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Red Velvet Cupcakes

by Nick Makrides
Published: Last Updated on

Red Velvet cupcakes are the love child of chocolate cupcakes and vanilla cupcakes! They’re soft, moist, and velvety with a slight cocoa flavor, which when paired with my tangy and not overly sweet Cream Cheese Frosting are a match made in heaven! No wonder these are my favorite recipe ever!

Red Velvet Cupcakes 22 - cupcake with wrapper taken off

Red Velvet Cupcakes are a strikingly deep red color and taste the love child of a chocolate and vanilla cupcake. They’re simple and easy to make and decorate, but somehow command the attention of everyone in the room when they sit on your dessert table.

How to get bright red cupcakes!

Use liquid food dye! Don’t use food gel, it’s not strong enough. When combined with the cocoa powder in the dry ingredients, these come out a deep red color. For a brighter red color use only 1 tbsp of cocoa powder.

Red Velvet Cupcakes 22 - batch 03

Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.

Ingredients To Make Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes 22 - ingredients list

Buttermilk – I would recommend using store bought buttermilk for this recipe. The result is better than making your own. However I have some info on how to make your own at home if you don’t have access to store bought in the frequently asked questions section of this post.

Vegetable oil – The oil in this recipe helps give these cupcakes added moisture. You can use either vegetable oil or sunflower oil.

Eggs – I used large eggs.

Vanilla ExtractAlways use good quality vanilla extract when baking, it makes a huge difference. I have a great recipe here for it if you’d like to try your own!

Liquid Red Food Dye – For this recipe, you need to use liquid food dye. Not food gel. To get that bright red color, you would have to use the entire bottle of red food gel. Trust me, I’ve tried it.

White Vinegar – the white vinegar reacts with the bicarb soda and helps give the better an extra boost in the oven as it bakes resulting in a fluffy cupcake! You can’t taste the vinegar.

Cake Flour – Cake flour will help give you a nice soft cake. If you’d like to learn how to make your own cake flour, check out my recipe here! Alternatively, you can use all-purpose flour instead.

Cocoa powder – I used unsweetened cocoa powder.

Baking powder – helps your cupcake batter rise.

Bicarb soda – helps give these cupcakes a fluffy texture as they bake and react with the vinegar.

Salt – I used fine salt.

Caster sugar – Caster sugar, also known as superfine sugar, is a fine sugar often used for cakes which helps give you a finer and more delicate cake crumb. If you don’t have it, you can use granulated sugar.

How to make Red Velvet Cupcakes!

Red Velvet Cupcakes 22 - instructional image 01

  1. Add the buttermilk, oil, vanilla, eggs, red food dye and vinegar to a jug and whisk together.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.

Red Velvet Cupcakes 22 - instructional image 02

  1. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and use a whisk to mix until no dry ingredients are showing.
  2. Scoop the batter into your cupcake tin lined with white cupcake liners, filling them up 3/4 of the way. Bake for 40 minutes on 120C.

Red Velvet Cupcakes 22 - instructional image 03

  1. Once baked, allow to cool down. Use a round or open star tip to pipe with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Red Velvet Cupcakes 22 - cupcake cut in half

PRO Tips and Tricks For Recipe Success!

  • Use a hand whisk to mix this batter to avoid overmixing!
  • When mixing this batter, make sure you scrape down the bottom and sides to make sure everything is mixed in evenly.
  • Take care when filling the cupcake liners. No more than 3/4 of the way.
  • Using an ice-cream scoop allows you to fill each cupcake liner the same amount which will mean they all bake at the same time.
  • Make sure you measure correctly! You should always use the spoon and level method when measuring dry ingredients. Simply spoon the flour and sugar into your measuring cups using a spoon then level off with something flat.

Red Velvet Cupcakes 22 - sitting on a stone bench

Frequently Asked Questions about Red Velvet Cupcakes!

Are Red Velvet Cupcakes chocolate flavored?

Slightly. They have cocoa powder added in them to help them get that nice deep red color. But they’re only lightly chocolate flavored. The result is a unique vanilla and light cocoa flavor, which when paired with my cream cheese frosting are simply divine!

How do I store these cupcakes?

You can make them up to two days in advance and keep them unfrosted in a container with the lid slightly off. This will prevent them from going too moist and coming away from the cupcake liners.

