These red velvet cupcakes are topped with the best cream cheese frosting, making them perfect for Valentine's Day! The cupcakes are super moist, soft, and bursting with chocolate and vanilla flavors.
These easy red velvet cupcakes are so fun to make for any special occasion. Not only do they look amazing, but they have such a great red velvet flavor.
I never used to like red velvet until I started making it myself, and now I really love it! So these cupcakes are definitley a must-bake!
Why You'll Love These Cupcakes
- You can taste both chocolate and vanilla in every bite.
- They're topped with a simple vanilla cream cheese frosting.
- The red color is vibrant and bright.
- Both butter and oil are used to create a flavorful and moist cake.
- They're super easy to make!
Using a red gel food coloring is key to getting a deep and bold red color. I highly recommend it with all of my red velvet recipes.
Plus, you don't get that disgusting food coloring flavor.
Expert Baking Tips
- Measuring Flour: To help ensure you don’t add extra flour, follow these three simple steps: 1) Fluff up the flour using a fork. 2) Spoon the flour into your measuring cup. 3) Scrape a knife across the top of the measuring cup to level out the flour.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: If an ingredient calls to be at room temperature before baking, do it. This helps to ensure the best quality in both flavor and texture.
- Cupcake Batter: Fill the cupcake liners ⅔ of the way full, which is just about 3 tablespoons of batter.
- Food Coloring: I recommend using red gel food coloring over a liquid kind. You don't have to use as much and the red color is much brighter and deeper.
Here are some notes on the ingredients we'll be using. For the full ingredients list, look at the recipe card below.
- Flour: I used all purpose flour. Be sure to properly measure your flour (check out "Expert Baking Tips" above).
- Cocoa Powder: Just a small amount of cocoa powder is needed.
- Oil: Use either vegetable oil or canola.
- Red Food Coloring: My favorite food coloring to use for any red velvet recipe is Wilton's red food gel. It works so well!
- Vinegar: Using white vinegar is a necessary ingredient in this recipe.
- Buttermilk: Adds creaminess and helps the cupcakes to stay soft and moist. Do not substitute.
- Cream Cheese: Be sure to use the brick-style cream cheese and not the one from a tub.
Here are the step by step instructions on how to make this best red velvet cake.
Step 1: Dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Step 2: Cream together the butter and sugar. In the large bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on high speed until combined.
Step 3: Wet ingredients. Mix in the egg, oil, red food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla extract on medium speed. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
Step 4: Combine the ingredients. Reduce to low speed and alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour and mixing just until combined.
Step 5: Bake. FIll the cupcake liners ⅔ of the way full and bake for 15-18 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool for 10 minutes in the pan before transferring them over to a wire rack to cool completely.
Step 6: Make the frosting. Beat the cream cheese and butter on high speed until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
Then beat on high speed for another 1-2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
Keep any leftover cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Red velvet is kind of a mixture between a chocolate cake and a vanilla cake. You'll taste subtle hints of both flavors. And since it also includes vinegar and buttermilk, you'll taste some tang as well.
No, because it's an essential ingredient in this cake. If you don't have any, you can easily make your own by combining a ½ cup of milk and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes before using.
I actually have a mini red velvet cake recipe that you can make! It's really good too!
It brings me so much joy to see you make my recipes. 🙂
More Valentine's Day Recipes
Red Velvet Cupcakes
- 12-count muffin pan
- Mixing Bowls
- Electric Stand Mixer
Red Velvet Cupcakes
- 1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- ¼ cup vegetable oil (or canola)
- 2 teaspoons red gel food coloring
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
- ½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese (block-style), room temperature
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
Red Velvet Cupcakes
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on med-high speed until fully combined (it'll be a lumpy and that's ok!).
- Reduce the speed to medium and mix in the egg, vegetable oil, red food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
- On low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour (flour, buttermilk, flour) and mixing just until combined. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and fold in any loose ingredients with a rubber spatula.
- FIll each cupcake liner ⅔ of the way full (just under 3 tablespoons of batter) and bake for 15-18 minutes. Use a toothpick to check the centers for doneness and let the cupcakes cool for 10 minutes in the pan before transferring them over to a wire rack to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer using the paddle attachent, cream together the cream cheese and butter on high speed until light and creamy (2-3 minutes). Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and mix on low speed until combined (30 seconds).
- Increase the speed to high and beat for an additional 1-2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
- Frost the cooled cupcakes. I placed the frosting in a piping bag and used the Wilton 1M piping tip.
- Keep any leftover cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.