Red Velvet Cupcakes

There are days when I feel like baking something fancy and complicated. The kinds of recipes that feature ingredients you normally wouldn’t think to put together, yet they work fantastically perfect in the end. Those intense recipes, are what makes cooking fun, and exciting. They turn the doldrum days into something enjoyable and fascinating. Usually, those are the days, when I feel ideas are spilling out of my mind and I have to cook to keep up. But then of course there are days when simple, and classic is everything. The days when I’m feeling lazy and just want to make something sweet, fast and simple. After all, less is more. I thought I would feature a classic cupcake that everyone loves. A red velvet.

The fact that these cupcakes have become so popular in the last couple years, has made it an instant classic. All the more reason why I decided to feature it in a post. All those of you who love these particular cupcakes, and have been searching far and wide, long and hard, for a moist red velvet cake recipe, look no further because this one is for you. Whether we are foodies, cooks, chefs, beginners, experienced or not, it is always important for us to take a day, step back, and go revert to the basics in the kitchen, to touch up on our skills and appreciate the simple joys in life. These cupcakes were definitely enjoyed.

Lets get started:

**Before we get started, I have to give a side note. In the photographs below, I cut the recipe in half to stop myself from eating a truck-load of cupcakes. So it’ll appear to be minimal ingredients, but keep in mind that the recipe in the end will be full in its entirety**

Throw the butter and sugar into a bowl of a mixer.

Cream together on high-medium speed until light and creamy…no, fluffy.

While the butter and sugar are creaming, mix the dry ingredients.

       Cake Flour                         Baking Powder


 Salt                                            Mix


Set aside and shift your focus back to the creaming butter and sugar.

Throw in the eggs. One at a time.

Add in some vanilla extract.

Mix again.

Grab the cocoa powder.

Somewhere out there my chocoholic sister is happy right now….and I bet she doesn’t know why.

Mix the cocoa powder with the red food coloring.

Do not, buy the watered down “food coloring” from the grocery store. Those don’t really work and make the batter look like pink velvet. These aren’t pink velvet cupcakes, they are RED VELVET!

I buy the gel food coloring from Michaels, you’ll add less to recipes when you use it and the color is much better.

Mix until well combined and smooth.

If your mixture is too thick, add a little drizzle of water and mix.

Throw the coloring and cocoa combo into the creamed butter and sugar.

He hadn’t made an appearance in a while. What can I say? He’s an attention hog.

Mix together, until combined.

Now we are going to add the dry ingredients and buttermilk, alternating between the two.

Make sure to start and end with the flour mixture.

Dry and wet. Dry and wet. Dry and wet. You get the point.

Mix after each, just until combined. Do not over mix, as this might create a tough cupcake.

And I know I don’t like tough dry cupcakes, do you?  Nope, probably not.

Once the batter has come together, we just have one more step to go.

We’re almost there. We’re almost there.

No red velvet cake is complete without a little vinegar. I always like using apple cider vinegar. The taste is better.

Mix your baking soda and apple cider vinegar together.

This step is really cool; after it foams and sizzles, the baking soda will dissolve. Add it to the batter.



Mix or fold into the cake batter, making sure everything is well combined.

We’re now ready to scoop out the batter into the cupcake pans.

I like to use a small 1/4 capacity ice cream scoop to portion out my batter into my cupcake pans. This allows all my cupcakes to be the same size and bake evenly.



Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven. Until the center is cooked through and a toothpick, inserted, comes out clean.

As the cupcakes bake, work on the cream cheese frosting.

Red Velvet and Cream Cheese frosting just go hand in hand. You simply must have a cream cheese frosting with a red velvet cupcake. There is no other way around it. And since we’re making a classic, that is what we are doing.

We’re starting off with room temperature butter and cream cheese.

Cream together until light and fluffy.

Once you’ve reached that point, add in the powdered sugar.

And vanilla extract.

Beat on high speed until creamy and smooth.

That’s three already. He’s making sure to appear as much as he possibly can.

Once the cupcakes have cooked through, come out of the oven, and cooled completely on a cooling rack, they are ready to be frosted.

Grab a piping bag with a simple round tip.

You can also just use a small metal spatula or butter knife to swirl on the frosting.

I decided to be a little fawncy (you have to say fancy like that) fawncy and use a piping bag.

