Blue Velvet Cupcakes and Finding the Perfect Hue

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.

Check out this gorgeous version by One Particular Kitchen [link]. So lovely.  ALSO this version from Tiffany who writes Eat at Home.  Nice!

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

Heather Baird
Blue velvet is a new take on red velvet, and has all the buttermilk tang and cream cheese frosting goodness as its predecessor.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24

Ingredients
 
 

Cakes

  • 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
  • cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

Frosting:

  • 1 pound cream cheese softened
  • 2 sticks butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cupcake pan(s) with paper liners.

Cake:

  • 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.

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.
Keyword blue food color, buttermilk, cream cheese frosting
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Follow:
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
143 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
April
April
11 years ago

Very cute!!! I would have loved to have had one with my coffee this morning!

Jillian
Jillian
11 years ago

Those are so pretty. I think I like them better than the Red Velvet. πŸ™‚

Heart of a Country Home
Heart of a Country Home
11 years ago

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I didn't realize you're a TN girl. I'm adding you to my TN Blogroll. Hope that's okay. πŸ™‚

The Blonde Duck
The Blonde Duck
11 years ago

I LOVE these! They're so pretty!!!! I need to have a star party now…

Unknown
Unknown
11 years ago

Oh my, what great photos! Never heard of blue velvet, love it.

Unknown
Unknown
11 years ago

Absolutely stunning photos. I'm going to have to give these a try sometime.

πŸ™‚
ButterYum
PS – I didn't look at your recipe, but a cake batter that contains egg yolks will tint your blue cake on the greenish side. Use a white cake base, one containing only egg whites, for the purest color.

Sue
Sue
11 years ago

Gorgeous photos, gorgeous BLUE! I love these! I'm finally working on making red velvet cupcakes for the first time, and now they don't seem quite so exciting:)

Mara Campbell
Mara Campbell
11 years ago

I am swooning over your blue color! It's perfect!!! You take such amazing photographs, too. The cupcake and the photos are really a feast for the eyes. Great job!

Susan
Susan
11 years ago

Beautiful photograph…who knew blue food could look so appealing? I have two boys who will love it when I try these. Thank you.

Sunday
Sunday
11 years ago

Just lovely! They almost look too pretty to eat, and you have got the perfect shade, it can be hard to make things with food colouring look like they should be ingested. But these are just stunning.

Kiko
Kiko
11 years ago

Although, it is blue, still looks yummy for me!!!!!

Catherine
Catherine
11 years ago

These look stunning! It would be perfect to make a giant blue cupcake for a boy's birthday! Thanks for sharing the recipe πŸ™‚

cookies and cups
cookies and cups
11 years ago

Gorgeous! I have never seen a blue velvet cake…and great tip with the violet!

Lot-O-Choc
Lot-O-Choc
11 years ago

Aw wow these are beautiful! Such nice cakes!

RubyMarilyn
RubyMarilyn
11 years ago

I just found your blog and I love it! I have to make these pretty blue cupcakes!!!

Stephanie
Stephanie
11 years ago

I saw your blue velvet cupcakes via Serious Eats =) VERY pretty – I can't wait to try making them!!

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

This looks so beautiful! What size piping tips did you use for your frosting? I noticed you used a star tip as well as a round tip.

Amanda
Amanda
11 years ago

I think these are fantastic!! And would love to make them for July 4th!! Great job girl!

a fan of anything chocolate
a fan of anything chocolate
11 years ago

Very ingenious – pressing the cupcake slices to make the stars! Enjoying reading your blog…

a fan of anything chocolate
http://robertapm28.blogspot.com/

Diane Schmidt
Diane Schmidt
11 years ago

great color!
I found your site through cookies and cups and I'm so happy she linked to you as I am loving all your wonderful treats and I'm following and look forward to seeing what you'll blog next.

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
11 years ago

Thanks for all the kind words!

