Red Velvet Cupcakes

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 16 mins
Add'l Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 6 mins

These moist and fluffy Red Velvet Cupcakes are everything you are looking for with a perfectly sweet cocoa flavor and tangy cream cheese frosting on top!

Looking for more red velvet recipes? Try my Red Velvet Dream Cake or this Red Velvet Mug Cake!

Close up photo of the best red velvet cupcake
Classic Red Velvet Cupcakes

These moist and buttery red velvet cupcakes really check all the boxes. Big cocoa flavor? Check. Tangy cream cheese frosting? Check. Pretty cupcake decorations? Check!

These moist and fluffy Red Velvet Cupcakes are everything you are looking for with a perfectly sweet cocoa flavor and tangy cream cheese frosting on top! #RedVelvetCupcakes #RedVelvetCake #RedVelvet #RedVelvetCupcakeRecipe #RedVelvetCakeRecipe #RedVelvetRecipes #Cupcakes #CupcakeRecipes #Dessert

If you’re wondering how to make red velvet cupcakes, this easy recipe is the place to start. I’ve made it so many times and every time I try a new recipe, I regret it. This is my favorite Red Velvet Cupcakes recipe, by far. And I have been taste testing and recipe sampling for 12 years now!

Photo of red velvet cupcakes with heart decorations

What is Red Velvet?

Red Velvet is a dessert from the Victorian era. The term “velvet” meant that the cake was soft with a smooth crumb. The difference between red velvet and chocolate cake is that regular chocolate cake uses a lot of chocolate, while red velvet cake uses a smaller amount of cocoa powder with a tangy acid, like buttermilk. 

A mild red color in the cake comes from a chemical reaction between acidic vinegar and buttermilk, which brings out the anthocyanin in cocoa. That natural coloring is then intensified with red food coloring. Back in the day, before food coloring was available, bakers used boiled beetroot juices to add extra oomph to the crimson hue that’s a hallmark of red velvet.

Traditionally red velvet is served as a cake, but of course you can also make red velvet cupcakes like we’re doing here. What is a cupcake if not a mini cake?

I also have a recipe for red velvet cookies and a red velvet hot chocolate recipe you might want to check out!

Mixing bowl with ingredients for red velvet cupcakes

Recipe Ingredients

So what is red velvet made of? To make this classic cake you’ll need:

  • cake flour
  • sugar
  • baking soda
  • cocoa powder
  • salt
  • eggs
  • vegetable oil
  • buttermilk
  • red food coloring
  • vanilla extract
  • white distilled vinegar

Cake Flour Substitute

Cake flour is very important for this recipe. If you don’t have cake flour on hand, you can make your own.

How to make my own cake flour?

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch

Sift together both ingredients. This makes 2 1/2 cups cake flour, the amount needed for this recipe!

Red velvet cupcake batter next to a filled muffin tin.

How to Make Red Velvet Cupcakes in 3 easy steps.

  • MIX BATTER: Sift together your dry ingredients. Whisk together the wet ingredients. Then combine the dry and wet ingredients until smooth.
  • BAKE CUPCAKES: Divide the batter into cupcake liners and bake the cupcakes for about 16 minutes.
  • COOL AND FROST: Cool cupcakes until room temperature and generously frost with cream cheese frosting.

How to decorate?

For these cupcakes, I used a large closed star tip for frosting the cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Then, I crumbled up one un-frosted cupcake into crumbs and sprinkled them on top of the frosting. Lastly, I added a few heart sprinkles. 

Close up of Red velvet cupcakes with decorations

Tips for the Best Red Velvet Cupcakes

There are a few tricks to making the best red velvet cupcakes. They’re all super simple, but make a world of difference. Here are my tips for the best red velvet cupcakes:

  • Use cake flour. Cake flour is the key to make these cupcakes so light and fluffy. If you use all-purpose flour, you won’t get the cloud-like, soft cupcakes.
  • Don’t substitute the buttermilk. Buttermilk not only enhances the flavor of these cupcakes, but also is a big proponent for the cupcakes final texture and extra moist crumb. 
  • Chill before frosting. Make sure your cupcakes are at room temperature before adding the frosting. This way your frosting won’t melt!

