You just can’t beat a classic, and these tender and moist red velvet cupcakes with rich cream cheese frosting are about as good as it gets.

Classic red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting from

For the last several weeks I have been testing out red velvet recipes in preparation for Valentine’s Day. I wanted to have something new and fun to share with you, but I kept striking out.

First, there were raspberry red velvet cheesecake bars that needed a lot of work. Insead, I lost interest and gave up.

Raspberry Red Velvet Cheesecake Bars

Then there were red velvet cookies dipped in white chocolate and coconut. They looked really cute, but tasted totally blah.

Red Velvet Cookies

Lots of manhours and many, many bottles of red food coloring later, I felt a little disheartened. I shelved the whole red velvet quest and redirected my Valentine’s energy to other desserts, like trifle and chocolate cake.

Then yesterday it hit me — what I really wanted was a classic red velvet cupcake. No spins, no twists, and nothing flashy. Just a simple red velvet cake piled high with cream cheese frosting. I’ve had such a recipe on my blog for years, but it was outdated and buried in the archives. I gave in to my craving and decided I’d update the old post while I was at it. So here it is! With new photos and clearer instructions.

The cupcake I gobbled up this afternoon hit the spot, and I plan to enjoy many more over the long weekend. You probably should too.

Classic red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting from

Red Velvet Cupcakes
A classic red velvet cake recipe made into cupcakes, and topped with traditional cream cheese frosting.
Yield: Approximately 18-20 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
  • 1¾ cup (210 grams) cake flour
  • ¼ cup (20 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (237 ml) canola oil
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup (155 ml) buttermilk, well shaken
For the frosting:
  • 8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (113 grams) butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups (455 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners or grease with butter or cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift cake flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand-held mixer, mix the oil and the sugar until well-blended. Add eggs and egg yolk one at a time, mixing after each. With the mixer on low, slowly add all of the red food coloring, being very careful not to splash. Add vanilla.
  4. Add flour mixture in three additions, alternately with the buttermilk and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined, scraping bowl down as needed; don't overmix.
  5. Fill cupcake liners ½ fill and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Let cool in the muffin pan 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. To make the frosting, beat together butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla and cream and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

Note: This recipe was originally published in May 2011. Pictures have been updated and the recipe has been scaled down to make a more realistic amount of cupcakes.

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15 Responses to Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Priya says:

    Gorgeous and soo pretty looking cupcakes..

  2. monica says:

    wonderful, really great pictures as well!

  3. Jennifurla says:

    so red, I love it.

  4. Bake-A-Holic says:

    What tip did you use for the piping? So pretty!

  5. Lori @ Girl Meets Oven says:

    That cream cheese frosting looks dreamy.

  6. We Are Not Martha says:

    These are beautiful! I've never really gotten into the red velvet cake craze, but maybe I just need to try a really, really good one.

    So good meeting you this weekend!! :)


  7. Connie the Cookie Monster says:

    i lovee red velvet!!

  8. Cody says:

    Hi Annalise! I just stumbled across this recipe while searching for the perfect cake to make for Valentine’s Day! These look divine. Do you have any tips for making this into a cake instead of cupcakes?

  9. jordan says:

    I’m from the UK, and I don’t understand what you mean when you say ‘cake flour’. Is it the same as self-raising flour? x

    • Annalise says:

      Hi Jordan! Cake flour is a low protein flour that results in a light and tender cake. If you don’t have access to cake flour you can substitute all-purpose flour, though the cake won’t be quite as tender.

      You can also make your own cake flour: Measure out 1 cup of all-purpose flour, then take out 2 tablespoons. Replace the removed all-purpose flour with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Sift flour 5 times.

  10. Maria says:

    Last Valentine day we were in New York celebrating our ten years aniversary of marriage. This year, with three children aged 8-6-2 with flu, we must stay at home. So, I wanted to cook something that could transport us to the City. What better than Red velvet cupcakes! The recipe is very well written and easy to follow. The resoults are amazing!! We feel like if we were un holidays!! Thank you very much for sharing.

  11. Emily says:

    No vinegar in this recipe? I figure buttermilk alone wouldn’t result in the typical slight tang in red velvet cane.

  12. Lori says:

    Made this recipe, it is THE BOMB!!!! I can’t help wondering, do you have the recipe for the raspberry red velvet cheesecake bars? They look so, good, I tried to google them, and was unable to find the

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