Category Archives: Red Velvet

Red Velvet Blondies

Red Velvet Blondies​

When someone asks my favorite holiday, I usually say something expected like Christmas or Thanksgiving, but honestly? It’s Oscar Night. It’s always been Oscar Night. Lucky for me, it’s this weekend.

Half of you are probably clicking away or rolling your eyes (or both), but hear me out. People like what they like, and no matter how ABC or the Academy try to screw them up, I like the Oscars. I like the dresses, the pageantry, and the movies, and I especially like that I can’t remember ever missing a ceremony.

Red Velvet Blondies​

One of my absolute best friends and I are bonded over our love of Oscar, spending the entire calendar year discussing how things may or may not go, and then watching every film in every category before the big night (at the time of publishing, I have exactly three left). Technology has many drawbacks, but one of the great things it’s done for us is connecting with a whole community of people who are just as into awards season as we are—it’s the best.

While with other holidays there are prescribed ways to celebrate, Oscar Night is more of a “choose your own adventure” sort of occasion. You have to watch the show, of course, but any other traditions are completely up to you. Some have parties, some order Chinese food, some have no rituals and allow chaos to reign supreme. I stay home all day if possible, watch all the red carpet coverage, finalize my predictions, and make a Pesto-Mozzarella Grilled Cheese. Oh, and there has to be a red velvet dessert—red like the red carpet, obviously.

Red Velvet Blondies​

Last year’s offering was a Vegan, Gluten-Free Red Velvet Sheet Cake, but I’ve also done the traditional layer cake, a cookie cake, thumbprints, sandwich cookies, and cut-out cookies shaped like Oscars. This year, I’m going very simple—I’m taking an old recipe out of my archives and simplifying it just a tiny bit. Yep, you’ve seen these Red Velvet Blondies before, but they were covered in cheesecake! Today they’re just by their lonesome (+ white chocolate chips), but no less delicious. The first time I made these was for my 27th birthday picnic, and I’m turning 37 this year, so you know this recipe is tried and true!

Red Velvet Blondies​

Red Velvet Blondies come together in under an hour and don’t require a mixer. They absolutely hit all the red velvet marks, too. Aside from being a vibrant red, these bars are perfectly chewy, have the vanilla-chocolate flavor we know and love, and are stuffed to the gills with white chocolate chips! And yeah, I know Red Velvet Blondies with white chocolate chips don’t hit quite the same notes as Red Velvet Cake with cream cheese frosting, but they’re also less than half the work of a layer cake. As far as I’m concerned , that’s always a hit.

Red Velvet Blondies​
Red Velvet Blondies
makes one 8- or 9-inch pan, about 16 blondies

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons liquid red food coloring (or 1/4-1/2 teaspoon gel)
1 1/4 cup white chocolate chips + more for decorating

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 8- or 9-inch square pan. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on two sides for removal. Grease again. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and sugar. Whisk in egg and yolk, followed by white vinegar, vanilla, and food coloring. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir in flour mixture. Fold in white chocolate chips.

Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs (no wet batter). If desired, dot the top with more white chocolate chips while bars are still warm.

Allow bars to cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Use parchment overhang to lift the bars onto a cutting board. Discard parchment. Use a large, sharp chef's knife to slice them into bars. Serve.

Red Velvet Blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.

Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I posted my Oscar Night Pesto Mozzarella Grilled Cheese on Wednesday, but that’s only one part of my tradition. The other? Red velvet. Cake, cookies, cookie cake, cheesecake bars, you name it. It just has to be red, like the red carpet.

This year’s Oscar weekend offering? A vegan, gluten-free Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Yep, you read that right. This vibrant red velvet cake with swoopy cream cheese frosting is as delicious as any traditional version I’ve had, but completely devoid of animal products and flour, so you can share with all your vegan, gluten-free friends. You know I love an inclusive bake. Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}The cake itself is another spin on my go-to vegan, gluten-free cake base. It’s made primarily of almond flour and potato starch, but also contains classic red velvet ingredients like cocoa powder, vanilla and red food coloring. The batter comes together without a mixer and bakes like a dream, producing a thin sheet of cake, perfect for slicing and sharing.Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}But I’m getting ahead of myself! Let’s talk frosting—you simply can’t have red velvet cake without cream cheese frosting. I’m pretty sure it’s the law, even if the cake is vegan. Here, the cream cheese in the frosting is the dairy-free stuff that comes in a tub. You’ll notice that this recipe uses a tiny amount of cream cheese compared to dairy versions, but I promise you that the signature tang is there in those swoops. I don’t mess around with cream cheese frosting, y’all.