Red velvet cupcakes with decorations

Yield: 24 Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Close up photo of the best red velvet cupcake

These moist and fluffy Red Velvet Cupcakes are everything you are looking for with a perfectly sweet cocoa flavor and tangy cream cheese frosting on top!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 6 minutes

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

  • 2½ cups cake flour
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz.) red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners, set aside.
  2. Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt into a medium bowl, set aside.
  3. Beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined.
  4. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each cup three-quarters full.
  5. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, about 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.
  6. Cream Cheese Frosting: In a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together until combined. Add powdered sugar and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Frost cupcakes using your favorite tip and chill for 2 hours to set frosting.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24 cupcakes

Serving Size:

1 cupcake

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 369Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 257mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 0gSugar: 22gProtein: 3g

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Comments

33 Responses
  1. rochelle

    hello miss Jessica! by the way I’m Rochelle from Philippines. when you say that don’t substitute the buttermilk you suggest that we have to buy buttermilk? but here in our country we don’t have liquid buttermilk I always saw powdered buttermilk. can you help me with this? thank you so much.

    1. Jessica

      Hi Rochelle! If you can not find buttermilk, I recommend using whole milk with a tablespoon of white vinegar. Whisk it together and let it sit for 5 minutes. You will have a great buttermilk substitute!

  2. Lin

    I just made your Red velvet Cupcakes last night for Valentines Day…so moist and yummy! So I decorated it with Red little hearts, We LOVE …LOVE them!! Thanks Jessica!!

  3. She

    Hi Jessica, I love your blog. Your recipes are delicious and I’m a huge fan of yours! I’ve tried these cupcakes yesterday for a girls’ night. My friends love them! Thanks 🙂

  4. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking

    Ahh, these are hilarious! My sister in law is nuts for the show, and I think she’d love these. I can’t possibly think of any way to mail them across the country to her, though! Thanks for sharing these, Jessica. You have some lucky friends!

  5. Erika Beth, the Messy Chef

    Oh my! These made me giggle. They’re great. At first I thought it was a type of Rocky Horror mouth, but then I read on. Great post!

  6. Cut Above Bakery

    Adorable….
    I have made Red Velvet for years from a clipping out of a Better Homes & G mag from the 60’s put out by McCormicks.

    I bake in volume now, so I use Duncan Hines Premium Red Velvet Mix in case someone needs a quick Treat. Loved your little story!

  7. Jenna

    You’ve got such a fun blog! I’m about to click over to read the stories about you smelling like an armpit and almost dying twice . . . =)

  8. Christy

    I like the idea you came up with. Clever. So here’s my question. Did you stand on a chair or the table to take that picture of the top of the cupcake tower looking down? LOL

  9. Emily Z

    OMG, these cupcakes are so much fun! I haven’t gotten into True Blood yet, but I have heard that I should. I am admittedly a Twilight fan, though, and I do agree that vampires are pretty awesome. I have a red velvet cupcake recipe that I plan on making in the near future myself! Your cupcakes would also be a fantastic idea for a Halloween party!

  10. Shannon

    LOVE True Blood!! Totally agree about Eric and Alcide, such yummy hotness! And oh “hookah” we would be such awesome friends!

    Thank you for sharing the recipe, the last couple I’ve tried have not been so good.

  11. Elizabeth

    Those cupcakes are hilarious! And I love those special wrappers! I don’t have HBO so haven’t gotten into the true blood thing, but I have thoroughly enjoyed those twilight movies… How did you find my blog Jessica??

  12. Cydney

    Those cupcakes are awesome! I love red velvet and the fangs are the perfect touch (I know what I’ll take to the annual Halloween party this year!).

    HUGE True Blood fan, even though we don’t have cable so Lalaalalala… I have no idea what’s happened this season, I have to wait for Netflix or something! Even though the fake southern accents annoy me sometimes, it’s a fun show. I am def. not a fan of the ‘sensitive’ vampire thing… Eric all the way!

  13. Rebecca (Indecisive Baker)

    I’m a huge true blood fan as well!! While I am a Bill fan, I also can’t deny the Eric and Alcide deliciousness factor. On to the cupcakes- adorable! I’ll be on the lookout for the mold!

  14. Barbara

    Perfect cupcakes for True Blood….which had an oddly unsatisfying ending. (I’ve never been a Bill fan.) These cupcakes would help get over the seasons’ last episode!
    I’ve seen red velvet recipes before, but still haven’t made them.

  15. Anna Johnston

    Hey there Jessica 🙂 I’ve just been giggling my way through reading this, lots of fun. Bye for now, I’m off to read some more.
    Oh yeah.., thanks for visiting my blog & saying hi. I’m guessing I’ll be popping on over regularly, so looking forward to get to know you more.
    Cheers Anna

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Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.
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