Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes with Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Frosting

I know that there are A LOT of food blogs out there with ridiculously amazing photography. This blog, certainly, is not one of them. I do my best but I know that the photos are often an afterthought. As in, AFTER my kids have devoured the food… Oops! It’s hard to keep delicious food out of the hands of hungry kids.

Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcake with Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Frosting

For this blog post, I have one photo. Just one. One lonely, yet super delicious, gluten free red velvet cupcake sitting safely atop my old-school kitchen scale… away from 4 sets of grabby little hands. This recipe is just so, so good and really wowed all of my non-GF friends. Rich, moist, delicious. Very easy to make! I started with a Betty Crocker gluten free cake mix and added a few ingredients that you probably have on hand right now… Yup. That simple. Keep reading!

Ingredients for the cupcakes:
1 box Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix (15 oz.)
1 box vanilla instant pudding
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 ounce red food coloring (truly optional)

1. Combine cake mix, instant pudding, and dark cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add remaining ingredients and mix on medium for about 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl about halfway through mixing.
3. Scoop batter about halfway (to 2/3) into 24 cupcake liners.
4. Cook at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Let cool.

Ingredients for the frosting:
4 ounces butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla (clear! if you don’t want your white frosting to turn light brown)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions for the frosting:
1. Combine the butter and cream cheese together in a stand mixer.
2. Add the vanilla. Beat again.
3. Add one cup of powdered sugar. Mix well. Taste.
4. Add more powdered sugar depending on the consistency and taste that you prefer! I added in a second cup of powdered sugar and then even a little bit more… Yum.
5. Using a spatula, mix the mini chocolate chips in by hand. Spread evenly over 24 cupcakes!

Note about frosting… If you like to pipe your frosting out, don’t mix the mini chips into your frosting. No good will come of it. Just sprinkle some on top! If, however, you plan to frost your cupcakes with a butter knife or a skinny spatula, the mini chocolate chips won’t pose a problem at all!

Note about red food dye… As a rule, I am not a fan of red food dye. There are so many reasons, but I think that Lisa Leake (another fabulous Charlotte mama and the writer of 100 Days of Real Food) says it really succinctly in her post from this past spring. (Click here to read it.) I know that RED VELVET cupcakes are supposed to be RED but, really, I think the most important thing is the moist dark chocolatey taste and the cream cheese frosting. You can add in red food dye (I have even tried the flavorless red food dye from Michael’s) but, truthfully, the red food dye doesn’t make the red velvet cupcakes all that red. After you smother these little gems in frosting, it will be mighty hard to tell they aren’t red! And, once someone eats one, no one is going to argue with you about colors…


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Erin Brighton

I am a native New Englander now living in beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina and enjoying summers in sea-breezy Scituate, Massachusetts with my five small kids and two large dogs. I love to cook easy, local, and gluten-free for friends and family.

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