Store the frosted cupcakes in an airtight container for up to two days from the day they’re baked, in the fridge. I would not recommend freezing these cupcakes.

Can I turn this into a cake?

Yes! This recipe will make one 8-inch cake which can be then trimmed into two cake layers. Bake for the same amount of time. Alternatively, I have a great red velvet cake recipe here!

Why have my cupcakes spilled over in the oven?

This can happen for two reasons

You’ve overfilled your cupcake liners. If they cupcake batter spills out you can still save your cupcakes! Turn the cupcakes upside down and place on your bench. Use a round cookie cutter slightly bigger than the cupcake top to cut away the excess cupcake and back into a round shape.

Red Velvet Cupcakes 22 - batch 02

What happens when you overmix your batter?

You want to make sure you don’t overmix your batter. Mix only until no dry ingredients are showing. When you overmix your batter it can cause your cupcakes to:

  • Shrink as they cool down, which can cause your cupcake liners to separate from the cupcakes
  • Make your cupcakes chewy and dense.

What’s changed from the original recipe?

I’ve added white vinegar to help give these cupcakes a boost in the oven. I’ve also added more buttermilk to make these even more moist!

Why are these baked on such a low temperature?

I use the long and slow baking method. That means a low temperature for a longer amount of time. The result is a flat top cupcake which is easier to frost that doesn’t overbake and remains moist for days!

Can I make my own buttermilk?

Yes! To make 1 cup of your own buttermilk you will need:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk (250ml) (vegan, plant based or cow’s milk)
  • 1 tsp white vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice

Method

  1. Whisk both ingredients together and allow to rest for 5 minutes. The milk will curdle. Whisk again before using.

Couple more notes:

  • Can I just add though, store bought buttermilk is always better. I would use store bought if you can get it.
  • Also make sure your buttermilk is at room temperature.

What Frostings can I use with these cupcakes?

These cupcakes pair perfectly with my Cream Cheese Frosting, Chocolate Buttercream or Chocolate Ganache!

Gave these Red Velvet Cupcakes a go? Don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! Hungry for more? Join me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and TikTok for more great recipes!

If you loved this recipe, check these out!

Red Velvet Cupcakes 22 - pinterest image

Red Velvet Cupcakes 22 - square thumbnail 01

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Serves 20

4.68 from 31 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Red Velvet Cupcakes

  • 2 cups buttermilk (see notes)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil (or sunflower)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp red liquid food dye see notes
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 1/3 cups cake flour
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups caster sugar (see notes)


Instructions

Red Velvet Cupcakes

  • Preheat a fan forced oven to 120C / 250F. Line two cupcake trays with white cupcake liners. Set aside.
  • Add the buttermilk, oil, eggs, vanilla extract, red food dye and white vinegar to a large jug and whisk until well combined.
  • To a large mixing bowl, add the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarb soda, salt and caster sugar. Use a hand whisk to combine until no dry ingredients are showing. Scrape down the bowl and mix until no dry ingredients are showing.
  • Fill your cupcake liners up 3/4 of the way. Using an ice-cream scoop to transfer the batter to the cupcake liners makes this a quick and easy process, and ensures each liner contains the same amount of batter and that the cupcakes will bake evenly. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in a cupcake comes out clean. The cupcakes will look shiny and moist on top when they’re ready. If they bounce and don’t sink when you touch them, they’re done. Once baked, allow to cool completely.
  • These cupcakes are perfectly paired with my cream cheese frosting recipe, but are also nice with chocolate buttercream.

Notes

Storage
Red Velvet Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days. If it’s a warm day, store frosted cupcakes in the fridge.
Buttermilk
To make 1 cup of your own buttermilk you will need:
1 cup milk (250ml) (vegan, plant based or cow’s milk)
1 tsp white vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. Whisk both ingredients together and allow to rest for 5 minutes. The milk will curdle. Whisk again before using.
Couple more notes:
  • Can I just add though, store bought buttermilk is always better. I would use store bought if you can get it.
  • Also make sure your buttermilk is at room temperature.
Red Food Dye
For this recipe, you need to use liquid food dye. Not food gel. To get that bright red color, you would have to use the entire bottle of red food gel. Trust me, I’ve tried it.
Caster sugar
Caster sugar, also known as superfine sugar, is a fine sugar often used for cakes which helps give you a finer and more delicate cake crumb. If you don’t have it, you can use granulated sugar.
Serving suggestion
Frost these using cream cheese frosting or chocolate buttercream. They’re also nice as they are.

