Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet cupcakes are a classic – especially with a delicious cream cheese frosting. And these cupcakes are super moist and stay that way for a number of days!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I didn’t really grow up eating red velvet cupcakes, despite growing up in the south. But the last few years, since diving into the sweets world, I’ve known a few people that are BIG fans. One them being a co-worker of mine.

Last summer I think it was, we were in D.C. for work. We had some downtime and found ourselves on the same road where Georgetown Cupcakes and Sprinkles Cupcakes are. Being the crazy cake fan I am, I ended up with like 15 cupcakes to sample. I LOVE trying different flavors and comparing. And believe it or not, we hit the stores at just the right time – no lines!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Seeing that I didn’t grow up eating red velvet, I didn’t really consider myself worthy of judging it. So I wasn’t even planning on trying them. Fortunately, my coworker was all over it! He loves red velvet, so I got one from each store and we compared. He gave me a little lesson in what made a good red velvet cupcake – to him at least. And now I’m a total expert. 😉

Obviously a moist cake is required. When isn’t it?

And cream cheese frosting is always required when red velvet is involved.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I’ve heard people say that red velvet cake is just chocolate cake with red food coloring. I really disagree. The right balance of chocolate in a red velvet recipe is important. Too much cocoa and it’s too much like chocolate cake. Too little cocoa, and it’s just not right.

I did a little experimenting with red velvet to try and get it just right. My coworker has been my taste tester. In one of my tests, I added a fair amount of cocoa – close to what I add in chocolate cake – and it was way too much! Not only was the cake so dark it didn’t even look red but the taste just wasn’t right.

Red velvet really just has a hint of chocolate to it – 2 tablespoons in this case. For me, it should have buttermilk and a touch of vinegar. And the taste – it’s one of those things that’s hard to describe, but I will tell you that I wasn’t a big fan of red velvet until I had this recipe.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

So moist, so much flavor and easy to make. And with the cream cheese icing – perfect! At least I think so. Red velvet certainly does vary a lot.

But when I make these (and I’ve made them a number of times), they are always a hit with everyone. The hubs and I eat them up! And with their pretty red color, they are perfect for sharing for Valentine’s Day. :)

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Yield: 24 cupcakes


2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
2 oz red food coloring

12 oz cream cheese
6 tbsp butter
6 tbsp shortening
7 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla


1. Whisk together all wet ingredients in a large bowl until combined. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients until combined.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix on medium high until completely combined.
4. Add cupcake liners to cupcake pans and fill liners about 3/4 full with batter.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
6. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting:
1. Beat the cream cheese, butter and shortening until smooth.
2. Slowly add 3 cups of powdered sugar. Mix until combined.
3. Mix in the vanilla extract.
4. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add a teaspoon or two of cream or water, if needed, to get the right consistency.
5. Ice the cupcakes when they are cool.
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Recipe slightly altered from Bakerella.

This post linked to Six Sisters’ Stuff, Lady Behind The Curtain, Lil Luna, Inside BruCrew Life, Buns In My Oven, Pint Sized Baker, Chef in Training, Wine and Glue, Love Bakes Good Cakes, Mandy’s Recipe Box, I Should Be Mopping the Floor, Clarks Condensed, Simply Gloria, This Gal Cooks, Gingersnap Crafts, Table for Seven, Say Not Sweet Anne, Simple Living and Eating, Walking on Sunshine.

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  1. They look brilliant, I love the shade of red these are. I’ve only baked red velvet once, I think I should bake it more.
    Laura@baking in pyjamas recently posted…Blood Orange Pound CakeMy Profile

  2. These look absolutely delightful, and I love how cute the frosting and sprinkles look!! Nothing’s better than a good red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting :)
    Rachel @ Bakerita recently posted…Abroad Bites: Borough Market, LondonMy Profile

  3. I am in love with the sweet simplicity of these desserts!

  4. These are definitely a perfect idea for Valentine’s Day! Thanks for the recipe in advance. :)
    Katy recently posted…Jan 20, Baking with SplendaMy Profile

  5. LOVE that these are from scratch and not a box – plus they are gorgeous!
    Heather @ French Press recently posted…Wake Up WednesdaysMy Profile

  6. I love red velvet! These look absolutely delicious!
    Tenns @ New Mama Diaries recently posted…Freebie Friday | Happy Valentine’s Day Chocolate Bar Wrapper PrintableMy Profile

  7. G’day! cute, romantic cupcakes! YUM! Great photos! Thanks for sharing!
    Cheers! Joanne
    Viewed as part of the Foodie Friends Friday Peanut Butter Party
    Joanne T Ferguson recently posted…Foodie Friends Friday #Peanut Butter PartyMy Profile

  8. Jenna Norton says:

    How many does theis make???

  9. These look absolutely delicious. I love anything with red velvet!

  10. These are literally so pretty I almost forgot I don’t like red velvet. Pinning for all those who do! Such pretty cupcakes.
    Jelli recently posted…Transition a Toddler to a Big Kid BedMy Profile

    • says:

      Haha, thanks Jelli! I used to not be as much of a red velvet fan, but making it from scratch – it has grown on me! :)

  11. These look beautiful! What piping tip do you use to achieve that perfect dollop of frosting? :)

  12. Do you use cake flour?

  13. I was 26 years old when I first had a taste of red velvet. I couldn’t get over it.
    These are the best looking red velvet cupcakes I’ve ever seen.
    Joel A. recently posted…Homemade Hot Chocolate MilkMy Profile

  14. i made some of these recently. i love them!
    dina recently posted…Two for Tuesday: Israeli CookbooksMy Profile

  15. Your frosting job is so good! I’m terrible at frosting so I just dollop things on and call it a day 😛

    • says:

      It’s all about the frosting tips! I get mine from They have an awesome cupcake icing tip package.

  16. I just tried to make these. I added the white chocolate chips and they fell… :( I do live in Denver and might have something to do with the altitude. Any suggestions?

    • says:

      I’m sorry, I don’t know that I have a good suggestion. I don’t know much about high altitude baking. Often, when cakes or cupcakes fall in the center though, it’s from opening the oven in the middle of baking. I don’t know if that could be it or not.

  17. I just finished making these. They taste fine but are extremely oily and sunk in the middle. I was able to salvage 8 out of the 24 and had to throw the rest away.

    • says:

      I’m sorry you had that experience Brandi. I’ve made these several times and haven’t had any issue with them sinking. Normally that happens to cakes and cupcakes if the oven is opened too soon. Is that possible? The cupcakes are definitely moist ones. If you try them again, maybe try a thicker liner or even 2 per cupcake.

    • These cupcakes are horrible, they have no taste, are extremely oily and sink in the middlem(no I did not en the oven). They are terrible, 1/5 stars

      • says:

        I’m really sorry you had a bad experience with this recipe. I really don’t know why they are sinking. I’ve made this recipe more times than I can count, as a cake and cupcakes, and have never had that problem.

  18. US cup measurements ?

  19. Do you have a particular brand or kind of food coloring. You know most red food coloring have a god awful bitter taste

  20. 2 oz of red food coloring >> 2 big tbsp

  21. What size square pan and/or round size pan do you suggest when baking this as a cake?

    • says:

      Either an 8 or 9 inch should be fine, depending on how tall you want the cake. If you use two 8 inch pans, you’ll bake them for about 30 minutes.


  1. […] Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting from Life, Love & Sugar look so delicious. They only contain just enough cocoa to achieve the […]

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