Red Velvet Cupcakes

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Mom’s red velvet cake recipe is now in cupcake form, combining the best parts of her red velvet layer cake into one perfect bite!

These red velvet cupcakes are a family favorite, using the same cake base our mom has been baking for over 30 years. The buttermilk cake has a hint of cocoa and the classic red color thanks to a bit of food dye. They’re topped with a creamy vanilla bean cream cheese frosting.

Red Velvet Cupcakes FAQ

Can I Use Natural Food Coloring Instead of Red Food Dye?

Yes, you can use natural alternatives like beetroot powder for a red color. Keep in mind the shade may vary. We used 2 oz of liquid food dye for the classic red.

Can I Substitute Buttermilk with Regular Milk?

Buttermilk adds texture and flavor, but you can substitute it with a mixture of milk and vinegar or lemon juice. For each cup of buttermilk, use 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice, then add enough milk to make 1 cup. Let it sit for a few minutes before using.

Can I Freeze the Cupcakes?

Yes, you can freeze the unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 2-3 months. Thaw them at room temperature before frosting and serving.

How Do I Prevent the Cupcakes from Sinking in the Middle?

Avoid overmixing the batter to prevent air pockets, and don’t open the oven door frequently during baking to avoid sudden temperature changes.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cooling Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 24



  • – 2 ½ cups cake flour 295 grams
  • – 1 ⅔ cups granulated sugar 333 grams
  • – 1 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder 12 grams
  • – 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • – 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • – 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • – 1 cup buttermilk
  • – 2 eggs
  • – 1 ⅓ cups vegetable oil or neutral oil
  • – 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • – 2 oz red food dye
  • – ¼ cup hot water

**Cream Cheese Icing:**

  • – 1 stick butter ½ cup
  • – 1 stick cream cheese 1 cup
  • – ¼ teaspoon salt
  • – ½ teaspoon almond extract optional
  • – 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • – 3-4 cups powdered sugar depending on desired stiffness


**Red Velvet Cupcakes:**

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 24 cupcake wells with liners. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until evenly combined. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the vanilla, buttermilk, eggs, and oil. Stir until combined.
  • Add the sugar and mix until combined.
  • Stir in the vinegar and food dye until evenly incorporated.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined.
  • Stir in the hot water. The batter will be thin.
  • Pour the batter into the 24 lined cupcake wells and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

**Cream Cheese Icing:**

  • In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the softened butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until fluffy (about 2 minutes).
  • Add the salt, almond extract (if using), and vanilla. Mix until combined.
  • On low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time.
  • Once all the sugar is added, increase speed to medium-high and whip until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
  • Spread or pipe the icing over the cooled cupcakes.

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