Nutrition

Calories : 124kcal
Carbonhydrates: 14g
Protein: 3g
Fat: 2g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g
Monounsaturated Fat : 0.5g
Trans Fat : 0.003g
Cholesterol: 27mg
Sodium: 192mg
Potassium : 87mg
Fiber: 1g
Sugar : 3g
Vitamin A: 76IU
Calcium: 59mg
Iron: 0.4mg
Nutrition Disclosure

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24 comments

jessica lipumano July 26, 2021 - 6:03 am

5 stars
hi.how to make buttermilk.thanks.

Reply
Nick Makrides July 27, 2021 - 6:30 am

Hi Jessica! It’s two tsp of vinegar or fresh lemon juice to one cup of milk. Full cream or skim. Mix it in. Let it rest for 5 minutes and then use 🙂 Hope that helps! Nx

Reply
Olivia December 5, 2021 - 1:55 am

4 stars
The taste is great but I used the 2 tbls of red color and they were still a brown color. D: I don’t think this was your fault but I added the entire bottle! But they do taste great.

Reply
Nick Makrides September 13, 2022 - 11:26 am

Food gel?

Reply
Rachelle January 22, 2022 - 4:45 am

5 stars
This recipe is so easy and the cupcakes turned out delicious. My kids hate dry cupcakes but they turned out super moist and were loved by all. The cream cheese frosting is the cherry on top. The kids say this is a repeat recipe 😊

Reply
Nick Makrides September 10, 2022 - 12:52 am

Aww! That’s so lovely to hear! N x

Reply
Mireya February 9, 2022 - 11:36 pm

5 stars
Hi! Thank you for the lovely recipe. Can I frost and then freeze the cupcakes? I’m making them two days in advance because I won’t have time to frost the day of. Thank you in advance!

Reply
Nick Makrides August 2, 2022 - 11:08 am

Hi Mireya! I would recommend frosting them fresh. The cupcakes can be frozen and thawed fully before frosting. Hope that helps! N x

Reply
Shubha Shirsat March 14, 2022 - 8:25 am

I want to half the recipe to make 10 red velvet cupcakes. How do I replace half the egg. I was thinking of adding 2 tablespoons of yogurt instead of the half egg. Will it work?

Reply
Nick Makrides April 28, 2022 - 3:17 am

Hi Shubha! Hmm, I havent tried it, but that’s actually a really great idea. If you try that, I’d be interested to know how it went. N x

Reply
Kulbir April 12, 2022 - 12:49 pm

HI Nick, love your website and the recipes 🙂 A couple of years ago you had put up an eggless red velvet cake or cupcake receipe and it was a hit. Any chance you could post it up again or let me know how I can substitute the eggs?

Reply
Nick Makrides April 26, 2022 - 12:38 pm

Hi Kulbir! Sure! Woring as hard as I can to get those recipes that have gone missing back up! Thanks for the kind words! N x

Reply
Katherine September 1, 2022 - 11:10 pm

1 star
Extremely disappointed with these cupcakes. The cupcakes overfilled and spewed out when baking. Followed the recipe EXACTLY – even weighted most ingredietns to be extra accurate. This recipe does not make 20 cupcakes – it makes at least 26 or 28. They are flat (and even when the overspilled when baking, they were still a flat mess), so that’s one positive thing. Just measurements seem way off.

I am baking a second lot (I had already prepared a second lot of mixture while the first lot were baking, otherwise I would not have bothered) and I have filled them slightly less than half full – I have 24 cupcakes with a decent amount of leftover mixture. Will bake for only 35 minutes.