In response to Elsa H.(hello!) For the lead picture I used a plain 1/2" round decorating tip, specifically, Wilton's 2A. The other tip I used was the large, closed star from Wilton, 2D. These both require the large coupler, but I just stick them down into a disposable piping bag and cut the tip off. Works just as well without the coupler.
Thanks for your question!

diva
diva
11 years ago

I love red velvet. It's my fav cake to eat! And I have no qualms about food colouring so always wondered if this velvet fantasy could expand into something else. Glad you tried it in blue! πŸ™‚ I so love this.

ThatsSoYummy
ThatsSoYummy
11 years ago

Love them, they are just perfect and the shade of blue is georgeous!

Thanks for sharing!

-Natasha

allison
allison
11 years ago

where did you find liquid blue food coloring in 1oz bottles?..i checked at my kroger and they only had red, yellow, and green..i bought some royal blue wilton gel food coloring today but i'm unsure if this is an acceptable substitute for the liquid..please help!..i want to make this cake for my friend's birthday on sunday because she is a huge kentucky wildcat fan..nothing better than a blue cake for a uk fan! πŸ™‚

Erin @ OneParticular Kitchen
Erin @ OneParticular Kitchen
11 years ago

I'm curious about the coloring too! I want to make these but I have no violet. Would just a drop of red in all the blue have the same effect you think?

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
11 years ago

Hi Allison! If you have the Wilton royal blue gel, then I see no reason for you to buy anything else. You already have the good stuff, and will have to use less of it! You should start with about 1 tbsp. of the royal blue food coloring and just a dab of the violet gel. After making your cocoa/food coloring paste drag your spoon (or spatula) across the bowl to check the color. It should look like a dark, dirty navy blue and have no hint of green. If the color looks mostly brown (due to the cocoa) then… Read more »

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
11 years ago

I forgot to say that I buy my food coloring in bulk. Luckily, we have a nice specialty cake supply shop in town.

Ingrid_3Bs
Ingrid_3Bs
11 years ago

Your cupcakes look fabulous!

You're just so creative and fun! I bet your a blast to be around, both in and out of the kitchen! Thanks for taking the time to share and inspire!
~ingrid

allison
allison
11 years ago

update — i made the cake this weekend and it was a huge success!..i ended up using a heaping teaspoon of royal blue gel food coloring dissolved in 6 tablespoons of water after seeing this substitute made in a red velvet cake on smittenkitchen..i also put in a dab of violet gel and the coloring was perfect!..i made a double layer cake and used the extra batter to make cupcakes for star-shaped cutouts that i decorated the side of the cake with..i made an italian meringue buttercream to frost the cake and it was super tasty!..thanks for posting the recipe,… Read more »

AnickH
AnickH
11 years ago

BLUE velvet? thats a 1st. i'm excited to try this

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
11 years ago

Allison,
Thank you so much for letting us know how your cake turned out! Your frosting sounds delish, and I'm so glad the coloring turned out great! Thank you for sharing the gel/dissolving technique. That's a great little tip since a lot of people already have (or gravitate towards) the gel food coloring.

The way you describe the finished cake sounds so beautiful! I can almost see it in my head. πŸ™‚
Thanks again!
-heather

Heidi D
Heidi D
11 years ago

Love love love the blue. I'm like you with color. My girls always like to discuss color and rank their favorites. When they ask mom though, they get the same response, all of them.

I have to say though, when I was little, it was pink all the way.

Judy
Judy
11 years ago

these cupcakes are so beautiful! what a gorgeous color!

Tiffany @ Eat at Home
Tiffany @ Eat at Home
11 years ago

I do believe I'll have to make these for March Madness. UK Wildcat fans here!

Tiffany @ Eat at Home
Tiffany @ Eat at Home
11 years ago

I posted these on my blog today with a link to your site. Thanks for the great recipe! I made one little change and that was to add a tiny bit of water to the paste of cocoa powder and food coloring gel. I'm so glad you gave instructions for the gel, because I couldn't find the liquid in blue for some reason.

