4th of July + Red Velvet Cupcakes + Giving back to Share our Strength

Last year, on the 4th of July, we decided to have a bake sale.  I am trying to teach my kids how fortunate they are and the organization Share our Strength is helping us achieve that.  SOS has a goal to end childhood hunger in America by 2015.  One in four kids in America go hungry each day. Shocking, isn’t it? I, along with my kids, and a whole group of food bloggers are attempting to help SOS reach their goal.  If I can do my part, even if it is just a small contribution, I feel good knowing that the effort is there.

When I mentioned to my kids and a few of their friends that I was “thinking” of doing a “2nd annual bake sale” on the 4th, I immediately got a lot of volunteers.  On the Saturday prior, Jamie, Gracie, and Jesse showed up on my doorstep, unannounced.  Aprons in hand they got to work. We made the red, white, and blue butter cookies, peanut butter cookie cups, sugar cookie bars, rocky road tarts, cranberry-pomegranate cocktail, and red velvet cupcakes.

The red velvet cupcakes were initially for Isaac’s homecoming from camp. With the bake sale on the horizon, I doubled the recipe.  As mentioned in my last post, the first batch didn’t come out.  I made the Magnolia Bakery recipe using red gel.  Yuck! Bitter, horrible, bitter.  The second batch I modified the recipe from the SoNo Baking Company Cookbook.  I experimented with beet root powder and the taste was delicious, light, and airy!

Our bake sale was a huge success.  Our community came together to support the SOS community. I could not have done all that I had without the help of some of my favorite girls. Sharing my kitchen with them was pure joy.  Having them around forced me to get the job done.  Had they not been there, I would have opted to nap, thus procrastinate.  My kitchen is door is always open to them!!

Red Velvet Cupcakes


1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. coarse salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup beet root powder
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
my cream cheese frosting


• preheat oven to 350*. line 22 muffin tins with paper liners. set aside
• combine the buttermilk and vanilla and set aside.
• in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle, cream the butter, sugar, and salt until light and creamy.
• add the eggs, one at a time.
• in a small bowl, whisk the beet root powder, cocoa, and flour.
• starting with the flour, alternate adding the flour with the buttermilk mixture in three batches, ending with the flour. let stand for 15 minutes.
• mix the baking soda and white wine vinegar, let foam. fold into the batter and divide amongst the muffin tins.
• bake 20-24 minutes, rotating pans half way through. cool completely.
• frost, eat, and enjoy!

The Urban Baker / SusanSalzman.com

Inspiring Red Velvet Links:
Red Velvet Ice Cream Sandwiches – Foodie Bride
Red, White, + Blue Cupcakes – Starting to Simmer
Red Velvet Sheet Cake – The Pioneer Woman
Red Velvet Ice Cream – My Kitchen Addiction
Red Velvet Layer Cake – Life is Great
Red Velvet Cupcakes – The Nesting Project
Red Velvet Brownies – That Skinny Chick can Bake
Cupcake in a Jar – A cup of Mai
Red Velvet Fudge – I am Baker

Showing 14 comments
  • Reply

    What a great effort! I certainly hope SOS ends childhood hunger by 2015. Each bake sale helps! Those cupcakes look mouthwatering.

  • Reply

    Congrats on such a successful bake sale to benefit such a wonderful charity 🙂

  • Esi

    Your kids are awesome. Such a wonderful cause.

  • pickyin @ LifeIsGreat

    Thank you for your shout out to my red velvet cake. I’ve been looking for natural coloring before my next attempt with another recipe. Hopefully the red beet powder is the answer. How much in weight do you reckon 1/3 cup comes to? I was only able to order 4 oz. from Amazon.

    • Susan

      yikes – not really sure. however since it so light in weight, I would assume that 4 oz. would be sufficient! The original recipe called for 2 oz. of red food coloring. I guessed with the 1/3 cup and it seemed fine. I was afraid my batter would not be wet or moist enough. So I bumped up the vanilla from 1 tsp. to 2 and all seemed well and good! let me know what works out for you! x

      • pickyin @ LifeIsGreat

        Thanks for your prompt reply. Am looking forward to try this out since we don’t get very fresh beets here at all.

  • Kim

    I think what you are doing is really great. Honestly, it’s good to do somethings to help people around us… These red velvet cupcakes looks lovely!

  • Georgia Pellegrini

    What is it about Red Velvet that evokes such glee in people? I am always ready for another recipe for red velvet, I just love it.

  • Amanda

    Great recipe! I cant wait to try it!

  • Jun Belen

    Lovely photographs and what a great cause! And a fun bake sale, too! Loved how you used red beet powder. I used them once for marshmallows and I still have to make cakes with them. Glad yours turned out great!

  • Cedric

    Hey , can I ask how you got it so red ? I tried the same recipe as yours using beetroot pwd and no coloring. But still brownish 🙁

    • Susan

      Hi Cedric – I wish I could remember how I made this happen. It’s a tricky thing. My hope is that in a situation like this, it tastes better than it looks. I have tried this natural red food coloring ( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000FNM5PU/diyn_site-20) and I am comfortable using this. I am sorry your cupcakes came out so brown. If it feels any better, I have had the same results.

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