Just a beauty shot, I couldn’t pass up.

Scoop the frosting into the pastry bag.

For red velvet cupcakes I like doing a simple flat swirl. In a circular motion starting from the edge, go around with the bag until the top of the cupcake is completely covered.



You would think that our cupcakes are ready now, and that you could easily just eat one at this point. However, knowing me, I like to make it a little more presentable by adding a little something more to the top.

It needs a little pop of color. Luckily I reserved one red velvet cupcake, unfrosted.

Unwrap the lonely cupcake and crumble, using your hands, into small crumbs. Sprinkle the red velvet crumbs onto the tops of each frosted cupcake.



There is actually wax paper on the counter, makes for easier clean-up for jobs like this.

Okay, now they are completed.

These cupcakes are really easy to make, and are very moist. The buttermilk and cake flour, definitely help this factor out. Try swapping out these ingredients in all your favorite cake recipes that call for all-purpose flour and plain ol’ milk.

Enjoy this simple, yet classic, recipe!



  1. avatar says

    My sister (who lives in Alhambra) is the one famous (at least in our immediate family) for her Red Velvet cake…I can say, it truly is delicious! But with this recipe, get ready for competition, Gracie! 😉 LOL!
    Thanks for this recipe…

  2. avatarKatie says

    This looks so amazing, I must try these… Plus, I always wondered how one makes frosting, so another plus :)

    Now, I only know food coloring in tiny little packages, that wouldn’t even color half a cupcake… Is that food coloring you use completely liquid? I must go to a store and describe it to some salesperson, though I fear that is simply something we don’t have here (yet)…

    • avatar says

      @Katie Thanks you. Good luck with the frosting! The food coloring I used is a gel form, not liquid at all. I found it at Michaels. The brand is Wilton’s. You might also find it at Amazon :) I hope you guys get some soon!

  3. avatar says

    LOVE the recipe! Thank You! Could you tell me how long these would keep? Would love to fly them down with me when I visit my daughter in college. Do they need refrigeration?

    • avatar says

      @RoseDeVita Thank you for reading! Glad you liked! These will keep for up to a week refrigerated. Just bring them down to room temp when you eat them. BUT they don’t need to be refrigerated, they will definitely last a couple days in an airtight container, when you visit your daughter! Let me know how they turn out!

  4. avatarALex says

    Looks great!

    In the instructions after the ingredients list, it says to ‘cream shortening’. I’m assuming that should be butter?

  5. avatarSarrina says

    Just made these…. they don’t even have frosting on them yet and I couldn’t resist eating one.. AMAZING! These came out so much better than the last recipe I used for red velvet (though I think all the ingredients are the same). Just wanted to say I used one container of liquid red food coloring from the supermarket… and they aren’t as deep a red as yours but not too bad. Also used red wine vinegar (because I forgot to by vinegar and it’s all my friends had) and I’m not sure if that changed much but they seriously taste unreal.

    FINALLY I have that same piggy spatula….he’s perfect.

    Love your blog went through all of it this morning…definitely will be making more of your recipes.


    • avatar says

      Wow! Thank you so much for making them, and for sharing! I love to hear people trying out the recipes. So glad you enjoyed them! Hope the rest made it to the frosting stage 😉

      And yes, I have to agree with you, Mr. Piggy Spat is the best!

      Thanks again for reading! Hope you come back soon!

  6. avatarmaryam says

    i just found this blog…and i love it …would love to try this receipe…i never get the red too look as bright as urs. Please let me know how many containers of WILTON food colouring did u use.

  7. avatarSometimesElla says

    I’m confused. You say in the directions to cream the butter, sugar and eggs. And then later in the directions it says to add the eggs one at a time…

  8. avatarKIMMY says

    Made this cake twice the first time I forgot to put two cups of flour and only added 1 1/4…This cake is delicious..and really velvety!!…one thing though the particular brand of food colouring is extremely bitter in taste and over powered everything.. so my second attempt I changed the brand of food colouring…and it was just fine…love this recipe.

  9. avatarRose says

    I ended up making these at my daughter’s apartment for her recital so no transportation issues. They were SUCH a smash hit that I didn’t even get to taste one. Instead of crumbling up some baked ones I made the icing and added chocolate G clefs that I molded out of dark chocolate and they looked adorable. I can’t thank you enough for sharing this wonderful recipe. I keep getting requested to make them again and next time I will be sure to try one.

