium-slow speed until the mixture becomes smooth. Add the icing sugar in 100g increments and the vanilla extract until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Do not overbeat, otherwise it can quickly become runny. If you find that your mixture is too thick, add a splash of milk.
  8. Once your cupcakes have completely cooled, pipe your buttercream on top using your favourite nozzle. Set the cakes to one side.
  9. Use a black marker to draw out your devil horns and tails on to a piece of greaseproof paper. Turn this over so that the ink side is facing down, and set to one side.
  10. Melt your red candy melts in a bowl in the microwave, making sure to stir every 10 seconds. Candy melts can seize or burn quite quickly, so do not leave them in the microwave unattended. Once completely melted and smooth, pour into a piping bag with a tiny circle nozzle inserted, or simply snip the end with a pair of scissors.
  11. Pipe your melted candy melts over the horns and tails that you drew, then pop the sheet into the fridge to set for a couple of minutes, then carefully remove them from the sheet, and add two horns and one tail to each cake.
While there is a little bit of work involved with making these, you can't deny that the finished thing doesn't look really effective. If they weren't red and devilish enough for you, you could even add red sprinkles on top or a drizzle of any leftover candy melts! Either way, these cakes are super fluffy inside, yet hold their shape perfectly when the cases are peeled away. They have a hint of cocoa and just a slight tang, like all good red velvet should.

Whould you like to comment?

  1. These look incredible omggg, I need to try this recipe!!

    1. Ooooh I hope you gave them a go! Even if you don't do the devil bit, you HAVE to try the red velvet out x

  2. Aww seems like you had a fab Halloween baking all these treats! I like that you include tips and tricks to these posts and how you got on with the bake. Lovely to see your Halloween series, great work! :-) xx

    Helen | Helen’s Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog