Red Velvet Cupcakes
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Cook time
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With a subtle hint of cocoa, Red Velvet cake has a flavor that is unique and delicious. Red velvet is a dessert that everyone oohs and aahs over, with its deep crimson color and thick coating of cream cheese frosting.

The history of Red Velvet tells us that original cakes used beets for the red color, or a combination of vinegar and baking soda to react with cocoa for a red color and to provide bubbles for leavening. Many recipes then and now use vegetable oil for moistness.

Veering away from old tradition and instead using basic baking techniques of creaming butter and sugar along with eggs for leavening, this Red Velvet cake, made with no vinegar, produces a cake that is moist and delicious. But keeping with modern tradition, this cake does not shy away from the food coloring; you have to have that bright red sassy color for a true Red Velvet experience!

And then there’s the cream cheese frosting, a standard favorite with Red Velvet; the creamy cream cheese flavor compliments the flavor of the cake, along with providing a striking red and white color contrast. These cupcakes feature a piping swirl of frosting, with a sprinkling of red winter berries nonpareils and red edible glitter.
Recipe type: Dessert | Cupcakes | Butter Cakes
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch Processed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) liquid red food coloring
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
Cream Cheese Frosting (for a simple frosted top):
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
Cream Cheese Frosting (for piping swirls):
  • 11 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two standard 12-cup muffin pans; line with paper cupcake liners.
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir the buttermilk, vanilla, and liquid red food coloring together. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Tip: To cream, start by placing the butter in the bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed begin by beating the butter about 1 minute until it is smooth and light in color. With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the sugar to the butter, either one tablespoon at a time, or in a very slow steady stream, taking from 4 to 8 minutes to add all of the sugar, and beating until the butter and sugar are fully incorporated and the mixture is a light, or pale yellow color, with a fluffy texture. While adding the sugar, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly mixed. Tip: For each egg, crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk with a fork to thoroughly break up the egg before adding to the creamed mixture. Start with the mixer on low speed so the liquid from the egg doesn’t splatter, once the egg is partially mixed increase the speed to medium. Each egg should be fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next egg, taking about one minute to blend in each egg.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add about one third of the flour mixture, mix just until the flour is almost completely blended. Scrape the bowl down, and add about one half of the buttermilk mixture, blending just until mixed. Scrape the bowl down again and continue alternating with the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, ending with the last portion of the flour, and stirring just until blended.
  6. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners. Fill about ⅔ full, using about ¼ cup of batter per cup. Tip: Avoid over-filling the liners which may cause the batter to run-over the sides when baking. It is better to bake any remaining batter separately after the first pan of cupcakes has finished baking.
  7. Bake: Bake, rotating pan halfway through, 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cakes are just firm and spring back when gently pressed, and a toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly in cupcake pan, and turn out of pan when cool enough to handle. Repeat process with any remaining batter. Cool cupcakes completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
  1. Make the smaller portion of frosting ingredients for a simple frosted top, and Red-Velvet-Cupcakesthe larger portion of frosting ingredients if making piping swirls.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, and vanilla; use an electric hand mixer or wooden spoon and beat together until mixture is smooth. Add powdered sugar; beat until frosting is smooth and creamy and a good spreading or piping consistency.
  3. Frost and decorate tops of each cupcake as desired. Refrigerate leftovers.
Recipe Notes
Pan: Two Standard 12-Cup Muffin Pans Pan Prep: Paper Liners Oven Temp: 350° Yield: 24 Cupcakes Storage: Cover and Refrigerate

Help: Cake Hints and Tips, Chocolate Types

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