Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

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My great-grandmother’s red velvet cake recipe baked into sweet little cupcakes and topped with a vanilla cream cheese frosting.

love a good, classic red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting. When it’s done right, red velvet is pretty hard to beat! I’ve tweaked my great-grandmother’s recipe ever so slightly to create perfectly moist, flavorful, and vibrant red velvet cupcakes. Paired with a simple vanilla cream cheese frosting, I give these cupcakes all the heart eyes ????????????.

Check out my favorite red velvet recipes here.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Ingredients Needed for Red Velvet Cupcakes

  • sugar
  • vegetable oil
  • buttermilk
  • eggs
  • red food coloring
  • flour
  • cocoa powder
  • vinegar
  • baking powder & soda
Red Velvet Cupcakes
Red Velvet Cupcakes

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • You can usually count on me to be TOTALLY on board with using a buttermilk substitute… most of the time. This time, however, is not that time. I strongly, strongly, strongly caution you against using a buttermilk substitute for best results. The only thing separating red velvet from yellow cake with red food coloring is it’s unique, tangy flavor combined with an extra soft and fluffy texture. And that comes in large part from using actual buttermilk.
  • On a related note, vinegar also contributes to the unique flavor that is red velvet. I know it might feel weird to add vinegar to your cake, but there’s no need to worry. It’s sharp flavor really works in this situation, and it also has the added benefit of giving the cake a little extra “lift” in baking. So it’s extra fluffy!
  • I love setting aside one plain cupcake to crumble up and use as a garnish on the others. So pretty!
  • I also really love using a really strong vanilla flavoring with this recipe. If you’re able to get your hands on some vanilla bean paste, vanilla bean powder, or a vanilla bean– use that in place of the vanilla extract! I feel like it really compliments both the red velvet and the cream cheese exceptionally well.
  • Make sure the butter and cream cheese are softened before mixing. Otherwise, the frosting will not form a buttercream that is sturdy enough to pipe.
Red Velvet Cupcakes

From the Shoot

Products I used to Style this Recipe

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: almost 2 dozen
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

My great-grandmother's recipe for red velvet baked into sweet little cupcakes topped with dreamy cream cheese frosting.


  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ounce red food coloring
  • 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat oven 350ºF. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. Mix together the oil and sugar. Whisk in the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, food coloring and eggs.
  3. Sift the the cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda into the wet ingredients. Mix until batter forms and is a uniform color.
  4. Divide batter between the cupcake liners. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Let cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Beat together the butter and cream cheese.
  2. Whisk in 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, beating with an electric mixer until smooth. Mix in the vanilla.
  3. Transfer frosting to a piping bag to pipe on the cupcakes.



calories 300
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13 g 19 %
Saturated Fat 5 g 26 %
Monounsaturated Fat 3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 43 mg 14 %
Sodium 143 mg 6 %
Potassium 57 mg 2 %
Total Carbohydrate 45 g 15 %
Dietary Fiber 0 g 2 %
Sugars 34 g
Protein 3 g 6 %
Vitamin A 62 %
Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium 31 %
Iron 1 %

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