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