Blue Velvet Cupcakes

Blue Velvet cupcakes

Working with food coloring is different from working with an artist’s box of acrylics or watercolors. When trying to achieve a specific color, you must take into account natural colors that exist in the cake batter or cookie dough you are working with. Bright yellow egg yolks and even pale yellow butter can derail a specific color plan.

The color wheel tells us that yellow and blue make green, and that’s exactly what color cupcakes you’ll get by adding blue food coloring to this recipe. Another color must be added to counter (or color-correct) the yellow in the batter. Mixing complementary colors together decreases the intensity of both colors. The complementary color of yellow is purple, so a dab of purple food coloring will remedy this problem.

This batter can also yield a navy blue shade if a small amount of black food coloring is added to the finished batter.


Reprinted with permission from SprinkleBakes: Dessert Recipes to Inspire Your Inner Artist © 2012 by Heather Baird, Sterling Epicure, a trademark of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Heather Baird.

Blue Velvet Cupcakes
Makes: Makes 24 cupcakes
  • ½ pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • ½ to 1 tablespoon royal blue gel food coloring
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 small dab of black or violet gel food coloring (dip a toothpick in the container and use that much)
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened
  • ½ pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  1. Make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare cupcake pans with paper liners.
  2. In a mixing bowl with a handheld mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar; mix until fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder and blue food coloring together to form a paste. Add to the butter-sugar mixture and beat to combine.
  5. Combine the flour and salt. Add to the blue mixture alternately with the buttermilk in 3 batches, beginning and ending with the flour.
  6. Add the vanilla extract and mix.
  7. Combine the vinegar and baking soda in a small bowl. Add to the batter. The mixture will bubble and foam. Mix well.
  8. Dip a toothpick in the violet gel coloring, add it to the batter and mix again until a uniform color has developed.
  9. Pour the batter into the cupcake papers, filling each cup halfway. The batter will be very thick.
  10. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.
  11. Make the cream cheese frosting: In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth.
  12. Add the sugar and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.
  13. Reserve four baked cupcakes for embellishment purposes. Frost the remaining cupcakes with a butter knife, or pipe the frosting on with a large star tip.
  14. To embellish the cupcakes, slice the reserved uniced cupcakes vertically into ¼-inch-thick pieces.
  15. Working on a cutting board, press the slices flat with the palm of your hand until they become firm.
  16. Use a mini-cookie cutter to cut decorative shapes for embellishment.

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