Red Velvet Cupcakes

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Rich and Creamy Cupcakes Made with Love

Story and Photos by Juan Casas

Velvety perfection is the first thing that comes to mind after taking a bite out of one of Mercedes Kelso’s red velvet cupcakes.

A sophomore English major at St. Mary’s University, Kelso plans on becoming a high school English teacher.

“I’m probably going to be the kind of teacher that brings her students all kinds of baked goodies,” says Kelso.

Growing up in Boise, Idaho, Kelso enjoyed spending time baking with her family. Though being away from them has been tough, she says St. Mary’s has welcomed her warmly.

“I like St. Mary’s because it has a positive and welcoming community and the student body is very accepting.”

Kelso’s favorite food to eat is Indian, “I like the unique spices and flavor,” she explains. Nevertheless, her favorite kind of cooking is actually baking, though she also enjoys making homemade pizzas, “like the crust and everything,” Kelso says.

Kelso’s enthusiasm demonstrates that baking has a place in her heart. Though meticulous about how she bakes, she also does so with such a level of confidence that she has no use for measuring cups. “This recipe is one of my favorites,” she says. “My sister and I spent lots of quality time together baking red velvet cupcakes growing up.”

Despite her diligence, Kelso also puts much passion into her baking. According to her, it is the only way to do it, “Though it may sound cheesy – no pun intended – the best way to bake these cupcakes is with tons of love and lots of patience.”


Cupcake ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting ingredients:

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



1. First and for most make sure you preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Line 2 cupcake pans with cupcake papers.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.

4. In a separate bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer.

5. Take the ingredients from both bowls and mix until smooth and completely combined.

6. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins.

7. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes.

8. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick to make sure the are fully baked.

9. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.


For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth.

2. Add the sugar and beat on a low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until super light and fluffy.