I came up with this recipe while competing on Food Network's Cupcake Wars: Battle of the Champions "Rose Parade" episode in season 2, after my WIN on the series premiere show! The theme of the show was to create cupcakes for the 2011 Tournament of Roses. I knew I wanted to top my cupcake with the iconic red rose in their logo, so I thought it would be perfect to make my fluffy, moist red velvet cupcakes. To really tie the theme into my cupcakes, I added a fragrant touch of rose water into the frosting. Click here to see the episode recap with photos and a highlight video (coming soon)!
I topped these with some handmade fondant roses and a veined leaf fondant cutter. If anyone is interested in a tutorial on how to make these roses let me know. I used a similar technique as my Gumdrop Roses.
While my cupcakes were on the judges table, one of the judges stated he normally is not a fan of the red velvet cupcakes, but with my addition of rose water, he loved it and told me all red velvet cupcakes should be made this way!
"Lindsay created a trio fit for a queen and I dubbed her the master of detail. Her fondant decorations were gorgeous and her flower pot cupcake was ingenious. Florian and I were also both impressed at how well the rosewater frosting paired with her red velvet cupcake." -Candace Nelson, Founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes/Cupcake Wars Judge
Rose water can be found at cake supply or restaurant supply stores as well as online. I used this brand (I use their Madagascar bourbon vanilla paste and pure vanilla extract for a majority of my baking), but any type of rose water you can find should work just fine.
Red Velvet Rose Water Cupcakes
Yield: 12 standard cupcakes
Note: For mini cupcakes, follow directions below and bake 10-12 minutes. To make a two layer cake, double the recipe and prepare batter as directed. Grease two 8" cake pans, and bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.
Red Velvet Cupcakes:
- 1 1/4 cup cake flour
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, dutch processed
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature (click here to learn how to make buttermilk substitute)
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon red food coloring
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
Vanilla Rose Water Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 (8 ounce) block of cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon rose water extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste or extract
For the cupcakes:Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with baking cups. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt, making sure there are no lumps of cocoa powder. Beat in softened butter and oil on medium speed until the mixture resembles moist crumbs, about 1 minute. In a measuring cup, lightly whisk together buttermilk, egg, food coloring and vanilla. Slowly add half of the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and beat about 1 minute until batter is smooth and fluffy. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add remaining wet ingredients and beat about 30 seconds until incorporated. Stir baking soda into vinegar (it will fizz) and thoroughly fold into batter.
Immediately distribute all of the batter between the baking cups. Bake standard size cupcakes for 16-20 minutes and minis for 8-10 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
For the frosting:With an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth (make sure they are both at room temperature so you do not get lumps in your frosting). Add rose water and vanilla. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until incorporated. Beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Pipe or spread on top of cooled cupcakes.
I made these for a friend's birthday.
For the classic version, you can omit the rose water and bake up some classic Red Velvet Cupcakes.