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!
The photos were updated and the recipe slightly updated for this post in January 2020.
How to make Red Velvet Cupcakes
To make the cupcakes, whisk together butter and sugar, then whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract.
Whisk in the buttermilk, red food colouring, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa powder and self raising flour until smooth. Divide the mixture between the cupcake cases. (I used white cases so the red of the sponge could be seen through the sides!) Bake for 20 minutes, then put them on a rack to cool fully.
To make the cream cheese frosting, mixed together softened butter and icing sugar, then add cream cheese and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Pipe the frosting on top of the cupcakes, then add some cake crumbs to decorate.
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 it’s own in a tub, or you can decorate the cupcakes and freeze them assembled.
More 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.
Recommended Equipment and Ingredients*
- Cupcake tin
- Mixing bowls
- Kitchen scales
- Electric hand mixer
- Cooling rack
- Piping bags
- Wilton 1M Piping nozzle
- Red food colouring
- White cupcake cases
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More Red Velvet recipes...
For the sponge
- 150 g Butter or baking spread
- 150 g Caster sugar
- 2 Eggs large
- 85 ml Buttermilk
- 165 g Self raising flour
- ½ tsp Bicarbonate of soda
- 1 ½ 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
- ½ 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