Red Velvet Cupcakes

It’s known far and wide around the interwebs that anything red velvet is humungously popular around Valentine’s day and strangely enough after almost 5 years of blogging, I’ve yet to post a red velvet cake recipe. 

So after quite a few reader requests in the past couple of weeks for a great red velvet scratch cake recipe, I decided it was about time to share. And believe me, it wasn’t like you guys had to twist my arm! I scoured a few recipes on Pinterest and my favorite blogs and decided on this one since it’s made with both buttermilk and vinegar to boost the tang that is so beloved in red velvet cake. 

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Topped with a swirled dollop of silky cream cheese frosting, these red velvet cupcakes are an outstanding way to say “I Love You” to the hunnies in your life. And yes, if you’re thinking about making a layer cake instead of cupcakes, Annie says that it’s a great recipe for that too – just grease three 8-inch pans, divide the batter, and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Bake Time: 19 minutes
Assembly Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 59 minutes

Red velvet cupcakes are as iconic of a Valentine's Day dessert as you can get. The addition of a sweet and silky cream cheese frosting bumps the delicious factor up a few notches and you'll never go back to using plain white frosting again! These cupcakes are SO MUCH better that what you'll find at a bakery too! They're moist, soft, and tender and you'll be so happy you can now make your favorite red velvet cupcakes at home now!


For the cupcakes:

  • 2 ½ cups cake flour
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp (1 oz) red liquid food coloring
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp white distilled vinegar

For the frosting and decorating:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, slightly softened
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • Pink, red, and/or white sprinkles, for decorating


    1. Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line two 12-well muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.
    2. To make the cupcakes: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients and beat on medium-low until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes (the batter will be liquidy). Pour the batter into a glass measuring cup or small pitcher and divide batter evenly between pans by pouring the batter into paper liners; fill liners about ⅔ full.
    3. Bake cupcakes for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Allow cupcakes cool in pans for 10 minutes then transfer them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
    4. To make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes.  Beat in the vanilla. On low speed, gradually beat in the confectioner's sugar until incorporated and then increase the speed to medium and beat frosting until smooth. If frosting is very soft, chill for 30 minutes before frosting the cupcakes.
    5. To frost and decorate: Add the frosting to a disposable piping bag fitted with a large round or open star tip and pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. Alternatively, spoon out about 3 tbsp frosting onto the tops of the cupcakes and smooth it into a swirl with an offset spatula. Top with sprinkles, if desired.


adapted from Saveur via Everyday Annie | frosting via The Brewer and the Baker

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Looking for more Red Velvet Inspiration?

If you're looking for more red velvet ideas, here are some recipes from my blogging pals.

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Leave a Comment

  • February 8, 2012 at 5:04 AM

    That Annie has the best recipes! I just made a Paula Deen red velvet… yum!

  • February 8, 2012 at 6:58 AM

    These are such a lovely recipe! Perfect for V-Day!

  • February 8, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    So glad you tried these. Truly my favorite cupcake!

  • February 9, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    The best cupcake for Valentines Day! I’d love to try them in a layer cake 🙂

  • February 11, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    I am going to make these for valentines at work sounds and looks yummy

  • Monica
    May 10, 2012 at 6:38 AM

    I’m from New Orleans and made these last night…just the cake part because I am testing out recipes. Us southerners love our red velvet but this recipe fell a little short. I know it’s not a chocolate cake, but I added a full teaspoon of cocoa powder. Everyone said still it needed more chocolate. Plus it’s too greasy…there was oil all over the wrappers and the cupcakes separated from the liners by the end of the day. Thank you for sharing anyway.

    • May 10, 2012 at 7:11 AM

      Monica: Thanks for your comment. Every recipe is different and no one will satisfy everyone – we enjoyed these cupcakes as did everyone I made them for; I’m sorry they didn’t work out for you.

      • Monica
        August 10, 2012 at 3:16 AM

        I think I must have did something wrong the first time bc the second time I made them they were fantastic! I did do half butter, half oil, and I think 3 teaspoons aof cocoa powder…and more food coloring. It was perfect and just. as light, fluffy, and moist as cake mix! I never thought I could achieve that texture from scra tch. Everyone loved them! Thank you!