Oreo Red Velvet Cupcakes: Celebrate Valentine’s or Galentine’s Day with everyone’s favorite cookie hidden under a soft and delicious red velvet cupcake with a swirl of sweet and silky cream cheese frosting!
Are you Team Red Velvet or Team All the Chocolate for Valentine’s Day? I totally get that it seems like red velvet has been overdone in the food world over the past 10 years.
But frankly, there’s no better time to eat a red velvet cupcake with a thick schmear of cream cheese frosting than at Valentine’s Day. Am I right or what?
The red velvet cupcake is just so nostalgic at this point that you can’t help but love it at Valentine’s Day! And really, do people really eat red velvet cupcakes at other times of the year?
That would be like eating spritz cookies when it isn’t Christmastime. Can you imagine??
OK, OK. I’m not really being completely serious here. I know that folks who love their red velvet do eat red velvet cupcakes and cake at other times of the year.
And why not?? I always say, “Just eat the cupcake!”
If you happen to love both chocolate and red velvet at Valentine’s Day – or you can’t possibly choose between the two! – I’m here to smash them together today with these Oreo red velvet cupcakes.
WHAT?? Oreos IN your red velvet cupcakes? Why yes indeed, friends!!
I came up with the idea last year when I made a batch of red velvet Oreo brownies that I riffed from my always popular red velvet brownies with white chocolate buttercream and discovered what a crazy delicious combination of flavors those brownies exploded with.
How to Make Red Velvet Cupcakes From Scratch
These days, there are lots of boxed mixes available to help you make red velvet cupcakes. But as you know, I’m not a box mix kind of gal!
This red velvet cupcake recipe is a simple one to make from scratch! First, you’ll mix your dry ingredients together in a bowl. This includes the sugar, which is normally considered a wet ingredient.
Then you’ll mix the wet ingredients together using a stand mixer or in a bowl with a hand mixer. Included in these wet ingredients is a small bottle of red food coloring, buttermilk, and white vinegar. Make sure to combine the wet ingredients well and to scrape the bowl down to ensure the food coloring disperses evenly throughout.
Next, you’ll stir the dry ingredients into the wet ones and mix until they’re combined.
The batter will be more liquidy that other cupcakes batters but don’t worry! This recipe TOTALLY works!!
Then, you’ll simply drop an Oreo into the bottom of your cupcake liners and pour the batter on top of the cookies. The cupcake batter bakes around the cookie, which stays put at the bottom of the cupcake.
It’s really a genius way to put a fun spin on plain ol’ red velvet cupcakes!
Is there Cocoa Powder or Chocolate in Red Velvet Cupcakes?
Yes, there sure is! Traditional red velvet cupcake recipes only included cocoa powder in the recipes, and no food coloring.
Some recipes include unsweetened cocoa powder and others, like this one, use dutch processed cocoa powder. (Keep reading to see why dutch processed is preferable to regular cocoa powder!)
What Makes Red Velvet Cupcakes Different?
The obvious difference between red velvet and other cupcakes is their bright red color, of course! But there’s more to the difference than just the color.
Red velvet cupcakes aren’t simply vanilla cupcakes that have red food coloring added. The combination of acidic ingredients (buttermilk and vinegar) with the non- or low-acidic ingredients (baking soda and dutch processed cocoa powder) creates a chemical reaction.
This reaction produces carbon dioxide in the batter and creates bubbles which help to make the cupcakes soft and light.
Dutch processed cocoa powder has undergone a process that strips the acidity out of it, leaving a cocoa powder with a high pH. Regular cocoa and chocolate are both acidic ingredients so they don’t work the same when they are combined with other acidic ingredients like buttermilk and vinegar.
And this is why dutch processed cocoa powder is so often used in a baking recipes!
Easy Ingredient Substitutions
Here are some substitutions you can make for ingredients in this recipe:
- Cake flour: Replace 5 tablespoons of flour from the 2 ½ cups in the recipe with 5 tablespoons of cornstarch. Sift them together before mixing with the other dry ingredients
- Buttermilk: Combine a scant cup of milk or half-and-half with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or distilled white vinegar
- Vinegar: Use an equal amount of lemon juice
- Vanilla extract: Use an equal amount of vanilla paste or ½ of a scraped vanilla bean
What do Red Velvet Cupcakes Taste Like?
With all the acidic ingredients in this red velvet cupcake recipe, you might think that the cupcakes would taste awful, right?
But! The acidic ingredients are balanced by the sweet flavors of the cupcakes and cream cheese frosting. And then of course, there’s a little more sweetness added with the Oreo cookies.
So basically, these Oreo red velvet cupcakes are fantastically delicious! I’m a big Oreo fan (admittedly, both store-bought and homemade) so they’re kind of a no-brainer dessert recipe for me.
And the sweet cream cheese frosting is always SUCH a winner in my book! If you want to take the frosting to another level, my chocolate cream cheese frosting would be absolutely amazing on top of these cupcakes. How perfect would that be with those chocolately Oreos!!
Any which way you go with these cupcakes, they’re sure to be a big hit with your family and friends! Whether you make them for Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day, or any other time of the year!
For the cupcakes:
- 30 Oreo cookies
- 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:
- 12 oz cream cheese, slightly softened
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 3 ¾ cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
- Pink, red, and white sprinkles, for decorating
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two 12-well muffin tins with paper cupcake liners. Place an Oreo cookie in the bottom of each liner.
- 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.
- 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. Bake off the remaining cookies and cupcake batter with new liners in one of the muffin tins.
- 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.
- 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 these red velvet cupcakes
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