Red Velvet Cupcakes are a timeless classic in the world of baking! They are famous for their vibrant color, rich flavor, and velvety texture. These decadent treats have become a staple at birthday parties, weddings, and other special occasions. Only 30 minutes in total. They feature a soft and fluffy cake and cream cheese frosting!

Red velvet cupcakes.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • These red velvet cupcakes are quick and easy to make!
  • They take just 30 minutes.
  • They are a bright red color.
  • So fun for birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and more.
  • Both kids and adults love them.
  • This Instant Pot Cake is another great dessert.
  • They look fancy and gourmet but they are simple to make.
  • The red velvet flavor is classic and timeless.
  • The cream cheese frosting is velvety smooth and creamy!
  • This recipe can be made gluten free and dairy free.
  • Check out these Red Velvet Cookies for another favorite dessert!

What is Red Velvet?

Red velvet is a type of cake that has gained immense popularity over the years. The signature characteristic is the vibrant red color, which is achieved through the reaction between cocoa powder and vinegar or buttermilk.

It is believed to have its roots in the United States with the classic version emerging during the early 1900s.

These days, red velvet has become synonymous with indulgence and celebration.

The history of red velvet cake is as intriguing as its name.

Some believe that the distinctive color was a result of a chemical reaction between cocoa powder, buttermilk, and vinegar, which was more pronounced due to the prevalent use of unprocessed cocoa during that era.

The cake gained further prominence when it was featured in the movie “Steel Magnolias” in the late 1980s.

Today, red velvet continues to captivate dessert enthusiasts worldwide.

Ingredients & Substitutions

These are the main ingredients and substitutions for red velvet cupcakes. Scroll down to the recipe card for full ingredients list and instructions.

Both all purpose flour and gluten free 1 to 1 flour work well. Do not use an alternative flour.

Granulated sugar adds sweetness. I have not tried this recipe using a healthier sweetener.

A little cocoa powder adds a slight chocolaty flavor.

Baking soda helps the cupcakes rise.

Add in a pinch of sea salt to balance out the flavors.

Buttermilk adds a distinct tangy flavor. If needed, replace with 3/4 cup milk plus 1/4 cup vegetable oil.

Apple cider vinegar reacts with the cocoa powder to create a slight red color. The food coloring makes them bright red!

A little vanilla extract adds a cozy flavor to the cupcakes and the frosting.

The frosting is made with powdered sugar, butter, cream cheese, and vanilla. If desired, use dairy free butter and dairy free cream cheese.

Ingredients for red velvet cupcakes.

Taste & Texture

Red velvet cupcakes offer a unique taste and texture experience that sets them apart from other cupcakes.

The flavor is a subtle chocolate with a hint of tanginess. The use of cocoa powder provides a depth of flavor, while the addition of vinegar and buttermilk enhances the moistness and adds a slight tangy taste.

For the texture, red velvet cupcakes are famously known for their tender crumb and velvety, melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

How to Make

Step 1

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Step 2

In a mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together.

Cocoa mixture in bowl.

Step 3

In a separate bowl, add the buttermilk, apple cider vinegar, vanilla, and red food coloring. Stir together.

Red liquid in bowl.

Step 4

Then, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until combined. Do not overmix.

Red batter in bowl.

Step 5

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling each one ⅔ full.

Cupcake pan with red batter.

Step 6

Then, bake for 18 to 21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Step 7

Remove the cupcakes from the oven. Let them cool in the muffin pan for 5 minutes. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 8

Once the cupcakes are fully cooled, make the frosting. In a mixing bowl, add the powdered sugar, butter, cream cheese, and vanilla. Using a hand mixer, beat until smooth and creamy.

Cream cheese frosting in bowl.

Step 9

Finally, frost the fully cooled cupcakes. Serve!

Expert Tips & Tricks

To ensure the perfect batch of red velvet cupcakes, consider the following expert tips and tricks.

Use gel food coloring for a more vibrant and consistent red hue.

Sift the dry ingredients to remove any lumps and achieve a smoother batter.

Don’t overmix the batter. Gently fold until the ingredients are just combined.

Buttermilk and vinegar are essential for flavor and texture, so try not to substitute them.

Allow the red velvet cupcakes to cool completely before frosting to prevent the frosting from melting.

Sliced cupcake with frosting.

How to Serve & Store

Red velvet cupcakes are best enjoyed fresh, but they can be stored for a few days.

Serve with milk, coffee, tea, or even ice cream! I serve them with a drizzle of melted chocolate on top. Everyone loves this secret tip!

Once frosted, keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Before serving, allow them to come to room temperature to enhance the flavors.

Red velvet cupcakes are perfect for special occasions, tea parties, or as a surprise for family and friends!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is red velvet?

Red velvet is a classic cake flavor! It has a slightly tangy, light chocolate flavor.

Can I omit the food coloring?

Sure! The taste will remain the same. These cupcakes will look chocolate.

What do red velvet cupcakes taste like?

They have a tangy chocolate flavor! Red velvet is unique and delicious.

Do you need to refrigerate them?

Due to the cream cheese frosting, store these cupcakes in the fridge.

Can I replace the buttermilk?

Sure! To replace the buttermilk, use 3/4 cup milk (dairy free or regular) and 1/4 cup vegetable oil.

Mini cakes with frosting.

Equipment Needed

Hand Mixer: This hand mixer is great for making frosting!

KitchenAid Stand Mixer: If desired, use my favorite kitchen appliance for making the cream cheese frosting.

Pyrex 3 Glass Mixing Bowls: These are great mixing bowls for baking.

Pyrex Glass Measuring Cups: Measure out the ingredients in these cups.

Whisk: Whisk together the cupcake batter.

Cupcake Pan: This is my favorite cupcake pan! I use it every time I bake muffins or cupcakes.

You May Also Like

If you make this red velvet cupcake recipe, I would really appreciate a review! You can find me on InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest. Join my exclusive Facebook Group for a behind the scenes look. I would love for you to follow along!  For more ideas, check out these Dessert Recipes.

Red velvet cupcakes.

Get the Recipe: Red Velvet Cupcakes

These red velvet cupcakes feature a soft and moist red velvet cake and smooth cream cheese frosting! They are the ultimate dessert for any occasion. These cupcakes are equally beautiful and tasty!
5 from 7 votes

Ingredients

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions 

  • First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  • In a mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together.
  • In a separate bowl, add the buttermilk, apple cider vinegar, vanilla, and red food coloring. Stir together.
  • Then, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until combined. Do not overmix.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling each one ⅔ full.
  • Bake for 18 to 21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Remove the cupcakes from the oven. Let them cool in the muffin pan for 5 minutes. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once the cupcakes are fully cooled, make the frosting. In a mixing bowl, add the powdered sugar, butter, cream cheese, and vanilla. Using a hand mixer, beat until smooth and creamy.
  • Frost the fully cooled cupcakes. Serve!

Notes

  • These cupcakes can be made with regular all purpose flour or gluten free 1 to 1 flour.
  • This recipe can be made entirely dairy free.  Replace the 1 cup buttermilk with 3/4 cup dairy free milk and 1/4 cup vegetable oil.  Use vegan butter and vegan cream cheese for the frosting.
  • Do not overmix the cupcake batter.
  • Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Wait until the cupcakes are fully cool before frosting.
  • The frosting should be thick and creamy.  If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar.
  • Store cupcakes in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Calories: 281kcal, Carbohydrates: 41g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 32mg, Sodium: 255mg, Potassium: 75mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 29g, Vitamin A: 396IU, Calcium: 38mg, Iron: 1mg

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