The Best Red Velvet Cupcakes

These tender and moist cupcakes are perfect with the slight sharpness of the cream cheese icing. No one will be able to turn down these made from scratch red velvet cupcakes.

Who can resist a red velvet cake? I know that I cannot along with almost anyone I bring these around. These cupcakes are wonderfully moist and extremely soft and tender. Every time I bring these to a gathering they are gone in just a few minutes. You will steal the show with these treats and have everyone asking for more. They go perfectly with the cream cheese frosting and if you want you can fill them with a little white or dark chocolate mousse or ganache. 

In this recipe

This cake has just a hint of chocolate and espresso. The signature part of this recipe is the red food coloring. I prefer to use a gel food coloring as it adds less water and you don’t need as much to get the desired color. If you use a liquid food coloring then you will want to double the amount. Here are some of the other key ingredients:

  • Baking soda: this is the rising agent for this recipe. Since there is bother buttermilk and vinegar using baking powder will cause the cupcakes to rise too much.
  • Buttermilk: this will help the cake rise and keep it soft 
  • Canola Oil: adding this fat will keep the cake moist and soft.
  • Vinegar: helps assist the baking soda in rising and also enhances the color of the cupcakes.
Ingredients for red velvet cupcakes on a cutting board
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Mixing the red velvet cupcake batter

One of the things you will want to do is to mix the butter and sugars together well and make sure it is light and fluffy. Once you add the oil make sure it is all the way incorporated before adding the eggs. Add them one at a time and wait at least a minute between each addition. Once the vinegar has been added to the cake you don’t want to let the batter rest too much. This batter is acidic and depending on the freshness of your baking soda you might see tiny bubbles in the batter before you finish scooping out all of the batter. 

Uncooked red velvet cupcake batter in a lined muffin tin
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Cooked red velvet cupcakes in a muffin tin
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Filling the cupcakes

Due to the leavening agents in this recipe you will want to make sure that you only fill the cups 2/3 -3/4 full. I would err closer to the 2/3 mark. This will help prevent the cupcakes from spilling over the sides. There might be a little overhang but you do not want too much. That part of the cupcake will be more crunchy and can cause the cupcake to break when they are bitten into. If you have a little extra batter I like to put them in mini cake pans or mini bundt pans.

red velvet cupcakes on a cooling rack
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Tips and tricks

Here are some tips and tricks to ease baking:

  • Try not to open your oven too often. This can cause the center of the cupcakes to fall.
  • It is important to let the cupcakes cool all of the way through before icing them. These cupcakes are very soft and if they are still warm when you add the frosting it will compact them and make them more dense. Another reason is that the heat from the cupcakes will melt the frosting.
  • If you want to help keep the bases of the cupcake paper from getting too damp or soggy put a single layer of rice on the bottom of the muffin pans before adding the cupcake liners. 
Several red velvet cupcakes with frosting
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Iced red velvet cupcakes
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Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red velvet cupcakes topped with a cream cheese frosting
5 from 16 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24 cupcakes
Calories 374 kcal


  • Stand mixer with paddle attachment
  • Piping bag with tip
  • Spatula
  • 2 Muffin pans with cupcake liners



  • 3 cups flour scooped and leveled
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter unsalted, softened
  • 1 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon red gel food coloring
  • 1 cup buttermilk room temperature


  • 2 cups cream cheese 2 oz packages, softened
  • ½ cup butter unsalted, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


For the cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350°F, 177C, or gas mark 4. Line two 12 cup muffin pans cupcake liners. Set aside.
  • Whisk the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar together on high speed for 3-4 minutes until light and creamy. Add the oil and scrape the sides of the bowl.
  • Reduce the speed to medium-high and eggs, one at a time waiting a minute between each egg, until combined. Then add the vanilla. Add vinegar and food coloring, you may need to add more to get the desired color.
  • Reduce the speed to low and alternate adding the dry ingredients with the buttermilk starting with the dry ingredients add 1/3 of the mixture and then half of the buttermilk, mixing until just combined between each addition and scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Transfer batter to the prepared cups and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean with just a few crumbs. Remove from oven and cool completely.

For the frosting

  • While the cupcakes are cooling in a stand mixer with paddle attachment beat the cream cheese and butter together on high until smooth. Reduce the speed to its lowest setting and add the powdered sugar and milk and mix until incorporated, then increase speed to high and beat until light and fluffy.
  • Add vanilla and salt and beat again.
  • To decorate the cupcake place the cream cheese frosting in the piping bag with your desired tip and frost the tops of each cupcake.


Serving: 1cupcakeCalories: 374kcalCarbohydrates: 51gProtein: 7gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 199mgPotassium: 132mgFiber: 1gSugar: 38gVitamin A: 541IUVitamin C: 0.003mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclaimer*
Keyword Cream Cheese Frosting, Cupcake, Red Velvet
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
red velvet cupcakes pinterest pin
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12 thoughts on “The Best Red Velvet Cupcakes”

  1. 5 stars
    Wow! These red velvet cupcakes look so yummy! The minimalist look makes this so enticing and very tempting! Plus the cream cheese frosting will boost its taste and flavor! Loved it!

  2. 5 stars
    Red velvet cake is my favorite! Make it cupcakes, and you have won me over LOL Fabulous recipe that I definitely need to keep!

  3. 5 stars
    We loved these cupcakes! Your recipe was so easy to follow, straight forward and quick to make. Can’t wait to make them again with my daughter!

  4. 5 stars
    These red velvet cupcakes are absolute perfection! They’re just so soft, fluffy and moist, and the frosting gives it the perfect finishing touch. Such a treat.

  5. 5 stars
    Red velvet cakes are my son’s favorite, so I made your cupcakes and he was over the moon excited about them. They were perfectly moist and so easy to make thanks to your instructions.

  6. 5 stars
    What a sweet little treat. These cupcakes baked up perfectly moist, light, and fluffy. I also really liked how the espresso amplified the chocolate flavour. Great recipe!

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