Red Velvet Cupcakes


There’s something absolutely delicious about red velvet cupcakes. Maybe it’s the tanginess of the buttermilk, or the sweetness of the cream cheese frosting, but these red velvet cupcakes are decadent without being over the top heavy. I’m a huge fan of cupcakes: the airy, fluffy base topped with frosting, icing, glaze, you name it! I love the handheld aspect of a cupcakes and the endless varieties they come in. I tested this particular recipe several times, each time perfecting that perfect balance of tang and chocolate, resulting in this recipe. I will also say this recipe comes with a standard cream cheese frosting recipe because no red velvet cupcake recipe is complete without a cream cheese frosting adorned the top.

Fun fact: the term red velvet derives from the blend of the vinegar, cocoa powder, and buttermilk. In fact, the color of “red velvet” isn’t technically bold red. It’s more of a brownish-red, hence these cupcakes. I did add several drops of red food coloring, but the color from this batch is pretty much formed from the science between the vinegar and the buttermilk, as well as the cocoa powder. I swear, I would never have guessed I love baking this much. Red velvet doesn’t really have a flavor, it takes on a chocolatey, tangy, and tart flavor profile with the addition of the cream cheese frosting. You could essentially make any “velvet” cake with whatever type of food color you use. The choice is yours, just be sure to add the vinegar and buttermilk and you’ve got your velvet profile.

Substitutions for Red Velvet Cupcakes:

  • Flour: I opted to make these with Bob’s Red Mill organic All Purpose flour, but you can definitely use a gluten free version or a cake flour. Cake flour is a super fine milled flour and is perfect for baking these red velvet cupcakes. I will be testing these out with this flour soon!
  • Sugar: Regular cane sugar works perfectly, but you can try coconut sugar! I use coconut sugar for my healthy vanilla funfetti cupcakes (newly updated version coming soon!) and they are super delish!
  • Butter or Oil? I prefer to make these cupcakes with butter and cream the butter with sugar, but you can opt for 1 cup of your preferred oil, just be sure it is a neutral flavored oil. I do not recommend coconut oil for this recipe. As always, I am a lover of Organic Valley products, so for this recipe I used one stick of Organic Valley’s unsalted butter.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

A timeless recipe: red velvet cupcakes! Tangy, tart, and chocolatey, and topped with homemade cream cheese frosting.



  • 192 grams all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter 1 stick room temperature
  • 200 grams cane sugar
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 6 oz butter very soft!
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/8 cup buttermilk or half and half
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 170 grams powdered sugar (1 1/2 cups)


For the Cupcakes

  1. Spray liners in a muffin tin and preheat oven to 350°. Beat sugar and butter until creamy.
  2. Add in eggs one at a time and vanilla extract. Add the sour cream, buttermilk, vinegar and whisk until incorporated.  Add 3-4 drops of the red food coloring and whisk until the batter becomes red.
  3. To the wet ingredients, add half the flour mix.  Add rest of mix and whisk to just combine the ingredients.  Do not overmix. Fill the muffin miners 1/2 the way full.
  4. Bake 350° for 18m. Rotate the rack halfway.

For the cream cheese frosting

  1. Add the cream cheese and butter to a bowl and mix until smooth.
  2. Pour in the vanilla, powdered sugar, and milk and whisk until smooth. Let sit for 30 minutes before frosting cupcakes.

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