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All Natural Red Velvet Cupcakes Part 3

For the third version of an all natural red velvet cupcake I tried out a version of the “less cocoa” type. The flavor is much lighter, just a kiss of chocolate yet it tastes deeper than you might exist. In a traditional recipe the red dye would pop here, with flame red cupcakes. Well when using natural liquid food dyes it will tend to brown out inside, though you get a hint of red on the outside. The part 2 recipe had a much deeper color due to the larger amount of cocoa reacting chemically. Do you need the dye? Maybe, maybe not. It is up to you.

I used a butter cream frosting for the decoration on this version. You can get the frosting very stiff, perfect for piping with a mechanical pastry tube. Personally I prefer a butter cream to cream cheese frosting, for me it is the texture.

All Natural Red Velvet Cupcakes


  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tube (about 1½ Tbsp) natural red food dye (India Tree Natural)
  • ½ tsp white vinegar
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350° and line a 12 cup muffin pan with liners, doubling them up (the first layer absorbs any grease).

Sift the dry ingredients together into a mixing bowl and set aside. Beat the wet ingredients together in a stand mixer bowl. On low-speed, add in the dry ingredients slowly. Let mix, then turn up the speed to medium, till the batter is smooth.

Evenly divide between the cups (use a disher for best results). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean (mine took 23 minutes). Be careful to not over bake though. Let cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Once cooled frost and decorate as desired.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Butter Cream Frosting


  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 3½ cups powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract


In a stand mixer bowl add the butter. Beat until smooth. Add in the salt and vanilla, then slowly add the sugar in 1 cup measurements, beating each addition until fully incorporated and smooth. Add the milk in and then beat for 3 minutes on medium-high.

If you want a thinner frosting (not for piping) add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you like it.Be careful with refrigerating, the frosting will harden up. If you do let it sit out for an hour to soften before spreading.

Makes enough frosting for 12 cupcakes done with piping. If by hand, it will frost about 24.


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