Unknown
Unknown
10 years ago

we loved your blue velvet cupcakes!! they were soooo AMAZING!! is there any other recipes you would like to share?

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

I'm obsessed with red velvet cake so this is an awesome recipe! Thank you so much! These were delicious and so cute! A great spinoff of a delicious recipe.

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

perfect for my little mermaid's party – thanks

heidi
heidi
10 years ago

just ran out and could only find Wilton's gel food color in a package that has 4, yellow, pink, blue and green. So, the blue isn't technically "Royal Blue"… Why oh why does it look so green when i mix it with the cocoa? Is that normal?
Even when i used regular liquid food coloring, it looked green.. i'm afraid to add this to my batter. πŸ™

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
10 years ago

…If your batter is looking green then I would add the blue gel, maybe 1 tsp. to start with- along with the dab of violet gel. The violet food coloring gel is key! If it still looks green, add another dab or two of violet.

Oh, I hope they turn out! Wish I was there to help!

heidi ANNOYED
heidi ANNOYED
10 years ago

The only way to achieve this color is if you DO NOT mix with cocoa… this recipe doesn't make sense to me, unless i'm missing something?
I can mix the perfect denim color (mixing blue with some red) but once you add the BROWN cocoa, the color turns green. Am i missing something??

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
10 years ago

Deep breaths! I know, It's frustrating when things go wonky in the kitchen. I'm sorry that's happening to you right now. Your cocoa mixture should be a dirty navy blue color. I'm not sure why your mixture would turn green! The dab of Wilton violet gel food coloring corrects the yellow hues in the batter (yellow+blue=green) – so having that is key. I would add the cocoa mixture to your batter and see what color you've got, and then color correct the entire batter from there. If it is too green use the blue gel and certainly use the dabs… Read more »

heidi
heidi
10 years ago

heheh so sorry i was flipping out. i'm (obviously) a novice, so this just took WAY longer than i expected (i was making vanilla caramel cupcakes too). I misread the recipe and thought you said .3oz of coloring, but really you meant 3oz. so i had to run back to the store after i had already started baking. Target was the only place that sold any food coloring (even the supermarket didn't!!) and they didn't have the royal blue gel. But i have no idea why the paste came out dark green. I ended up adding red to make it… Read more »

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
10 years ago

Hey Heidi, You don't have to apologize to me. I've totally been there! I had a mini-meltdown when I tried Vegan Yum-Yum's petit fours fondant recipe and to this day I've never gotten it right. I'm doing something wrong… but I'm not sure what! They are so beautiful and one day I'll get it. (Maybe?) Thanks for letting me know how things turned out! I was thinking about you and hoping things went well. This recipe is altered from Paula Deen's on the food network site. If you look at the pic with her recipe it's totally blue-green! You could… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

I am totally inspired by use of color here! I have been toying with the idea of making some things off-color, and I can't tell you how many times I have had the gel paste in my hand at the kitchen supply store… next time… I am going for it!!!

Libby
Libby
10 years ago

Thanks for sharing the addition of violet! (I once tried making a layered rainbow cake of different velvets, and my blue turned out teal.)

I've also made a "Shrek green" velvet cupcake here:

http://allergickid.blogspot.com/2008/04/shrek-cupcakes.html

Tenns Reid
Tenns Reid
10 years ago

Too cute!

nycstylelittlecannoli
nycstylelittlecannoli
10 years ago

looks gorgeous..wonderful blog..looking forward to new posts!!

Suzanne :-)
Suzanne :-)
10 years ago

I used this recipe for a birthday party, and everyone loved it! I made it with vanilla buttercream icing and peanut butter marshmallow creme filling. It was absolutely scrumptious, and everyone just loved the Cookie Monster blue color of it πŸ˜€

http://cabralcreations.blogspot.com/2010/08/im-blue-da-ba-dee.html

Marie
Marie
10 years ago

that is a great color…im actually searching on how to get a baby blue color because im gonna use it for my friends baby shower.