Recipe: Hotel del Coronado’s red velvet cupcakes

The red velvet cupcakes at the Hotel del Coronado are made even more moist when they squeeze in a little simple syrup. Recipe: Hotel del Coronado's red velvet cupcakes
The red velvet cupcakes at the Hotel del Coronado are made even more moist when they squeeze in a little simple syrup. Recipe: Hotel del Coronado’s red velvet cupcakes
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Dear SOS: Every year my husband and I celebrate our anniversary at the Sunday brunch at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. They have the most fabulous red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting I’ve ever had. Would the hotel be willing to share its recipe?

Linda Pinkel

Del Mar

Dear Linda: The Hotel del Coronado’s red velvet cupcakes are rich and chocolatey, yet with a nice hint of tang from the cream cheese frosting. The landmark hotel was happy to share its recipe.


50 minutes, plus cooling time. Makes 2 dozen cupcakes

Cream cheese icing

3/4 cup butter (1½ sticks), softened

1 pound cream cheese, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon lemon oil extract


In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream the softened butter. Add the cream cheese and beat, scraping the bowl once or twice, until fully incorporated but still a little stiff. Add the sugar and beat until somewhat fluffy and spreadable. Beat in the vanilla and lemon oil, careful not to overmix. This makes about 4½ cups frosting. You may not use all of the frosting for the cupcakes; the remaining will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 1 week (soften at room temperature and beat again before using).

Red velvet cupcakes

2 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon (12 ounces) flour

2 cups (14 ounces) sugar


1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (1½ ounces) cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

3/4 teaspoon red food coloring, or as needed to achieve desired color


1 teaspoon vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon coffee extract or strong coffee

Simple syrup (¾ cup sugar dissolved in 1½ cups water), optional


Prepared cream cheese icing

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with 24 paper liners.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder and cinnamon. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, vanilla and coffee extract or coffee. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet, stirring just until combined to form a smooth batter. Add additional food coloring if needed to achieve the desired shade of red.

3. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pans. Bake until the cupcakes are puffed and spring back when touched, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes and cool on a rack.


4. If desired, gently brush the tops of the cooled cupcakes with simple syrup to keep them very moist (the hotel places the syrup in a squeeze bottle and inserts the tip into the top of each cupcake to add a little syrup). Frost the cupcakes with the cream cheese icing and decorate as desired.


Calories 405

Protein 4 grams


Carbohydrates 40 grams

Fiber 1 gram

Fat 27 grams

Saturated fat 9 grams


Cholesterol 52 mg

Sugar 28 grams

Sodium 228 mg