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Red Velvet Marble Cupcakes

Red Velvet Marble Cupcakes
Marble cakes and cupcakes are usually made by swirling together vanilla and chocolate cake batters, but there is no reason that you can’t swirl together other flavors of cake to create different looks and add different flavors to a finished product. Red velvet cake batter is great for swirling into marble cakes because it lends such a vibrant color to the finished product, but it isn’t often seen in marble cakes.

Red velvet cake is usually a buttermilk cake with a hint of cocoa powder and some red food coloring. This recipe for marble cake starts out with a vanilla buttermilk cupcake batter, so I simply had to divide the batter and add a bit of cocoa powder and food coloring to a portion of it to transform it into red velvet. It is great when you don’t have to make two separate batters just to make a marble cake because it really streamlines the whole baking process. Gel food coloring is going to give you the very brightest red color, but regular food coloring works just as well (and that is what I used in this recipe). The amount doesn’t have to be exact, although I would err towards adding a few extra drops of coloring to ensure that you get that bright red color just to be on the safe side.

The finished cupcakes have a beautiful red and white swirled look to them, and you get the flavor of the buttery vanilla cake as well as the slightly chocolatey red velvet. The cupcakes are very moist and tender, too. I topped mine off with a vanilla cream cheese frosting, which is often paired with red velvet cakes (and is yummy, to boot!). These cupcakes are a wonderful treat for any occasion, but if you put them into some red or pink cupcake wrappers, they just might be the  perfect treat for your Valentine, as well.

Red Velvet Marble Cupcakes, innards

Red Velvet Marble 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
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp red food coloring

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 fluffy. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually incorporate one third of the flour mixture followed by half of the buttermilk. Add another third of the flour mixture, followed by the remaining buttermilk and the last of the flour. Mix just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Transfer 1 cup of batter to a small bowl. Whisk in 1 tbsp cocoa powder and 3/4 tsp red food coloring until smooth.
Divide white batter evenly into prepared muffin cups, then evenly divide the red batter on top of that, filling the cups about 3/4 full. Swirl each gently with a butter knife.
Bake for 18-20 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 Cream Cheese Frosting
8-oz cream cheese
8-oz jar marshmallow fluff
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Beat all ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth and fluffy. Spread on cooled cupcakes.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

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  • Nicole
    January 24, 2011

    I used Wilton Scalloped Baking Cups to bake these cupcakes. They’re a little taller than standard cupcake wrappers and they give a nice finished look. More info here: http://bakingbites.com/2010/07/wiltons-scalloped-baking-cups/

  • Kate Acosta
    January 24, 2011

    Thanks for the recipe. Near Valentine’s Day I’ll try it out on the kids. Not sure I’d make enough for their entire school class though as the kids probably wouldn’t appreciate them.

  • Astasia
    January 24, 2011

    Mmm. Those look delicious! What a great idea. 🙂

  • Esther x3baking
    January 24, 2011

    This is a great recipe for people who don’t like using too much food coloring. Thanks for sharing. Did you use a mini cheesecake pan to make the cupcakes straight edged/sided?

  • A Tablespoon of Liz
    January 24, 2011

    These are so pretty!

  • Belinda @zomppa
    January 24, 2011

    Oh, these are beautiful! I guess it’s almost Valentine’s Day!

  • Becca@Baking Monster
    January 24, 2011

    These are really cute!

  • Lauren at KeepItSweet
    January 26, 2011

    I love red velvet cake in general and I think I’d definitely love these.

  • Mariah
    January 30, 2011

    Looooove red velvet cake! Cant wait to try making these!

  • Ari
    February 2, 2011

    I’m assuming you used liquid food coloring in the recipe… How much gel coloring would you use, or would you recommend against it? I think all I have is gel right now.

  • Nicole
    February 3, 2011

    Ari – Gel food coloring is great. You might only need a 1/4 tsp or so of it to get a good color, but I always add a fairly generous (although small) amount of any food coloring because you want to ensure that you get a bright color in the finished product.

  • Tarini
    February 8, 2011

    My cream cheese frosting was too runny 🙁
    I ended up chucking it and just making the normal butter,sugar cheese one.

  • Shashi
    June 17, 2011


  • Margaret Jones
    February 22, 2012

    What a great idea. It a new twist on red velvelt.

  • Becky Mickel
    February 9, 2014

    Chef’s note: I followed the recipe exactly as above and am using a standard muffin pan, but the batter only yields 8 full cupcakes.


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