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

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.

Do you love red velvet cake as much as I do? It’s height as a food craze may be over, or maybe not? But either way it’ll always be one of my faves. I love its gorgeous crimson color, unique flavor, and soft velvety crumb.

These red velvet cupcakes frosted with rich cream cheese buttercream frosting are both adorable and delicious, and quite simple to make too! They’re perfect for birthdays, holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day, and any other special occasion.

red velvet cupcakes ready for the oven

What is Red Velvet, anyway?

Red velvet cake is so much more than just a red cake, though its color is certainly its most famous quality. Red velvet cake recipes are very different now from when it was originally created over a hundred years ago, but they tend to have this common flavor profile— a unique blend of vanilla with a hint of cocoa, and a tasty tang from buttermilk.

Red velvet cakes are also known for their tender “velvet” texture and these cupcakes are no exception. Using vegetable oil keeps them super moist, too.

What about the red food coloring?

In order to get that vibrant red color that red velvet cake is known for, I use an entire 1 ounce bottle (3 tablespoons) of liquid red food coloring. If you want to use gel food coloring, use 2 teaspoons. If you’re hoping to leave out food coloring altogether, a simple google search for naturally-dyed red velvet cake has lots of solutions.

Soft and tender red velvet cupcakes

How to make these red velvet cupcakes

This is a pretty basic recipe! And you can do it all— bake and frost— in well under an hour.

  1. Combine wet ingredients in one bowl.
  2. Sift together dry ingredient in another bowl.
  3. Mix together until combined. You can use either an electric mixer or a whisk and elbow grease.
  4. Portion into a lined or greased cupcake pan.
  5. Bake until tops bounce back.
  6. Make the cream cheese buttercream frosting while cupcakes are baking and cooling.
  7. Frost as desired, with a knife or spatula, or a piping tip and pastry bag.

Frosting classic red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Tips for Cupcake Success

  • Use a measuring scoop to portion equal amounts of batter into each cup so they bake evenly. (This is the one I use.)
  • Don’t fill more than 2/3 full. Cupcakes use the walls of the cupcake liners or muffin pan to help them rise. If you overfill the liners, there’s too much batter and not enough space to climb. The batter will spill over the sides and you’ll be left with flat cupcakes.
  • Resist the urge to open the oven and peek during baking. The small cupcakes are more susceptible to sinking due to a drop in temperature.
  • Using your oven light, look to see when the cupcakes are domed and appear to be set. Then open and touch lightly. If they spring back, they’re done.
  • Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, or until they’re cool enough to handle, then transfer them to a cooling rack. The heat from the pan will overcook and dry out the cupcakes if left in too long.

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.

Watch how to make these red velvet cupcakes

Shop Tools for this Recipe

Note: This recipe was originally published in May 2011.

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.
5 from 2 reviews

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Servings: 18 cupcakes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 38 minutes
A classic red velvet cake recipe made into cupcakes, and topped with traditional cream cheese frosting.


For the cupcakes:

  • 1 ¾ cup (210 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (21 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (198 grams) vegetable oil
  • cup (150 grams) buttermilk , well shaken
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons (1 oz bottle) red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese , at room temperature
  • ½ cup (113 grams) butter , at room temperature
  • 4 cups (454 grams) powdered sugar , sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream


  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners or grease with butter or cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, sift flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together.
  • In another bowl whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, red food coloring, and vanilla.
  • Pour wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk until combined and smooth.
  • Fill cupcake liners ⅔ 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.
  • To make the frosting, beat together butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla and heavy cream and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.


Calories: 309kcal, Carbohydrates: 48g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 49mg, Sodium: 226mg, Potassium: 97mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 38g, Vitamin A: 381IU, Calcium: 45mg, Iron: 1mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Author: Annalise Sandberg
Have you tried this recipe?I’d love to hear about it! Leave a rating and review below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram @completelydelicious with #completelydelicious.