Baking with Susanna: Valentine’s Day Cupcakes

Susanna Kemp, Breaking News Writing Editor

Looking for something sweet to make for Valentine’s Day (or your next snow day)? These red velvet cupcakes are moist, easy to make and fun to decorate.


Yield: 24 regular sized cupcakes or 72 mini cupcakes



  • 1 ½ cups vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon red gel-paste food coloring
  • 2 ½ cups cake flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) room-temperature unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces room-temperature cream cheese
  • 1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line standard muffins tins and/or mini muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and oil by hand or with an electric mixer until combined.
  3. Add the eggs and whisk until incorporated.
  4. Mix in the gel paste and vanilla.
  5. Add the flour and buttermilk in alternating batches, whisking after each, then mix in the cocoa powder and salt.
  6. Stir together baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl. The mixture will bubble, so don’t be alarmed! Add the baking soda and vinegar to the large bowl and whisk.
  7. Divide the batter among the cups in the muffin tin, filling each ¾ of the way full. Bake until a toothpick or fork comes out clean, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and take them out of the tins to cool.
  8. While you wait for the cupcakes to bake, make the frosting: with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until fluffy. Add the sugar while mixing, then add the vanilla. Mix until smooth.
  9. When the cupcakes are fully cooled, frost and decorate!

Tip: You can use normal food coloring instead of gel-paste food coloring if you want, but you’ll need to use a lot more!

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes.