Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

The photos were updated and the recipe slightly updated for this post in January 2020.

What is it about red velvet that people love so much? The dessert has surged in popularity over the past few years and The Hummingbird Bakery sell around 440,000 Red Velvet Cupcakes every year! I’ve made Red Velvet Cupcakes a few times in the past, so I really wanted to share my recipe with you as it is absolutely delicious, and it’s such a perfect dessert for Valentine’s Day, or any day!

My two favourite things about red velvet are firstly the bright vibrant colour – it’s so attractive and appealing. Secondly – cream. cheese. frosting! Need I say more?! Cream cheese frosting is absolutely heavenly! If you want to find the way to my heart, presenting me with some Red Velvet Cupcakes is a pretty good way to start!

These Red Velvet Cupcakes are so light and fluffy, and the cream cheese frosting on top is an absolute dream! It’s super thick and perfectly pipeable – which can be tricky using UK ingredients as we don’t have the same kind of cream cheese as the USA do. But I’ve found method to make it work and I’m excited to share it with you!

How to make Red Velvet Cupcakes…

To make the cupcakes I whisked together the butter and sugar, then I whisked in the eggs and vanilla extract.

I whisked in the buttermilk, red food colouring, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa powder and self raising flour until smooth. Then I divided the mixture between the cupcake cases. I decided to use white cases so the red of the sponge could be seen through the sides. They baked for 20 minutes, then I put them on a rack to cool fully.

To make the cream cheese frosting I mixed together butter and icing sugar, then added cream cheese and vanilla extract and mixed until smooth. I piped the frosting on top of the cupcakes, then added some cake crumbs to decorate.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

What is the best food colouring to use?

To get a bright red shade that remains strong after the cupcakes are baked you need to use a professional grade gel food colouring. You can buy these easily from many online shops, including amazon. I used the brand Pro Gel for these cupcakes.

Can this recipe be made into a cake?

For a cake version of this recipe, check out my Red Velvet Cake!

What if you can’t get hold of buttermilk?

If you can’t hold of buttermilk, you can use the same amount of milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice added, leave it for a few minutes until it goes lumpy then it’s ready to use!

Can the Red Velvet Cupcakes be frozen?

You can freeze the cupcakes either alone, or decorated. Once the cupcakes are fully cool, wrap them well with cling film or put them in an airtight container. You can freeze the cream cheese frosting on itโ€™s own in a tub, or you can decorate the cupcakes and freeze them assembled.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Tips for making the Red Velvet Cupcakes:

  • I used a Wilton 1M piping nozzle to pipe on the frosting.
  • If you want to use plain flour instead of self raising, you will need to add 1 tsp baking powder to the recipe.
  • Make sure to store these cupcakes in the fridge once they’ve been frosted.
Red Velvet Cupcakes

Recommended Equipment and Ingredients*

Red food colouringElectric hand mixerCupcake tin
Heart sprinklesCooling rackWilton 1M Piping nozzle
White cupcake cases 

*I earn a small amount of money if you buy the products after clicking on the links. You will not be charged anything extra for this. Thank you for supporting The Baking Explorer!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

More Red Velvet recipes…

Red Velvet CakeRed Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
Red Velvet Cheesecake (No Bake)Halloween Red Velvet CakeRed Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
Red Velvet TraybakeBleeding Brain Cupcakesย Red Velvet Cake
Red Velvet TraybakeBleeding Brain CupcakesRed Velvet Cake
Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red velvet cupcakes and cream cheese frosting
5 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cupcake
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 12
Author: thebakingexplorer


For the sponge

  • 150 g Butter or baking spread
  • 150 g Caster sugar
  • 2 Eggs large
  • 85 ml Buttermilk
  • 165 g Self raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Red food colouring I use Pro Gel

For the cream cheese buttercream

  • 135 g Butter unsalted, softened
  • 135 g Icing sugar
  • 270 g Full fat cream cheese I use Philadelphia
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla


  • Pre-heat your oven to 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and line a cupcake tin with cupcake cases
  • Mix the butter and sugar together until fluffy, ideally with an electric mixer, or you can mix in a bowl with a wooden or silicone spoon
  • Add the eggs and vanilla extract, and mix in well
  • Add the cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, red food colouring, buttermilk and self raising flour, and whisk in gently until fully combined
  • Divide the mixture between the cupcakes cases, and bake them for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cupcakes comes out clean. Put them on a rack to cool completely
  • To make the cream cheese frosting, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until smooth. Then mix in the icing sugar until the mixture is smooth
  • Next, add the cream cheese and the vanilla extract and mix in until the frosting is thick and smooth. Be careful not to over mix as this can make the frosting sloppy, and you won't be able to get it thick again
  • If you want to decorate the cupcakes with cake crumbs, level off a couple of the cupcakes and crumble up the pieces
  • Pipe or spread the frosting on top of the cupcakes, then add sprinkles of your choice, or cake crumbs
  • Store in the fridge and eat within 3 days
Made this recipe?Share on Instagram with me @TheBakingExplorer or tag #thebakingexplorer!


Calories: 407kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 306mg | Potassium: 77mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 947IU | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg

If you like this, check out more of my Cupcake recipes!

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Red Velvet Cupcakes

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22 comments / Add your comment below

  1. 5 stars
    I love how striking these are and yet they are understated. I like that about them. The colours are so pretty and perfect for Valentines day. They really stand out but without being all showy offy, like a perfect man I guess ๐Ÿ˜‰ lol x
    thank you for linking to #Bakeoftheweek x

  2. 5 stars
    I think red velvet is so popular because of the amazing colour as well as a promise of something velvety smooth and gorgeous that clearly must have an immense appeal for our senses. Just a theory:) These are perfect for Valentine’s Day, and I love your cream cheese icing. Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare:)

  3. 5 stars
    These are so lovely -perfect for Valentine’s Day (though I’d happily eat them any time of the year) I always love how you give such great step by step instructions with photos…and the link to the equipment and ingredients is so helpful! Eb x

  4. I love the idea of red velvet cupcakes, but am always put off by the amount of food colouring. I have tried making red velvet with natural colouring but it has never been vivid enough. Either way….. your cupcakes are beautiful and perfect for Valentines x

  5. 5 stars

    his looks amazing

    if I make 8 oz. of this in a round tin how much buttermilk will I need

    thank you : )

    1. Sorry I don’t work in ounces so I’m not sure. I reckon a batch of this would make one 8″ sponge.

  6. Thank you for this recipe. I am planning to try it with gluten free self raising flour – fingers crossed! ?

  7. 5 stars
    Lovely and simple recipe! Turned out delicious and perfect. I used almond milk + 1 tbsp of lemon juice and cut down the cream cheese frosting by half. Very moist and fluffy. Highly recommend this recipe!! Thank you ๐Ÿ˜Š would bake this again
    (added some white choco chips as well)

  8. Made these with Doves farm gluten free self raising flour. Came out really well, they were absolutely delicious ๐Ÿ˜‹

    1. Hi Maureen, I’m so pleased to hear that this recipe worked so well with GF flour, thank you for sharing!

  9. 5 stars
    So easy to do and they tasted amazing! The sponge was so light and the icing was to die for. I’m such a novice but even I managed to make them taste awesome.

  10. 5 stars
    Wish I had found you earlier! Made these for my granddaughters and we loved them. Going to try more of your recipes and have ordered your baking book to save having to print off so many of your recipes I now want to try! Great website too.

    1. Hi Carol, I’m so pleased you liked them! I don’t have a baking book sadly – maybe one day!

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