A quick word on temperature and storage. While 90% of the cakes I make do well at room temperature, this one does not. Thanks to its water content, vegan cream cheese is softer in texture than its dairy counterpart, so if this frosting gets too warm it will begin to droop a bit. It won’t liquefy and it will taste fine, but it won’t be pretty. I don’t know about you, but I kind of need my Oscar Night red velvet cake to be pretty.Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Vegan, gluten-free Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is so good, y’all. So. Good. It’s soft and tender with all the chocolate-tinged vanilla flavor you love, and those swirls of vegan cream cheese frosting are the perfect counterpart. It’s traditional with a twist, like so many of the best things are.

Happy Oscar weekend, dear readers! May your ballots be winners. May the telecast be worth watching. May your grilled cheeses be gooey. May your desserts be red velvet.Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}
makes a single layer 9×13-inch sheet cake

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
~1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (or pure pumpkin purée)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2-3 teaspoons liquid red food coloring (according to preference)
2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour (not almond meal)
3/4 cup potato starch
2 tablespoons cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/8 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/8 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

For finishing:
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)
red velvet cake crumbs (optional)

This recipe may be halved and baked in an 8- or 9- inch square pan. Start checking for doneness at 25 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-inch cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Pour apple cider vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Add almond milk until liquid reaches the 1 1/4 cup mark. Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes, until curdled. Stir in applesauce and vanilla, followed by 1 1/2 teaspoons red food coloring. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together blanched almond flour, potato starch, cornstarch, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add liquid ingredients in two installments, whisking until combined. If you’d like a more brightly-colored cake, add more food coloring by the 1/2 teaspoon (up to 1 1/2 teaspoons).

Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth to the edges with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap pan on the counter 5 times to release any large air bubbles. Transfer to the oven and bake 28-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs.

Let cake cool completely in its pan on a cooling rack. Run a thin knife along the edges of the pan before inverting to release onto a platter (alternatively, you may keep it in the pan and serve from there). If you want to top the cake with red velvet crumbs, trim off very thin pieces from the 9-inch edges. Crumble with your fingers or by gently pushing through a wire mesh sieve.

Frost as desired with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below). Sprinkle with reserved red velvet crumbs, if desired.

Frosted cake will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Unfrosted cake may be triple-wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before frosting.

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
makes enough for the top of one sheet cake

4 ounces (1/2 cup) vegan butter, room temperature (I like Miyoko’s)
2 ounces (1/4 cup) shortening, room temperature (I like Nutiva)
1/4 cup vegan cream cheese, slightly softened (I like Trader Joe’s)
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat vegan butter, shortening, and vegan cream cheese until light and fluffy. Mix in confectioners sugar in two installments, mixing until combined and fluffy. Mix in salt, followed by vanilla.

Use to frost the top of sheet cake. Frosting and frosted cake should be stored in the refrigerator; they will get very soft at room temperature.

Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Friday Favorites: Red Velvet

Friday Favorites: Red VelvetI professed my love for red velvet earlier this week, and this round-up is the proof! Whether it’s cake, cookies or cookie cake, I am all about this ruby red chocolate-vanilla flavor. Just in time for Valentine’s Day weekend, here are a few of my red velvet favorites from the archives.Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Marble Cupcakes

I posted these cupcakes two days ago, and I am not over them. The red velvet-swirled sour cream cupcake, the plume of two-tone cream cheese frosting—I love it all. These are positively dreamy.Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cake

You can’t beat a classic, and my red velvet cake is just that. Super moist, springy and perfectly red, this is the best of the best…unlike the photos. Did I take them in the dark?! Yikes. Looks like I need to replace those immediately, if not sooner. Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cookies

