The BEST Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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These red velvet cupcakes are perfectly moist cake with the most beautiful and deep red color. They are topped with classic cream cheese frosting, and once you eat one, you will agree that these are the best!

Cupcakes are the perfect dessert for any occasion. For other delightful cupcake recipes, try these banana cupcakes, these amazing lemon blueberry cupcakes, and especially these pineapple upside-down cupcakes!

A red velvet cupcake on a platter with cream cheese frosting and red velvet crumbs on top.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

With how many cupcake recipes are out there, I still haven’t found one that I didn’t like! Cupcakes are so yummy and can be mixed and matched with so many flavors, toppings and frostings that they are different every time! Plus, my kids go crazy over them, so it’s a no-brainer to make these for dessert! These red velvet cupcakes are one of my absolute favorite cupcake recipes!

There was a time when I was making a new red velvet cake recipe every weekend. I tried recipe after recipe, and none compared to this one. It is a light cake with a beautiful red color and a slight chocolate flavor. I top these cupcakes with my go-to cream cheese frosting recipe and the cream cheese flavor is the perfect match for red velvet. This has been my go-to red velvet cupcake recipe for years and years, and I’m sure it will become your favorite too.

Ingredients to Make Red Velvet Cupcakes

This recipe uses staple pantry ingredients that you probably already have on hand! Which makes it easy because then you can make these all the time! And trust me, after your kids devour them off of your counter in 2 seconds flat, you will need all of the stuff to make a second batch for yourself!

Cake

  • Flour: I used all-purpose flour for this recipe.
  • Baking Soda and Baking Powder: These ingredients help the cake rise and get that moist, sponge like texture.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: This is what makes red velvet cake, the cocoa powder brings in that small, subtle chocolate flavor.
  • Granulated Sugar: This sweetens up the batter.
  • Salt: The salt is used to enhance all of the other flavors in the cupcakes.
  • Buttermilk: You can use storebought or homemade buttermilk for this recipe!
  • Vegetable Oil: This will give the cupcakes a moist texture.
  • Egg: Let your egg sit out at room temperature before you start mixing. It will combine with the other ingredients better if it’s not cold.
  • White Vinegar: This interacts with the baking soda to help leaven the cake (to help it rise without yeast)
  • Vanilla Extract: This enhances the sweet ingredients in the cupcake batter.
  • Liquid Red Food Coloring: This is how you will get that deep, beautiful red color!

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Butter: Use unsalted butter that has been softened to room temperature.
  • Cream Cheese: This should also be softened to room temperature. It will mix better and make it so that your frosting doesn’t have any lumps!
  • Salt: This enhances all of the flavors!
  • Vanilla Extract: This will add a sweet flavor to mix in with the tangy cream cheese.
  • Powdered Sugar: You use powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar because it dissolves into the frosting making it nice and smooth.
  • Milk: I used 2% but any milk is fine! Use more if the frosting is too thick. 

How to Make Red Velvet Cupcakes

Making red velvet cupcakes from scratch is a lot easier than you would think! These are simple and come together quickly, making them a great go-to dessert to impress any guest!

Cupcakes

  1. Preheat and Prep: Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a muffin pan with pan spray and line with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. Mix Dry Ingredients: In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder. Add the sugar and salt to the flour mixture and whisk thoroughly. Set aside.
  3. Whisk Flour Mixture with Wet Ingredients: In a large bowl whisk together the buttermilk, oil, egg, vinegar, vanilla and red food coloring until well combined. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  4. Fill Liners and Bake: Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners and fill them 2/3 of the way full. Bake them for 18-20 minutes. The cupcakes are done when you press on the center of the set cupcake and it springs back. Let cool completely before frosting. 

Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Mix and Pipe: In a large bowl, mix together butter, cream cheese, salt and vanilla until smooth. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition. If frosting is too thick, add a little milk. If you are planning to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes, you want it thick enough to hold its shape.
4 pictures showing how to mix up the batter with red food coloring and then place them in a cupcake tin.

Baking Tips

These red velvet cupcakes are so delicious, and I want yours to turn out perfectly! Here are a few baking tips to help you out!

  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Start by setting out your ingredients before you start baking. Baking with room temperature ingredients helps when mixing the ingredients together and it creates a smooth batter and frosting! 
  • Thick Frosting: If your frosting is too thick to pipe, then slowly add more milk (1 tablespoon at a time) until it reaches your desired consistency!
  • Don’t Open the Oven Door: If you open the oven too soon, it releases too much hot air. This makes it so that your cupcakes bake unevenly. If you need to check on things then use the oven light!
The top view of a red velvet cupcake with red velvet crumbs sprinkled on top.

How to Make Cupcakes Ahead of Time

If you want to make these ahead of time, you totally can! That makes your life easier to just grab them and go when you are ready!

  1. Making Ahead of Time: Just cook them according to the directions. Once they are cooled then you can store them in your refrigerator for a day or two. When you are ready to serve them, take them out of the fridge so they can come down a bit in temperature. Make the frosting while they are coming to room temperature and then frost them just before serving!
  2. Leftovers: Store any leftovers in your refrigerator in an airtight container. They will last 2-3 days.
A red velvet cupcake being cut into with a gold fork on a white plate.

The BEST Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

4.2 from 5 votes
These red velvet cupcakes are perfectly moist cake with the most beautiful and deep red color. They are topped with classic cream cheese frosting, and once you eat one, you will agree that these are the best!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon liquid red food coloring

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 4 Ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon Milk plus more if needed

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a muffin pan with pan spray and line with cupcake liners and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder. Add the sugar and salt to the flour mixture and whisk thoroughly. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the buttermilk, oil, egg, vinegar, vanilla and red food coloring until well combined. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  • Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners until they are filled 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, just until the centers of the cupcakes are set and spring back when gently pressed on. Let cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • In a large bowl, mix together butter, cream cheese, salt and vanilla until smooth. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition. If frosting is too thick, add a little milk. If you are planning to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes, you want it thick enough to hold its shape.

Notes

Updated on February 12, 2022
Originally Posted on February 3, 2017

Nutrition

Serves: 12

Calories302kcal (15%)Carbohydrates47g (16%)Protein3g (6%)Fat12g (18%)Saturated Fat7g (35%)Polyunsaturated Fat1gMonounsaturated Fat3gTrans Fat1gCholesterol46mg (15%)Sodium174mg (7%)Potassium87mg (2%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar36g (40%)Vitamin A409IU (8%)Calcium42mg (4%)Iron1mg (6%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword red velvet cupcakes
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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  1. Can you freeze the cupcakes? I am planning a 80th birthday party for my dad and have lots to do. I would like to make these the weekend before and freeze them and then frost them the day of the party. Will this work?

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