  10. avatarcassie says

    WOW!!! AMAZING step by step recipe! Thanks sooo much for sharing :) i just wanted to make sure so for the christmas red and no taste red, you didn’t see a colour difference in the red, did it turn out to be the same?

  11. avatarAlexandra de Matos says

    First of all, let me tell you how much I love your blog. It’s amazing, I love how you make your step-by-step recipes, with the beautiful photos and the easy instructions.
    Secondly, I am thinking about making a Red Velvet Cake for my friend’s birthday, and I was wondering if the recipe is the same as the red velvet cupcakes, only with bigger portions?

    I’m sorry if I’m bugging you with this, but from all of the recipes I’m tried from your blog, none have failed me before, so I wanted to use your recipe to make the cake.

    Hugs from a fan in Portugal!

    • avatar says

      Thank you so much!! The recipe is exactly the same, I just double the recipe when I make a birthday layered cake!

      No not bugging me at all. Thank you for trying the recipes. I hope this one works out for you as well!

      Good luck, and let me know how it turns out.

  12. avatarsarah says

    hi, just wondering, where is your pastry bag from, i was looking to get a new one but i havent been able to find one that is made of cloth

    • avatar says

      Hello. Hmm, I got that bag from Williams Sonoma. But I’ve also seen them at Michaels, Sur La Table, and World Market. I love using the cloth ones. They are heavy duty and last a long time!

  13. avatarAntonia says

    Hi the recipe is fantastic and so the steps I am just a little puzzled about the amount of red you used, in the recipe says 2 ounces which is equivalent to 2 entire bottles. Is it correct or it was a typing mistake?
    Thanks, Antonia from UK

  14. avatarsarah says

    Hiya, I just wondered if i were to make this into a whole cake recipe… how would you adjust the timings? I have made the cupcakes and they were beautiful but need to do a big showstopper cake :)

    • avatar says

      Hello! Well it depends on what size cake pans you are using. For 8-inch pans you’ll bake them for about 25-30 minutes. For 9-inch pans 28-35 minutes. And for 10-inch pans 35-40 minutes. Each time rotating half-way through to ensure even browning :) I hope this helps! And good luck with the showstopper!! I’m sure everyone will love it!!

  15. avatarrachel says

    just wondering, do we HAVE to use cake flour? i only have all purpose flour and i didn’t quite want to buy a whole new bag of cake flour S: i really want to make these cupcakes though!

    • avatar says

      Not at all. I’ve been in your shoes before. I’ve actually made this recipe with all-purpose flour on many times (when I’ve been too lazy to go to the market for just cake flour) and it’s come out just as delicious!

  16. avatarkylee robinson says

    Let me just say that I am EXTREMELY picky about my cupcakes and the moistness/fluffiness (it took me a week and trying 5 recipes to find the perfect vanilla recipe). Based on this I thought I would have the same problem finding the perfect Red Velvet recipe! Well, I didnt….this was the first one I tried and it is absolutely perfect!! Thank you!

  17. avatarGillian says

    Hi – I just want to check on this, since I’m seeing some contradictory information and I want to make sure this turns out perfectly. In the recipe you call for 2 tbsp of cocoa and 2 oz of food coloring. This makes sense to me – I did a blue velvet recipe today and it called for the same ratio of cocoa to food coloring (1:1). However in one of the comments you say it should be one ounce of food coloring…which makes me think the paste would be too thick. So I’m going to stick with the original recipe…unless you tell me 100% for sure that it should only be 1oz of food coloring :)

    • avatar says

      Sorry about that. I think the comment was referring to a different type of food coloring, the liquid as a oppose to the gel variety. Please do the 2 tbsp of cocoa to the 2 oz food coloring.

  18. avatarEva says

    I love making red velvet cupcakes but I never get a bright red color. I’m so happy I found you! Going to make these tonight but I have one question. Do I use white distilled vinegar? Thank you!

  19. avatarChentelle says

    I was just wondering, could you do the exact same method & ingredients, buy instead just leave out the redness & cocoa to make vanilla cupcakes!


Leave a Reply