These red velvet cupcakes are moist, rich, and luxurious. Toss out the box mix and make these cupcakes from scratch. I promise you will never want to make red velvet cupcakes from a box again. This recipe is fast, easy and delicious.
I get a lot of requests for red velvet cake and this is the best recipe I have ever used. The cake itself is tender, moist and soft. The cream cheese frosting is silky, smooth and creamy. It is the perfect compliment to the red velvet cake and practically a must!
The deep red color of the cake contrasted with the white cream cheese frosting has such a WOW! factor and makes it fun to eat. This is the same recipe I have used in several wedding and specialty cakes including this baby shower cake that I have posted on my cake designs page.
Not Just For Special Occasions
There is something about the dramatic red color of red velvet that appeals to brides for their wedding day. It is a vivid and striking cake for the most majestic day in a young ladies life.
Although this is a popular choice for weddings, it is also quite popular during many holidays. It has the festive colors of Christmas and Valentines Day and reminds many of the saving blood of Jesus Christ during Easter. But these red velvet cupcakes should not be limited to holidays and special occasions. Make them for dessert tonight and the family will be singing a new song.
Fast and Easy Recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes
This is an easy recipe that comes together pretty quickly and gives spectacular results every time. Even though it has a small amount of cocoa powder in it, it is not really a chocolate cake. It is actually a buttermilk cake with a barely detectable hint of chocolate. The cocoa powder is supposed to aid in the red color of the cake. There is a chemical reaction between the alkali of the baking soda and the acidic ingredients of the vinegar and buttermilk that brings out the red tones in the cocoa powder.
The reality is that the vibrant red color is achieved by using a generous amount of red food coloring. I have made this recipe without the food coloring and it turns out just as tasty but it does not have the same visual impact. Without the red food coloring, it is a light muddy reddish brown color.
I know that red beet powder can be used to replace the food coloring but I have not tried that yet and just can’t say if it creates a vibrant red color or if it alters the flavor. I would love to hear if anyone has tried replacing beet powder for the food coloring.
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Red Velvet Cupcakes
Yield 30 cupcakes
A light, moist and tender red velvet cupcake with a silky smooth cream cheese frosting
- 2-½ cups (350 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1-½ cups (300 grams) sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 1-½ cups canola oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1-1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 3 to 5 teaspoons red food color
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 8 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 3-1/2 cups (450g) powdered sugar, sifted
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°. Line 30 muffin pans with paper cupcake liners.
- In a mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Use a whisk to sift and combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, eggs and red food coloring. Mix well to combine. Pour half of the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix on low speed to smooth out any lumps. Add the remaining wet mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl then mix on medium speed until well combined.
- Fill the cupcake liners about half full and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you bake more than one muffin pan at a time, rotate the pans halfway through cooking.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- To make the cream cheese frosting, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and salt in a large mixing bowl and beat on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add the powdered sugar until it is well incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on high speed for 1 more minute
- Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost them with a butter knife or pipe with a decorating tip. If you don’t have a tip you can place the frosting in a ziplock bag and cut a small hole in the corner of the bag then pipe it onto the cupcakes.
*If you fill the cupcake liners ¾ full your cupcakes will mound higher over the paper liners but you will only get 24 cupcakes and will need to increase your bake time by 1 or 2 minutes. The cupcakes shown in the photos were made by filling the liners just over half way and I got 30 cupcakes out of the batch. **This recipe works for a full size cake as well. One batch will make two 8-inch round cakes and will need to bake for 28-30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.