One sweet and eye-pleasing treat that has been on my baking radar is Blue Velvet cake. I’ve been seeing beautiful versions online, and I recently spotted Blue Velvet cupcakes at my favorite local bakery. I love the idea of a striking blue cake, but many recipes yield a misleading result. Some cakes are teal, or more turquoise than blue. Upon viewing my first completed batch, I thought “green around the gills” -which is an idiom I use when someone looks ill. I was seeing sickly greenish-blue cupcakes. I had followed the recipe’s exact specifications…and although it was blue-ish, it was not the blue that I had expected.
The problem lies in the food coloring of course, but it is easily remedied. With a little modification, I found a shade that was very pleasing, and a little more appetizing.
My “Blue-Jeans blue” coloring recipe 1 tablespoon of Wilton’s royal blue food coloring gel and the secret ingredient…
…just a dab…a dot, dash or smidgen, of violet gel food coloring. I could not be more pleased with the color! At first I felt a little apprehensive about the amount of food coloring that goes into the batter. Upon application, it was less weird than I expected. I think it has something to do with the paste you make with the food coloring and cocoa before adding it to the batter. The cocoa powder soaks up the colorant, and you are left with a dark navy bluish paste. This gets added to the initial butter/sugar mixture, and the color of your batter will lighten when the flour is added later.
As I was researching recipes, I found that Blue Velvet cake contains ingredients nearly identical to the Red Velvet cake recipe. You make a food coloring and cocoa paste in the same way you make a Red Velvet cake, and the batter has the same great buttermilk tang -or twang. We banjo-pickin’ southerners sometimes like to say that.
Ok, so we don’t all pick banjos and say twang. Just some of us.
I had no matching sprinkles for my cupcakes on hand, and we’ve been snowed in! Iced in, even. So there were no quick trips to the grocery store to be had. I made my own, and I’m so glad I did. They turned out pretty cute!
I sacrificed a baked cupcake to make my star embellishments. The cake is really moist, and a little dense. If you slice the cupcake horizontally and press the pieces flat, they become firm, and you can cut them with a mini cookie cutter!
I made some little circle cut-outs too (as pictured in the yellow photo). I just used the large end of a piping tip as a cutter.
I really loved the texture of this cake. As I mentioned earlier, it is moist and slightly dense. It’s what you would expect from a Red Velvet cake -gone blue! The frosting is not original to the recipe. It is just a basic cream cheese frosting. You may have a favorite you’d like to use in place of the one provided on the recipe card. It seems like everyone I know has a different version of cream cheese frosting!
As you can probably tell from my previous post, I am a very color inspired person. Just ask me about my favorite color and I’ll always respond “all of them!” I was absolutely inspired at the idea of Blue Velvet versus Red Velvet. I’ve even seen a (true) Green Velvet version online too, which would be adorable for St. Paddy’s Day.
On a side note, I’ve really enjoyed checking out all the people newly added to SB. I’m a serial blog reader and commenter, and can’t wait to get a chance to read about everyone more in-depth. Creative people make my world go ’round, and you are ALL so very inspiring!
Blue Velvet Cupcakes
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ pound 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon Wilton royal blue gel food coloring
- 1 small dab of Wilton violet gel food coloring
- 2½ cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 pound cream cheese softened
- 2 sticks butter softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cupcake pan(s) with paper liners.
- In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter, mix until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time and mix well after each addition. Mix cocoa and food colorings together to form a paste, and then add to sugar mixture; mix well. Sift together flour and salt. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Blend in vanilla. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar and add to mixture.
- Pour batter into cupcake papers. Batter will be thick! Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy. Frost the cupcakes with a butter knife or pipe it on with a big star tip. Embellish as desired.