Red Velvet Cupcakes + Birthdays

This past Sunday, the 13th Isaac turned 10 – double digits!!  How did that happen?  And next Thursday, the 24th, Eli will be a teenager, he will be 13 years old.  I will have a teenager under my roof and I am not at all sure how I feel about that. When they are young and innocent, they are sweet and loving, fun and easy, and adaptable.  Twelve year olds are hardly adaptable, so I am anticipating that a thirteen year old may be less adaptable.  Regardless of him having his own opinion (as he should), he is still sweet and loving.  Maybe I have nothing to worry about!

With both my boys being February babies(they actually had the same due date; February 20th), we chose to host a double birthday party. After they each made their guest lists, and the total equaled 38 kids, I had to think of something to do with 40 almost pre-pubescent boys.  I suggested enlisting 3-4 of our Bruinwood counselors (we go to family camp each summer  and one of the bonus’ of the week are the counselors), all U.C.L.A. students who are intelligent, playful, enthusiastic, energetic, loving and FUN!  The boys jumped for joy and immediately starting texting, requesting their favorites, both guys and gals.

After we secured the “entertainment”, we chose the park, created the menu and prayed for a sunny day(in February). I made guacamole, homemade salsa, cut up lots of veggies, got a flat of strawberries, picked out their favorite chips, filled the cooler with waters and juice, and ordered pizza. The only other request was cupcakes.  They couldn’t decide on one specific flavor.  It was a toss up.  We narrowed it down to three and they still couldn’t decided.  So, I threw up my hands and said I would make all three.

Eli’s first choice was the devil’s food cupckaes I made last year for his birthday.  I made the perfect butter cream which I used for the inside of the cupcake and the decorations and then finally, Rose Levy Beranbaum chocolate glaze for the top of the cupcake.  Isaac wanted the rainbow cake we made for Levi’s 5th birthday, but in a cupcake.  7 layers in a cupcake is a bit too much.  We chose two instead; blue and gold; Bruin colors!  Lastly, they both wanted red velvet cupcakes.  I made one of my favorite recipes with my traditional cream cheese frosting, adding a touch of cinnamon for some extra added flavors.  I love birthdays, I love celebrations.  I especially love these events when they come to my own playful, little boys!  60 cupcakes were devoured and everyone was joyous and had a great time!


Happy Birthday to my favorite 10 year old and my favorite 13 year old!

Red Velvet Cupcakes


4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 Tbsp. unsweetined cocoa powder
3 Tbsp. red food coloring
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. distilled white vinegar
cream cheese frosting


• preheat oven to 325*
• beat butter and sugar in a standing mixer until creamy.
• slowly add the egg and beat until incorporated.
• in a separate bowl, mix the cocoa, red food coloring, and vanilla to make a paste.
• add the cocoa mixture to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly.
• add half the buttermilk  and then half the flour. repeat the buttermilk and then the flour.
• turn the mixer up to high speed and mix until smooth. turn it down to low and add the vinegar and the baking soda. mix well.
• using a 1/4 cup ice cream scooper, fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 the way up.
• bake in a pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into one of the cupcakes came out clean.
• cool  completely before frosting.

The Urban Baker /

Showing 21 comments
  • Kristen

    Lots of birthdays!! Love these cupcakes. So pretty!

  • Lucy Lean

    Happy birthday to one and all!

  • marla {family fresh cooking}

    Susan, this is such an uplifting and happy post!! Thanks for sharing these cupcakes, but most of all your honesty as a parent with us 🙂 xxoo

    • the urban baker

      Thanks, Marla! My kiddies are getting older which means their vocabulary is as well! I will be here for you in a few years – you will need to vent, share, cry, and most of all – laugh!

  • Amanda

    SOOOOO many great recipes in here!! And I love the boys choices for their bday cupcakes… they are smart guys! Wonderful job!


  • Kim

    I love these beautiful cupackes. When child are growing up, it reminds us that we are getting older, and older…

    • Susan

      Even as an “elder” we can still enjoy a cupcake now and then, don’t you think, Kim?!!!!

  • Allison [Haute Box]

    These cupcakes look tasty and so UPLIFTING! Yum!

  • Nicole @ The Dirty Oven

    Wow! Tons of parties and love! Congrats. Love all the cupcakes. So delightful and yummy!
    Thanks for a lovely post!

    • Susan

      thanks for stopping by, Nicole! Have a great weekend!

  • Patricia Scarpin

    Your family is just beautiful, sweetie, and I am sure you’ll handle Eli’s new “phase” really well.
    That party was a lot of fun, I can tell! And I love, love, love the cupcakes flavors you went for. I would have eaten one of each, for sure. 🙂

    Happy birthday to your boys! I wish them all the happiness in the world!

    • Susan

      I ate half of the “hostess” style cupcake and I probably could have eaten more, but – well – you know! Thanks for the birthday wishes! xxx

  • Kim

    I really still enjoy cupcakes and all sort of food related to childhood…

    • Susan

      Kim – what’s not to enjoy? Right?!!

  • HeatherChristo

    I love cupcakes of all shapes and sizes! thanks for sharing. Happy Birthday to those adorable boys- can you believe how fast it goes?

    • Susan

      they all grow up and that is both good and bad. as long as they will let me bake them cupcakes, i will be here with spatula in hand!

  • Fran

    What a fabulous celebration and I’m sure those two boys — those menschs you’ve raised will be much less of a handful than you imagine. Reminds me of my boys when they were that age and they have grown up to be such wonderful men.

    Happy Birthday to all of you! 🙂

    • Susan

      Oh Fran, thank you so much for your words of encouragement. With a mom like you, how could they go wrong!

  • Reply

    40 kids! Wow you’re a brave woman to sign up for that. It looks like everything went well and everyone enjoyed the cupcakes though. I can see why they weren’t able to make up their minds, I don’t know if I could choose a flavor either with those choices!

    • Susan

      40 kids in a big, vast park! It was much easier than you could imagine, Sylvie! In hindsight, I thought 60 would have been plenty, could have used another dozen or two! Growing children do eat alot, don’t you agree!?

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