Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Love red velvet cake? Here it is in cupcake form! Classic red velvet cupcakes with a luscious cream cheese frosting.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Please welcome Simply Recipes guest contributor Garrett McCord. ~Elise

Red velvet cake is classic Americana cooking with its roots in the south. Deliciously festive, rich, flavorful, 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.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

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 with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

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  • Yield: Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 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.

Method

The cupcakes

1 Preheat the oven to 350°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 Beat 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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Garrett McCord

Garrett McCord is a professional writer and recipe developer whose work has appeared in many print and online publications such as Gourmet Live, Saveur, Huffington Post, Smithsonian, and NPR. Past clients also include numerous food companies, wineries, and distilleries. Garrett writes about cocktails on his website, Coupe de Grace.

More from Garrett

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Showing 4 of 132 Comments

  • Sharlene

    I have loved all the recipes on this site, but unfortunately this one fell short for me. I followed the recipe to the tee, except I made two 8 inch rounds instead of cupcakes, but the cake came out very dry. My only guess is that I used Canadian cake and pastry flour — perhaps it works differently than the US version.

    The icing however was a delight and I would use this cream cheese icing recipe again in the future.

  • Erin

    How many cupcakes will this make? I want to bake 2 dozen

  • Reen Bau

    Hi. How long can RVCs be left at room temp? Should I frost them right away or I should wait before they’re about to be served?

  • Reen Bau

    Can I use bright red food coloring instead of just Red?

  • Isabel

    Here in my country we only have all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour. Is there any way I can make cake flour? Thanks!

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