These chewy Red Velvet Cookies were one of my first posts ever! The cream cheese frosting is swapped for white chocolate chips, but please trust me when I say the flavor is all there.Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Sandwich Cookies

I made these simple and stunning Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies a couple of Oscar Nights ago and haven’t stopped thinking about them since! They’re soft and chewy like the Red Velvet Cookies above, but instead of being studded with white chocolate chips, they’re sandwiched with a swipe of cream cheese frosting.Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cookie Cake

Here I’ve taken that Red Velvet Cookie recipe, baked it in a cake pan and crowned it with cream cheese frosting. It’s a little underdone in the center for maximum cookie cake goodness!Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cut-Out Cookies

Heck yes I made little red velvet cookie Oscars! I celebrate every Oscar Night with a red velvet baked good. If you’re not a total awards show weirdo though, you can cut these into hearts for Valentine’s Day.Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cheesecake Thumbprints

Sparkly red velvet cookies with little wells of cheesecake baked in the centers? Sign me up!Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cheesecake Bars

And speaking of red velvet cheesecake things, I made these Red Velvet Cheesecake Bars for a bake sale a few years ago and they were the first things to go! With a chewy red velvet blondie base and a thick layer of creamy cheesecake, they’re absolutely irresistible.

What’s your favorite way to eat red velvet? Have you made these or any of my other red velvet recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Friday Favorites: Red Velvet

Red Velvet Marble Cupcakes

Red Velvet Marble CupcakesThis marks the first time I’ve posted a new cupcake recipe on here in more than four years. Wild, but true. I vastly prefer to make layer cakes and I hate cleaning muffin/cupcake pans, but there few reasons for whole layer cakes in a pandemic and cupcakes are far more precaution-friendly than sliceable options, so I’m trying to get back into them. People really like no-contact cupcake delivery. Just saying.

Today’s offering? Red Velvet Marble Cupcakes! With swirls of red velvet in both the cake and the cream cheese frosting, these are perfect for Valentine’s Day or any day!Red Velvet Marble CupcakesBefore I get to how these cupcakes get their marble, let’s discuss red velvet on its own. This southern flavor is divisive; some love it, some hate it, and some love to hate it. I obviously love it, as evidenced by years of red velvet treats for Valentine’s Day (and Oscar Night). The big appeal for me is that it isn’t chocolate or vanilla—it’s a little of both! It’s like the soft serve swirl cone of cakes (?), but red. The signature color used to primarily be from the chemical reaction of cocoa and baking soda, but now it’s usually from food coloring. You can leave out the dye in this recipe if you really want to, but I love the deep ruby color.Red Velvet Marble CupcakesRed Velvet Marble CupcakesNow for the marbling! Here, red velvet cake batter is swirled into delicious vanilla sour cream cupcakes. These little cakes are moist and springy and out-of-this-world good. They are assembled from just one batter—the red velvet is made by stirring cocoa powder, a tablespoon of milk and red food coloring into a small portion of the vanilla mixture. Both colors are scooped into the cupcake pans, then swirled together before baking.Red Velvet Marble CupcakesAs for the cream cheese frosting, I had originally planned to keep it completely traditional, but ultimately decided to continue the marble motif, dying half the frosting red and flavoring it with a hint of cocoa for maximum red velvet realness.Red Velvet Marble CupcakesRed Velvet Marble CupcakesRed Velvet Marble CupcakesTo achieve a marbled/swirled frosting effect, I loaded both colors into the same piping bag, doing my best to keep them on separate sides. You can purchase specialty piping bags for this, or use two smaller bags in a larger bag, but I took the easy way out and also tried to let go of the outcome. Baking is much more fun when you let go of the outcome. I totally love how they all turned out a bit differently!Red Velvet Marble CupcakesThese cupcakes, y’all! If you or your valentine(s) are into red velvet, you’re going to love them. The vanilla portion is delicious, but that chocolate-vanilla hint of red velvet really takes the (cup)cake!Red Velvet Marble Cupcakes

Red Velvet Marble Cupcakes
makes 12-14 cupcakes

Cupcakes:
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Red Velvet portion:
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon milk
1-2 teaspoons liquid red food coloring (I used 1/4 tsp red gel + 2 teaspoons water)

Marbled Red Velvet Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces (1 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 pound confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1-2 teaspoons liquid red food coloring (I used 1/8 teaspoon red gel)

Make the cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Combine milk and sour cream a liquid measuring cup, then use a fork to whisk them together. Set aside.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, combining completely after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Mix in half the dry ingredients, followed by half the milk/sour cream. Add the remaining dry ingredients followed by the remaining milk/sour cream.

