May 2009

Auntie Em’s Red Velvet Cupcakes

Most of the shows on the Food Network are barely watchable, but I gotta say that Throwdown with Bobby Flay is damn fine television. Granted, I also think that The Hills is quality time spent in front of the telly, so do take what I write with a grain of pink salt from the copper mines of Montana.

During Episode 9 of Season 2, Flay challenged Terrie Wahl of Los Angeles’ Auntie Em’s Kitchen in a Cupcake Throwdown. He pitted his gingerbread cupcake with mango and vanilla buttercream frosting against her famous red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

Prior to the Throwdown, viewers at home watched Wahl prepare her highly-acclaimed sweets from scratch. I was appalled and intrigued as I witnessed her glugging dangerously liberal amounts of vegetable oil and red food coloring into the batter and frosting each cupcake with an ice cream scoop’s worth. At the end of the episode, Flay claimed victory over Wahl, most likely because one of the two judges was rival Candace Nelson of Sprinkles Cupcakes fame.

I finally tasted Auntie Em’s red velvet cupcake when my friend Carissa brought one into the office to share. Visually, it was a stunner. The cake was blindingly red—far and away the deepest-hued red velvet I’d ever encountered. The frosting was piled an inch high and dotted with cute red sprinkles.

Taste-wise, I was impressed with the cake’s moistness (vegetable oil sure does the trick nicely!) and the frosting’s sweet tang and smooth texture. There was a time in my cupcake eating career when red velvets made me swoon, but these days I find them simply too sweet. Plus, food coloring in large quantities is a definite deal-breaker. However, as far as classic red velvets go, Auntie Em’s creation is solid.

“So to all you cooks out there, keep doing what you do. But ask yourself this, are you ready for a Throwdown?” Ha!


Sprinkles Cupcakes > Dots Cupcakes > Vanilla Bake Shop > Crumbs Bake Shop > Auntie Emโ€™s Kitchen > Yummy Cupcakes > Violetโ€™s Cakes.

Auntie Em’s Kitchen
4616 Eagle Rock Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90041
Phone: 323-255-0800

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20 thoughts on “Auntie Em’s Red Velvet Cupcakes

  1. I’m not a big fan of Throwdown, it’s essentially a Bobby Flay ego-booster, with him showing off how in a matter of days, he improved upon a dish that it took years for his competitors to master (and if he loses, that’s the excuse he falls back on!)

    But yes, Auntie Ems cupcakes are indeed something special; unfortunately I’m usually too full after brunching there to even consider buying one to go.

  2. Whenever I watch Throwdown I feel sorry for the people who think they’re getting a whole Food Network special and then Bobby Flay comes in and challenges them, sometimes with a food item with which he has no experience. I even saw one once where he did wedding cakes!

    As for red velvet cupcakes, I never had them til I went to the South, so I’ll trust your expertise!

  3. I’ve never had a cupcake version, but we love red velvet cake around here.

    Psst! (sshhhh): I make it from a mix. Granted, it’s a mix that purports to be from New Orleans, thus hinting at untold depths of “authenticity” and “tradition.” It’s probably made in Hoboken by General Mills. But I pretend it’s real.

    Anyway, it’s excellent. I think red cake tastes better than other flavors, the same way that light brown M&Ms taste the best (don’t argue).

  4. I’m not a huge fan of red velvet either. The red dye scares me a little. And my boyfriend is a red dye supertaster.

    You need to try their coconut cupcakes. I am really not a fan of frosting, but I cherished every bite of that scoop-sized mound. Recently, I noticed that the LA Times has the
    recipe for Auntie Em’s coconut cupcakes on their website. I’m wondering if they will come out at all the same.

  5. My friend will get one of those to go, take it home, put it in a bowl, mash it all together and eat it with a spoon. That way she gets cake and cream with every bite. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Even though I’m not a fan of cupcakes, I do like the show ๐Ÿ™‚ (Both shows, I’m for team LC!) =P

    All joking aside, visual wise, that cake looks delicious!

  7. I have a secret love for that television show too. And don’t even get me started on t he hills… i kinda love that show too.
    I’m soooo over red velvet cupcakes. So much food coloring, and not as thrilling in the flavor department. Hmm… what’s the next trendy flavor? I’m ready for it.

  8. Hahaha I was just talking about the same thing that Sharon mentioned. After all, someday when food network tells me I’m getting my own show about whoknowswhat and Bobby Flay comes in and challenges me I do think I’ll be slightly let down…until I beat him of course ๐Ÿ˜‰

    These cupcakes do look delicious!

  9. I freaking LOOOOOVVVVEEEEE Auntie Em’s red velvet cupcake!!
    But I moved to Vegas…I need some cupcakes now!!

  10. mmmm that looks so good. I do love watching Throwdown…especially when Bobby Flay loses!

  11. It always bugs me when people are really excited to see Bobby Flay in that show. If I made award winning gumbo or something and they were like “Surprise! Bobby Flay is here to challenge you!” I would be mad, not excited.

  12. I made a red velvet cake last weekend and used this recipe. The cake turned out really well and I used a combination of beet juice and red food coloring which made it really red but not as red as yours.. Yummy!!! I think I am going to make the cake recipe into cup cakes.

  13. I made Bobby’s cupcakes, I trimmed the outside edges off because they were a bit tough…they were best the next day after spending the night in a rubbermade container. Also, I was afraid the cream cheese frosting would be over kill in sweetness, so I used this crazy recipe online (crazy because you add flour…yes…flour). Omg…best frosting ever, it has a whipped cream consistancy. I plan on making Auntie Em’s cupcakes next.

  14. I don’t know, but if you had a small restaurant and Bobby Flay came to you for a Throwdown I’m sure you wouldn’t decline saying that Bobby Flay is just using you to boost his ego. 1.) That is a big compliment that Bobby Flay thinks you make the best of whatever it is you make and 2.) Your business is getting exposed on National television. But I guess Bobby Flay is just an egotistical jerk for doing that to some small business owner.

  15. I only watch that show if I am up and bizarrely – it was on last nite when I had insomnia. What are the odds. I only watch to see Bobby lose, sorry. I am from NY originally (now in LA) and he is just too arrogant for me. I am not a cupcake fan, and I rarely bake, but I have to suspect the fix was in here – there is no way a glaze is going to moisten a dry cake effectively. I make gingerbread from scratch every xmas and I use grapeseed oil to keep it moist per the recipe. Without Flay’s helpers he would have flubbed this one entirely, in the mixing, in the frosting and in filling the cupcake pan properly. I would hand the win to them, not Bobby.

    He made an overly fussy gourmet cupcake that looked as if it would be better sans frosting.

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