Red velvet cupcakes are one of the most festive treats you can make around the holidays. It’s not because red velvet is a holiday flavor, but because the vibrant red cake topped with snowy white icing looks perfect for winter. And a red velvet cupcake can be even more seasonal if you give it a little boost of holiday flavor by turning plain cupcakes into Eggnog Red Velvet Cupcakes.
Traditional red velvet cake is made with buttermilk and has a slight hint of cocoa flavor to it, as well as a fairly generous amount of red food coloring. This Christmas rendition uses prepared eggnog in place of the buttermilk, includes freshly ground nutmeg and extra vanilla. They are soft and very moist, with a light, tender crumb. You can taste the faintest hint of cocoa, but the nutmeg and vanilla that really define eggnog are what stand out here.
Cream cheese frosting is usually used to top red velvet cakes and that is no exception here. This cream cheese frosting is flavored with nutmeg and vanilla, tying it in with the flavors in cupcake. The frosting can be spread on top of the cupcakes or piped on using a piping bag if you want to create some decorative swirls.
I actually don’t recommend spiking these cupcakes with rum or rum extract because it hides some of the red velvet and eggnog nuances of the cake. If you want to incorporate a little rum, add a tablespoon or so into the frosting in place of one tablespoon of the milk, that way you get a kick without compromising the eggnog flavor of the cupcakes.
These are always a big hit when they’re put out – and an even bigger one when people take their first bites. Whether you’re serving kids or adults, these are definitely a treat to put on the “must make” list for your next holiday party.
Eggnog Red Velvet Cupcakes
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (use extra if using preground)
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp red food coloring (or small amount gel food coloring)
1 cup eggnog
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and sandy. Beat in the egg, the vanilla extract and the freshly grated nutmeg. Sift in the cocoa powder, add in red food coloring and stir everything until well combined.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually incorporate one third of the flour mixture followed by half of the eggnog. Add another third of the flour mixture, followed by the remaining eggnog and the last of the flour. Mix just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Turn cupcakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Vanilla and Nutmeg Cream Cheese Frosting
8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (use extra if using preground)
2-3 tbsp milk
3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
In a large bowl, beat all ingredients except the confectioners’ sugar. Gradually blend in the sugar until the icing is smooth and creamy. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
Makes 12 cupcakes.