Red Velvet Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting is a classic recipe that everyone will love. They are perfect for any celebration, from Valentine’s Day to Christmas, from birthdays to weddings, and even just as an everyday treat.
These red velvet cupcakes are the perfect serving size of sweet treat for any occasion. The cupcakes are soft and moist. The cream cheese frosting is not too sweet and the tanginess compliments the light cocoa flavor in these cupcakes well.
If you love everything red velvet, be sure to try these Red Velvet Cookie Cups with cream cheese filling, these chewy and delicious Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies or these buttery Red Velvet Madeleines.
How to Make Red Velvet Cupcakes
This cupcake recipe is almost the same as my mini red velvet cake recipe. The only difference is while I used both butter and oil in the cake batter for a buttery flavor, I only use oil in this cupcake batter to get a better dome on the cupcakes.
Why didn’t you use butter in these cupcakes?
I’m not shy about my butter. But for this particular recipe, butter — contains about 20% water — which adds too much liquid to the batter. The tops of the cupcakes deflate after they come out of the oven. Though the taste is still fantastic, they just didn’t look as good.
Using just oil in these cupcakes keep them extremely moist while getting a nice dome on the final product.
The red velvet cupcake batter
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Whisk sugar and salt into the sifted flour mixture.
- Beat buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg, vanilla extract, and liquid red food color together in a large mixing bowl with a whisk.
- Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture.
- Mix with a whisk until smooth.
- Divide batter among 12 cupcake cavities using a large ice cream scoop.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean with just a few crumbs attached. Allow to cool completely before adding frosting.
Can I make these into mini red velvet cupcakes?
Yes, you can use this same batter and bake it in a mini cupcake pan to get at least 2 dozens mini cupcakes, possibly with a few extra. The baking time will shorten to around 10 minutes.
Buttermilk: buttermilk is a typical ingredient in red velvet cake. If you don’t have buttermilk, you could use enough milk + 1 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice to make ¾ cup in this recipe. Sour cream will also work as a substitute.
Red food color: you can’t make red velvet cake red without red food color. I like using McCormick brand liquid red food color because I get a consistent red. You could try gel food color to reduce the amount you need to use, or beet powder if you want to go natural.
If you chose to use beet for your coloring, add enough to the wet ingredients to get a red liquid mixture (photo 3), start small and adjust as needed to your liking.
Oil: any flavorless oil will work in this recipe. I typically use vegetable or canola oil. Olive oil will work as well.
Cocoa powder: cocoa powder gives these cupcakes a light hint of chocolate. For this recipe either natural or Dutch-process, both will work fine.
Frosting: I prefer my red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for that signature tanginess. But I know some of you may not like cream cheese, in that case, try this swiss buttercream frosting.
Storing and making ahead
Can I keep these cupcakes on the counter overnight?
You can keep unfrosted cupcakes on the counter overnight. Be sure to cover them so they don’t dry out. However, if you have added frosting to your cupcakes, it is best to store them in the fridge since you don’t want to risk the frosting going bad.
How long do red velvet cupcakes last?
Frosted cupcakes will last up to a week if stored properly. You should definitely refrigerate frosting cupcakes. If you store them in an airtight container in the fridge, they could stay moist for up to a week.
How far in advance can I make these cupcakes?
While the cupcakes can last up to a week, I always prefer to make them just a day or two ahead so I can serve the freshest cupcakes to guests. If you worry about fridge space, make the cupcakes the night before, cover and keep them on the counter, then make the frosting the day of the party.
You don’t need to refrigerate frosted cupcakes if you plan to serve them within a few hours. However, during a hot day, you may want to refrigerate or at least keep them in a cool place so the frosting doesn’t melt. Any leftover should be stored in the fridge.
If you are planning to make the cupcakes a few days ahead of your event, I suggest you frost the cupcakes and refrigerate them. The frosting will act as a barrier to keep the cupcakes moist longer in this case.
Can I freeze red velvet cupcakes?
Yes, these cupcakes freeze well and will last for up to three months. Wrap them well to keep the freezer smell out. Thaw in the fridge overnight or on the counter for a couple of hours.
More cupcake recipes with cream cheese frosting
- Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes
- Lemon Cupcakes
- Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
- Carrot Cupcakes
- Strawberry Cupcakes
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, send me a photo, rate it and don’t forget to tag me @wildwildwhisk on Instagram. I’d love to see what’s cooking up in your kitchen. Cheers!
Red Velvet Cupcakes
- 12 oz cream cheese (room temperature, 340 g)
- 6 oz unsalted butter (room temperature, 170 g)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar (125 g)
Make the red velvet cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Line a regular size muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
- Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder into a medium mixing bowl. Add sugar and salt to the flour mixture, and mix thoroughly with a whisk. Set aside.
- Add buttermilk, oil, egg, vanilla extract, and red food color to a large bowl. Beat with a whisk until combined. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture, and whisk until a smooth batter forms.
- Divide batter evenly among twelve cupcake cavities using a large ice cream scoop and bake for 15 - 17 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean with just a few crumbs attached.
- Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 - 15 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the pan, and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before adding frosting.
Prepare the cream cheese frosting
- In a large mixing bowl or a stand mixer bowl, cream butter and cream cheese together until thoroughly mixed and creamy.
- Add vanilla extract and beat to combine.
- Add powdered sugar and stir until incorporated, gradually increase the mixer speed and beat until fluffy.
- Frost the cooled cupcakes using a pastry bag fitted with a round tip, or simply add frosting with an offset spatula or butter knife
- This recipe also makes over 2 dozens mini cupcakes. Reduce baking time to around 10 minutes.
- Vegetable oil, canola oil or olive oil will work in this recipe.
- If you don’t have buttermilk, use enough milk + 1 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice to make ¾ cup.
- I like using McCormick brand liquid red food color. You could try gel food color to reduce the amount you need to use, or beet powder if you wish to go natural.
- If using beet powder for your coloring, add enough to the wet ingredients to get a red liquid mixture to your liking.
This post was originally published on 6/7/2017. The post has been updated and republished on 1/31/2020 with the latest improvements, extra tips and process photos to help you in the kitchen.