The baked cupcakes are moist, but lacking in flavour. I will smother in creamcheese icing in an attempt to zhoosh up the flavour. I will use my own recipe for that because I’ve lost confidence any recipe on this channel will be good. He’s obviously good at presenting and decorating cakes, but the flavour and technical side are off 🙁

Reply
Nick Makrides September 5, 2022 - 3:50 am

5 stars
Hi Katherine. ‘He’ is named Nick. ‘He’ also reads the comments. Now that i’ve started off snarky, let me thank you for writing this comment. You didn’t just say, ‘these are bad’ you explained your experience. So I appreciate that. What’s confusing though is that these cupcakes have no flavor. They definitely do. Know how I know? Theres salt, sugar, vanilla and cocoa powder in them. So telling me that the cupcake lack flavor is ridiculous. What I think you mean is ‘you‘ don’t like the flavor. Which is 100% fine, no issues with that. I just wanted anybody reading this to understand that they do have flavor. Second, of the recipes on this site, and all are tested three times, this one is the one I’ve baked the most, after the vanilla cupcakes. I know this recipe works. I’ve been told countless times that it works by people who have made it. Rather than tell you that you’re wrong, I have some questions about your experience. While I have your attention though couple more things. This isn’t a channel, it’s a website. Specifically a food blog. If you were hoping for an ‘oh dear I’m so sorry you experience such trauma’ you won’t get it from me. I’m arrogantly confident (with reason) that my recipes work. I’m also not one to apologise for nonsense lol. I’m also not a robot.I think a lot of people think food bloggers are just going to break when they see a comment like this and spend their lives telling people that we’re wrong, you’re right. There is a real person behind this food blog and I’m not a push over who thinks every person who jumps into their kitchen and doesn’t like my recipe enough to write something like what you’ve written is going to cause me to ‘apologise in a panic’. Now, to the questions. How did the second batch go? What size is your muffin tray? What size are your liners? Also, did you know that baking powder and bicarb soda can vary in strength? That could be why your cupcakes over filled. Also, every oven is different lol. Here I am listing what sound like excuses, but frankly, this recipe like pretty much all on the internet rely on a few basic things. Look, I understand it’s disappointing when stuff like this happens, and if you had simply given me your feedback that would have been fine. But there are a couple ‘frustrated untruths’ in your comment and I don’t allow people to tell me my recipes lack flavor lol. I also know for a fact, this recipe works.

Reply
Nicole September 10, 2022 - 11:40 pm

5 stars
Hi Nick! I haven’t tried out the red velvet cupcake recipe yet (but I have tried the cake version which I absolutely adore and love making for friends and family!) but I was just wondering why white vinegar is used for the cupcakes and not the cake as well? And if one was to use the cake recipe for the cupcakes instead, what difference would it make? Thank you for sharing your amazing recipes and kindness! <3

Reply
Nick Makrides September 12, 2022 - 4:56 am

Love that you caught this! I will be updating the red velvet cake to include vinegar in the coming months. But for now, the recipe that’s up is fabulous! N x

Reply
Mónica Fernández September 13, 2022 - 3:23 pm

No consigo nunca los ingredientes con sus cantidades para poder hacerlo…..

Reply
Nick Makrides September 15, 2022 - 11:40 pm

¡Hola! Si buscas los ingredientes, están en la tarjeta de recetas a continuación. ¡También puedes cambiar entre medidas de peso y taza! ¡Espero que disfrutes la receta! N x

Reply
Jayne September 14, 2022 - 10:02 pm

5 stars
Hi Nick! I made the red velvet cupcakes the other day for the first time and while they tasted great they definitely weren’t perfect. I was determined to try again and figure out where I went wrong and then found the recipe had been updated. Tried the new recipe and they were spot on. The changes you have made definitely made a huge difference. Paired with your cream cheese frosting – so good! Thank you for another amazing recipe.

Reply
Nick Makrides September 15, 2022 - 11:41 pm

Oh that’s so amazing! SO happy to hear that Jayne! N x

Reply
Sobia Khalid September 16, 2022 - 12:23 pm

At what temperature should I bake these if I don’t happen to have a “fan forced oven”?

Reply
Nick Makrides September 17, 2022 - 12:30 am

Hi Sobia! When baking in an oven with no fan, as a general rule, you need to increase the oven temperature by 20C / 70F. So these would need to be baked at 140C / 285F. Hope that helps! N x

Reply
Carina September 18, 2022 - 3:56 pm

5 stars
Hi Nick!
I am going to try this recipe this week.
I have guests and I trust your recipes 100%
The cream cheese and all your tips are really good!
Thank you very much for your time and for sharing your knowledge!
Muchas gracias y un abrazo!

Reply
Nick Makrides September 18, 2022 - 11:59 pm

Yay! Can’t wait to hear what you think! N x

Reply

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