Can I Make Purple Velvet Cupcakes?

Can I make purple velvet cupcakes? Or do I have to stick to red?

Yes, it is possible to make purple velvet cupcakes. All you need is some good food coloring! Keep in mind that since there is cocoa powder in the recipe, they will turn out a darker purple.

For this post, I made miniature purple velvet cupcakes. They are scrumptiously bite sized for easy consumption -- and they are adorable plated on a platter to pass around.

It's quite obvious by the name that red is the traditional color for these tasty treats. But, they may not have always looked so vibrant before food coloring. Without the added food coloring, the cake takes on a reddish-brown hue. For that reason, adding the red color to enhance the dull reddish appearance makes sense.

The fun fact of the red velvet cake is the explanation of how it gets its red hue. The acidic ingredients of vinegar and buttermilk react with the cocoa powder, giving you the reddish tinge of color. Not only that, but the two acids also create an offset (albeit good!) flavor that makes this cake unique.

But remember, I said reddish. Not red. For a long time, folks have been enhancing their batter to get that pop of red. At one time, red beet juice was substituted for the dye when there were food rations during World War II. Goes to show that the signature red color was and is still important.

Besides the vibrant red color, vinegar is an essential ingredient for this cake. Not only does it make the cake stand apart from others, but without it, the basic recipe would be more similar to chocolate cake.

I'm personally happy that this cake made its way into our homes and bakeries. Can you imagine not having red velvet as an option?

And now, perhaps you'll be seeing more colorful options of red velvet. Starting with purple!

When you do the recipe, substitute purple food coloring for the red -- that's pretty much all there is to it.

I found purple gel food coloring at Hobby Lobby, and of course ABC Cake Decorating Supplies carries it as well. If you use gel food coloring, use half the amount it asks for. The gel is more concentrated and will go further than liquid. Or, simply mix 1/2 oz each of blue and red liquid food colorings to get the same result.

The following two recipes I've provided are mine that I have made to fit my tastes. Purple/Red Velvet Cupcakes

2 ½ cups all purpose flour 1 ½ cups sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 1 ½ cups vegetable oil 1 cup buttermilk 1 oz. purple or red food coloring 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon white vinegar

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine the oil, buttermilk, food coloring, eggs, vanilla and vinegar. Mix the wet ingredients together with a paddle attachment and slowly incorporate the dry ingredients until it is thoroughly mixed. Pour into cupcake molds or greased cake pans. Bake at 350°F, for about 10-14 minutes for mini-cupcakes, 5-10 minutes longer for larger cupcakes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Yield=72 mini-cupcakes; 36 regular cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 lb softened cream cheese 4 oz room temperature unsalted butter 4 cups sifted powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla

In a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and butter, for about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Scrape the bottom of the bowl and mix again. Using a pastry bag, top the cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting.

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Amy Morris