Make the red velvet portion. Scoop 1 cup of the batter into a small bowl. Add cocoa, milk and red food coloring and mix to combine.

Add 1 tablespoon of plain batter to each cupcake liner. Top each with 1 tablespoon of red velvet batter, followed by 1 tablespoon of plain batter. Liners should be 2/3-3/4 full. Tap full pan on the counter five times before baking for 18-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Make the marbled frosting. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy. Add confectioner’s sugar and salt in two installments, until completely combined. Beat in vanilla. Once combined, beat on high for two additional minutes, until light and fluffy.

Remove half the frosting to a medium mixing bowl. Mix in cocoa powder and 1-2 teaspoons liquid red food coloring.

Load half the plain frosting into a piping bag fitted with a coupler and star tip, pressing it as much to one side as possible. Carefully load half the red velvet frosting into the remaining side. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect or symmetrical. Twist the bag closed, then pat it a couple of times to remove the air bubbles. Frost cupcakes as desired, adding remaining frostings to the bag when needed.

Cupcakes will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to five. Red Velvet Marble CupcakesRed Velvet Marble CupcakesRed Velvet Marble CupcakesRed Velvet Marble Cupcakes

Friday Favorites: Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a divisive occasion, but whether you love it or hate it, it’s a week away. I, for one, think any excuse to show people you love them is a good one, and you won’t be surprised to learn that I express love primarily through food (and videos of dogs on Instagram).

Here are some of my favorite treats from Valentine’s Days past. Look out for a new one next Wednesday!Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayRed Velvet Cheesecake Bars

I may associate red velvet with Oscar Night, but most bakers like to make it for Valentine’s Day. These bars are much simpler to make than the traditional cake, and bypass the frosting in favor of a thick layer of cheesecake.Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayStrawberry Sugar Cookie Squares

I’ll never understand why strawberries are so popular for Valentine’s Day. Who wants to eat a flavorless February strawberry?! That said, freeze-dried strawberries are good year-round, especially when pulverized and mixed into soft sugar cookie squares and buttercream. They provide both flavor and color here—these are food coloring-free!Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayChocolate-Covered Strawberry Buttercreams

Speaking of strawberry buttercream, that’s the name and filling of these homemade candies! The frosting is made and chilled before being scooped, rolled, and enrobed in dark chocolate.Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayCoconut Cluster Brownies

I have a bit of a thing for cheap drugstore chocolate, which is exactly what inspired the milk chocolate-coconut candy layered on top of these brownies. I’ll take these over a heart-shaped box any day of the week!Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayChocolate-Dipped Brown Butter Shortbread

These Chocolate-Dipped Brown Butter Shortbread hearts are one of my favorite recipes on this site. They’re simple to make and the flavors are universally loved, and while you can make them in any shape you like, I think they are particularly adorable as half-dipped hearts.Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayChocolate Cut-Out Cookies

For all the class and restraint embodied in those shortbread, these cookies go in the exact opposite direction. They’re brash and bright and snarky and I l-o-v-e love them. Oh, and while icing is great, the rich chocolate cookies underneath are the real stars of the show.Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayChocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Valentine’s falls on a Friday this year, and if you’re anything like me, making a fuss after a long workweek is not my idea of a good time, especially if it means I have to wear real clothes. Skip the fancy dinner and celebrate the morning after with a Chocolate Puff Pancake. It’s super delicious and easy to make and you don’t have to change out of your pajamas to make it.

Have you made any of these or any of my other Valentine’s Day recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayFriday Favorites: Valentine’s Day