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Red Velvet Cupcakes are irresistible any time of the year, but especially fitting for Valentine’s Day, July 4th, or Christmas celebrations! With an eye-catching color, and a hint of chocolate, and topped with an addictive rich and tangy cream cheese frosting, these will become an all-occasion favorite!

I love the simplicity and ease of whipping up a batch of homemade cupcakes for an unfussy treat that doesn’t involves stacking and layering! Our Best Ever Moist Chocolate Cupcakes are truly amazing and so easy to whip up, and our S’mores Cupcakes with Graham Cracker Frosting are perfect for a taste of summer year-round!

Red velvet cupcakes with frosting on marble counter with red velvet cake sprinkles

Traditional Red Velvet Cupcakes

I can’t seem to get away from chocolate desserts lately. Even though these beauties are a glorious deep red color, there is still cocoa powder in there, and I absolutely love it!

Red Velvet Cupcakes are such an easy and fun dessert to make, perfect for pretty much any occasion. Want to make a fun Valentine’s Day treat with the kids? Make Red Velvet Cupcakes. How about something red and white with green sprinkles for Christmas? Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting is the answer! Red, white, and blue for July 4th? All you need is blue sprinkles!

overhead Red velvet cupcakes with frosting on marble counter, one cupcake on it's side

This easy cupcake recipe is ready in just 40 minutes, and I used regular, everyday pantry staples. The one thing you may need to run to the store for is red food coloring (affiliate link) which you’ll find in the baking aisle, or you could even buy it online if you’re planning ahead.

The Cream Cheese Frosting on these Red Velvet Cupcakes is tangy, fluffy, and irresistibly good. I could just eat it with a spoon! It only requires 4 ingredients, again, you’ll probably have them on hand already. The Cream Cheese Frosting is a good recipe to keep on hand for other treats like carrot cake, cinnamon rolls, or even chocolate cupcakes.

Ingredients for the Best Red Velvet Cupcakes

I love that I almost always have the ingredients on hand so I can make this red velvet cupcake recipe whenever I get the craving. Did you know you can freeze cream cheese and buttermilk? They both do great in the freezer so you have some whenever you need it. Just be sure to let it thaw and come up to room temperature before adding it to the recipe.

CUPCAKES

  • Butter: I like my red velvet cupcakes to have a rich buttery taste, and the best way to achieve that is by adding plenty of butter!
  • Sugar: Regular granulated sugar is perfect for cupcakes to add the right amount of sweetness!
  • Vanilla extract: You can use either store bought, but I highly recommend making a batch of my Homemade Vanilla Extract – it’s so easy and much kinder to your wallet!
  • Buttermilk: Buttermilk adds a lovely tang to cake and cupcake recipes. Perfect for red velvet cupcakes!
  • White vinegar & baking soda: You might see the ingredient “vinegar” and think that’s a little odd to put in a cupcake! When vinegar mixes with baking soda, however, they release carbon dioxide together which helps the cake to rise even more when baking.
  • Cake flour: If you don’t have cake flour, you can make a good replacement by using 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup of cornstarch instead.
  • Cocoa powder: Cocoa powder adds a chocolate flavor as well as darkening the color so that the red velvet cupcakes aren’t bright red, but more of a crimson.
  • Red liquid food coloring (affiliate link): This is where the classic red color comes from! You can usually find red food coloring (affiliate link) in the baking aisle of your grocery store, or order it online.
individual ingredients on counter

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • Cream cheese & butter: This is technically a cream cheese buttercream instead of a regular buttercream. Adding cream cheese gives the frosting an amazing tang. it’s SO good!
  • Sugar: Powdered sugar is best here as it melts perfectly into the other ingredients leaving no graininess behind.
  • Vanilla extract: Adding some Homemade Vanilla Extract amplifies the flavor to bring a warm sweetness to the Cream Cheese Frosting.

How do you Make Red Velvet Cupcakes from scratch?

  1. Prep the oven and the pan. Firstly, preheat the oven to 350°F, and then line a cupcake pan with paper cupcake liners.
  2. Beat the egg whites. Secondly, in a large bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form (about 2 minutes) and set aside.

3. Whisk Dry ingredients. Next, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt.
4. Mix wet ingredients, and then add it all together. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy and light. Add oil, vanilla, eggs, vinegar, and food coloring (affiliate link). Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk.

5. Fill ’em up & bake! Fill the cupcake liners 1/2 to 2/3 of the way full. Bake the red velvet cupcakes for 19-21 minutes until the tops spring back at a touch or a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.

batter in cupcake liner in tray, ready to bake

6. Make frosting and set. Finally, beat the butter and cream cheese with vanilla, and then add the powdered sugar. Beat them together for 5-7 minutes. Frost the red velvet cupcakes, then refrigerate to set.

an unwrapped, unfrosted red velvet cupake

How to Store Red Velvet Cupcakes

As these cupcakes have cream cheese frosting, they’ll need to be stored in the refrigerator. Store them in an airtight container and they’ll last for up to a week.

You can also freeze them for 2-3 months. Thaw on the counter, then frost and serve!

What flavor are Red Velvet Cupcakes?

Red Velvet Cupcakes have a buttery, light chocolate flavor, thanks to the added cocoa powder. Some Red Velvet Cupcake recipes skip the cocoa powder so they have more of a vanilla cupcake flavor with a bright red cupcake, but traditionally there will be a little cocoa powder in the cupcake batter for flavor and a deeper color.

Why do you add buttermilk to Red Velvet Cupcakes?

Buttermilk, along with vinegar, reacts to baking soda giving these Red Velvet Cupcakes an excellent rise when they bake. If you need to, you can substitute buttermilk for regular milk, and increase the amount of vinegar slightly.

Red velvet cupcake with frosting and pink sprinkles on marble counter

More Fabulous Cake & Cupcake Recipes

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Red Velvet Cupcakes
Yield: 24 cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes are irresistible any time of the year, but especially fitting for Valentine's Day, July 4th, or Christmas celebrations! With an eye-catching color, and a hint of chocolate, and topped with an addictive rich and tangy cream cheese frosting, these will become an all-occasion favorite!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 1/3 cup salted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour*
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons red liquid food coloring

Cream cheese frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with paper cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form (about 2 minutes) and set aside.
  3. Whisk flour, cornstarch, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt.
  4. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy and light. Add oil, vanilla, eggs, vinegar, and food coloring. Alternate adding flour and buttermilk.
  5. Fill cupcake liners 1/2 to 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 19-21 minutes until the tops spring back at a touch or a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.
  6. Beat butter and cream cheese with vanilla. Add powdered sugar. Beat 5-7 minutes. Frost, then refrigerate to set.

Notes

  • Cake flour substitution: If you don't have cake flour, you can make a good replacement by using 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup of cornstarch instead.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 335Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 247mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 0gSugar: 31gProtein: 3g

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.