oil for baking moisture – no, not you, butter

when people say “you eat with your eyes first,” it ain’t no joke. watching food network is like eating all day. then they get you some with mouth-watering words such as moist, creamy, chocolatey. that’s the best way to describe today’s repeat of season 2’s throwdown with bobby flay: cupcakes.

i’ve never been allured to red velvet cakes but when bobby’s challenger, terri wahl, talked about her red velvet cupcakes that are twice the size of a regular cupcakes (well, it really is meant for sharing), frosting that is piled high so it is more proportional to the cupcake and cupcake that is super moist, i felt like i bit into the softest, yummiest cake evAr … in my mind. now i don’t bake – mainly bcuz, when i look at the ingredients of a cake, i know i wouldn’t be able to eat it or i’d want to substitute ingredients to make it healthier. but baking is not like cooking – you need precise measurements and specific ingredients to make it taste SO good. but it doesn’t mean i can’t learn something new and interesting.

terri’s tip to making her cupcakes super moist is that she uses oil instead of butter! in case i ever get the baking bug, this recipe is one i’d like to try!


Cupcake Ingredients

  • 15-1/2 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 13 ounces granulated sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons red food coloring
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vinegar (white or apple cider can both work)
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 cup water

Cupcake Preparation

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder into a bowl and set aside.

In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix oil, sugar, and buttermilk until combined. Add eggs, food coloring, vinegar, vanilla and water and mix well. Add the dry ingredients a little bit at a time and mix on low, scraping down sides occasionally, and mix until just combined. Be sure not to over mix, or the batter will come out tough.

Line a 16-cup cupcake pan with paper liners, scoop the batter into the liners and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.


Frosting Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 pound butter, room temperature
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Frosting Preparation

Whip the butter and cream cheese together in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until creamed. Gradually add powdered sugar to the mixture and scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.

The frosting can be used right away, or stored in the refrigerator up to a week.


Frost cooled cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting.

original recipe and photo from Throwdown with Bobby Flay – Cupcakes: Red Velvet Cupcakes

eat at Terri Wahl’s bakery in Los Angeles: Auntie Em’s Kitchen


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