There’s something so addictive about cream cheese frosting; sweetness is tempered with a bit of tang, the texture is creamy and luscious and it’s something you can whip up in a few minutes. I love this frosting on nearly everything but a slightly chocolatey cake creates a special combination known as red velvet!
How to make red velvet cupcakes
- To make the cupcakes; preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place cupcake papers in a cupcake pan. In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients (including the sugar) into the bowl of a stand mixer and give it a whisk.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until they are well combined, then add some red food coloring. (The batter may be clumpy but do not worry).
- Cut the butter into tablespoon sized dollops and add it to the dry ingredients in the stand mixer and beat together. This should get you a sort of crumbly mixture.
- With your mixer running on low, add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and mix until everything is incorporated.
- You may want to add a dash or two more of red food coloring until you reach the desired color.
- Distribute the batter evenly into the cupcake papers and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cupcakes are golden and springy to the touch.
- For the cream cheese frosting; start off by sifting the confectioners sugar into a large bowl so there are not any lumps.
- Cream the room temperature butter in a standing mixer with a paddle attachment on medium speed until it is nice and smooth.
- Add the cream cheese and beat together until they’re combined then add the vanilla and salt. Slowly add the sifted confectioners sugar in cups and mix until combined.
pro tips for this recipe
- Measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour to the recipe is the most common mistake. The best, and easiest way to measure flour is by using a scale. If you don’t have one then fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off.
- Do not over-mix the batter! The key to a light fluffy cupcake is mixing until Just combined, otherwise you’ll activate the gluten in the flour and your cupcake will be dense and gummy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do red velvet cupcakes taste like?
Red velvet cupcakes will taste like cream cheese frosting with a slightly chocolatey cupcake base. Many recipes omit the cocoa powder so the red appears brighter but a traditional red velvet cake and cupcake will have some chocolate in the batter.
Are they just chocolate flavor?
Red velvet recipes will usually have buttermilk in the batter which reacts with the sodium bicarbonate to create a fluffier and lighter cake. The acid in the butter milk will react with the cocoa powder to create a slightly pink hue. Most modern recipes add red food coloring for a more vibrant base.
How do you make them the easy way?
The easiest way to make red velvet cupcakes would be to add some red food coloring to your favorite box cake mix and then whip up some cream cheese frosting for the top. Making a cupcake from scratch is hardly more effort than whipping up some prepackaged batter so I highly recommend going the from scratch route!
How long do they keep?
Unfrosted cupcakes will keep for 1-2 days in an airtight container at room temperature. You can freeze cupcakes for a few weeks as ling as they’re well wrapped. Because the cream cheese frosting has quite a bit of dairy product in it you should not leave a frosted cupcake out at room temperature for more than a few hours.
If you’ve tried this red velvet cupcake recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you!
Red Velvet Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes:
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour 215g
- 2 tsp cocoa powder 5g
- 1 cup granulated sugar 200g
- 1/4 tsp baking soda 1g, heaping
- 1 tsp baking powder 4g, heaping
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt 1g, heaping
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter 170g, room temperature
- 3 eggs room temperature
- 2 Tbsp vanilla extract 30mL
- 3/4 cup buttermilk 177mL
- red food coloring
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 3 sticks unsalted butter 340g, room temperature
- 1 ½ lb confectioners sugar 550g, sifted
- 16 oz cream cheese 455g, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract 5mL
- 1 pinch kosher salt
For the Cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place cupcake papers in a cupcake pan.
- In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together (including the sugar). Give it a whisk to combine.
- Cut the room temperature butter into tablespoon-sized pieces then add to the dry mixture then mix on low using a paddle attachment until a sandy mixture forms.
- In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and food coloring.
- Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients while mixing on low. Mix until combined, scraping the bowl down as needed.
- Distribute the batter evenly into cupcake papers.
- Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes or until springy to the touch.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Cream the butter. Sift confectioners sugar into a large bowl.
- Add room temperature cream cheese to the creamed butter. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt. Beat together.
- Add the confectioners sugar a cup at a time. Mix until combined. If you’re wanting a stiffer buttercream, keep adding more sifted confectioners sugar until it’s stiff or chill the buttercream a bit before piping.
- Transfer buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe large dollops on top of each cupcake.