Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Please welcome Simply Recipes guest contributorĀ Garrett McCord. ~Elise

Red velvet cake is classic Americana cooking with its roots in the south. Deliciously festive, moist, flavorful, and maybe a hint of playful tackiness it’s a dessert that has gained newfound popularity in bakeries coast to coast.

If you haven’t had it before red velvet is like yellow cake but with a little kiss on the cheek of chocolate. The red color can come from beets or even strawberries but personally I unapologetically prefer red food dye and in large quantities as it does a better job of disguising the brown chocolate without altering the flavor. Be sure to be careful when putting this recipe together as the batter can stain, so you may not want kids putting it together (better to put them on frosting duty).

Adapted into little red cupcakes and topped with a dollop of cream cheese frosting, they make for a colorful and tasty dessert for late winter picnics and are especially sweet for Valentine’s Day or for the Fourth of July if adorned with some blueberries.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

  • Yield: Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes.


  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 1/3 cups of cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons of Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of buttermilk*
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of distilled white vinegar

Frosting ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 8 oz of Philly cream cheese (1 package), room temperature
  • 2 - 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

*You can make your own buttermilk by adding a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar to milk and letting it stand for about 10 minutes.


The cupcakes

1 Preheat the oven to 350Ā°F. Beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixer for 3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy.

2 Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

3 In a large bowl, sift together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla extract, and red food coloring.

4 Add a fourth of the dry ingredients and mix, then add a third of the wet. Continue adding in a dry, wet, dry pattern, ending with the dry ingredients.

5 Scoop into cupcake papers, about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Rotate the pan after the first 15 minutes of baking to ensure even baking.

6 Allow to cool for one minute in the pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

The Frosting

1 Cream the butter and cream cheese together, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

2 Add the vanilla extract and mix.

3 Add the powdered sugar, continually taste to get to desired sweetness. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

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Showing 4 of 134 Comments

  • Sam

    *glances at clock* 2:42 a.m.? Darn, nothing should look so delectable at such a time. How many stores are open right now? That frosting, especially, looks too perfect to pass up. Maybe I can sneak into the kitchen without waking anyone else up…

  • Susan from Food Blogga

    My first experience with red velvet cake was at a wedding in North Carolina. It was very Steel Magnolias. I still haven’t made it myself, but these cupcakes may have convinced me to give it a try. They’re lovely.

  • Paz

    Awesome! I’ve never tasted Red Velvet Cake. I love the description, “… like yellow cake but with a little kiss on the cheek of chocolate.” Love it! I’ve gotta and will try this recipe soon. THANKS!


  • Rose

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I’ve combed the internet for a Red Velvet *Cupcake* recipe, but never found one I trusted enough to try. If it’s on Simply Recipes, though, I know I can’t go wrong. Thank you, Elise and Garrett.

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