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  • Writer's pictureBobbi Jo Lathan

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Updated: Dec 31, 2023

red velvet cupcakes

One day, I began to notice that too much of my Red Velvet Cake was beginning to show up around my rear-end.  So, when I was speaking to my good friend and co-creator, Stephen Viens about my Chubby-bottom  problem, he suggested that I might  try his Swami’s diet. (I don’t know if they guy’s really a “Swami,” but that what I call him.) Now, I’d been on the Stillman diet, the Atkins Diet, the Mayo Clinic Diet and even Jenny Craig (which was a disaster because I kept adding ingredients to the meals until they tasted better! But, the Swami’s Diet? However, Stephen, who was a now a svelte, walking testimony to the Swami’s secret,  assured me that this was no ordinary, cut-out-the-bread-and cake-diet. This was a diet that worked.

So, for a whole month and a half, I followed the Swami’s rules. I ate nothing but brown rice with mushrooms for breakfast, brown rice with eggplant and onions for lunch, and brown rice with zucchini for dinner. Never, once, did I deviate from the Swami’s menu, and I worked out religiously. And, a month and a half later, I was thin and fit and had a perfect bottom as proof of my determination and fortitude. Yes…I was a changed woman! I also swore I’d never look at another bag of brown rice. I had regained that skip in my walk, and was one, happy, thinner camper.

Now, about this time, Stephen and I had to go to San Francisco to meet with Chef Fred Nesbitt about a project that we had created. So, we hopped into Stephen’s SUV Beemer and headed down the coastline route to the Golden Gate City. When we arrived at Chef Fred’s kitchen, he was busily preparing several dishes for his weekly cooking show that he was shooting later that day. The whole studio was filled with the delicious smells of garlic chicken in wine sauce, freshly baked bread with homemade butter, and potato gratin with fresh cheeses from a nearby goat farm. YUM!

I don’t need to tell you, after two months of brown rice, I was in heaven! As we rounded the set, I spotted something wonderful. There, sitting proudly atop a glass cake pedestal in the middle of Chef Fred’s work table, were six of the most beautifully iced, camera-ready, Red Velvet Cupcakes I’d ever seen. Each one was beautifully iced with a fluffy, white cream cheese frosting, and topped off with tiny sprinkles of red velvet cake crumbs. My heart stopped as my mouth began to water. I glanced down below the pedestal, and there were at least a dozen more extra cupcakes, also piled high with the cream cheese icing, still sitting on a cookie sheet… patiently waiting for their red crumb sprinkles. I don’t need to tell you that the glint in my eye was probably bright enough to light up Los Angeles.

We proceeded into Chef Fred’s office to talk business and to discuss our ideas for the new project. Ten minutes into the discussion, I asked if I could use the restroom and excused myself. By the time I had returned, Stephen had locked-in the deal with Chef Fred, who loved our show idea, and was on board with the project which we would start shooting in a month. I glanced over at Stephen and gave him the thumbs-up. However, he looked back at me all wide-eyed, and  quickly and secretly motioned with his hand near his mouth, for me to wipe the cream cheese icing off of my chin! Opps. Busted.

As we were leaving the office, I whispered to Stephen, “Don’t worry, I rearranged them all on the cookie sheet. Fred’ll never even notice the cupcakes are missing! Oh my gosh, they were sooo good!”

As we exited through the kitchen studio, the cameramen and crew were busily setting up for the shoot and Chef Fred said, “This is a special show we’re doing tonight. It’s a “cooking with cannabis” show. All the food has been prepared with medical marijuana.”

Stephen glanced over at me with a look of panic on his face. I tried to look back at him and reassure him that all was well, but it was about  this time that I noticed that my right eye seemed to have a life of its own, and my I felt this overwhelming desire to turn around and moon-walk out the door. Stephen quickly grabbed my arm and leaned in and whispered to me, “Exactly how many of those cupcakes did you eat?”  I vaguely remember answering, “Only three… but, I ‘m tellin’ you… we really gotta get his recipe!” Stephen rushed us out of Chef Fred’s kitchen and placed me into the passenger’s side of the Beemer. The last thing I remember him saying, as he buckled me in, was  “No more sweets  for you!”

The next morning when I woke up, I remembered what he’d said. I also remembered how good Fred’s cupcakes tasted! I mean, it wasn’t the Red Velvet Cupcake’s fault that they were so tasty, even when medicinally loaded. It was then, that I decided that swearing off my precious Red Velvet Cupcakes was a bit too harsh of a punishment.

However, I did learn my lesson. “The next time I’m in someone else’s kitchen and  feel the urge for some of their Red Velvet Cupcakes, I’ll just remember to take a deep breath, click my heels together three times and remind myself “Dorothy Jo…There’s no place like home …and your very own home oven to bake them in.”

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Recipe by: Bobbi Jo Lathan

Recipe type: Dessert

Cuisine: Traditional

Serves: 24


10 mins


22 mins


32 mins



2½ cups unbleached flour ( sifted)

3 tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)

1½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1½ cups sugar

1½ cups vegetable oil

3 large eggs (beaten)

2 teaspoons red food coloring

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 ounces butter(softened)

12 ounces cream cheese (softened)

4 cups powdered sugar ( sifted )

¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract



  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and line 2 (12-cup) muffin tins with some cupcake papers.

  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.

  3. In another big bowl beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer.

  4. Then, add the dry ingredients, a little at a time, to the wet and mix until it’s smooth and fully combined.

  5. Next, divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins (about ⅔ the way up each cup).

  6. Bake in the oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans around from front to back, once, about half way through cookin’.

  7. Then, take them out and check your cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness, and remove from the oven and let cool before frosting.

Cheese Frosting:

  1. In a big mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth.

  2. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until well mixed. Or, as Grandmama Watson said, “Beat ‘til used.”

  3. Then, beat on high and mix until all light and fluffy. YUM!

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