A retro flavor that only gets better with time! Red velvet cupcakes are the most moist, tender, and soft cupcakes! Perfect for birthdays, holidays, or just an indulgent treat.
What is red velvet cake?
The idea of red velvet anything dates back to at least the 1800s and made a huge comeback during the Great Depression. Red velvet is chocolate cake that features less cocoa than traditional chocolate cakes, and it’s texture is best described as velvety! It’s maybe the most moist, soft, and tender cake around, with a very subtle and simple chocolaty flavor.
If you’re a cake nerd like me, here’s a full article on the history of red velvet cake!
Red velvet cupcakes ingredients:
Red velvet cake and cupcakes have pretty much the same ingredients as a regular chocolate cake, with the exception of red food coloring and vinegar.
To make these cupcakes, you will need:
• flour: just for structure, nothing special
• cocoa powder: not as much as you would find in a regular chocolate cake recipe. A little goes a long way in terms of flavor, and adding too much cocoa can actually drown out the red food coloring
• baking powder & baking soda: using both helps yield an extra fluffy, light, and airy cupcake!
• salt: to balance out the sweetness
• butter & oil: a bit untraditional. Most recipes include just butter, but the combination of butter and oil helps give an even velvet-ier texture! The butter adds flavor and richness, while the oil adds moisture and softness
• sugar: for sweetness!
• eggs: also not too special
• sour cream: another untraditional ingredient, but it helps make the cupcakes unbelievably moist!
• buttermilk: now *this* is a very traditional ingredient! if you don’t have any on hand, here’s how you can make your own substitute
• vanilla extract: for flavoring
• white vinegar: another classic add in. The vinegar really helps drive home the velvety texture! The acid reacts with the baking soda to create even more bubbles and airiness in your cake
• red food coloring: you can use either gel or liquid food coloring. Gel colors more vibrantly, without having to add as much, so you would only need 1 teaspoon. Liquid food coloring is more diluted and muted, so you would need 2 teaspoons of it. This recipe can handle a few extra drops, but don’t try to add tooooo much food coloring or your cupcakes may develop an “off” flavor!
How to make red velvet cupcakes:
1. Combine dry ingredients. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder & soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Cream together butter, oil, and sugar. It may look grainy, but that’s fine!
3. Add eggs in. One at a time, and whisk well after each addition.
4. Add in your sour cream, vinegar, food coloring, and vanilla. Whisk to combine and distribute the food coloring evenly.
5. Add dry ingredients and buttermilk. Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk, starting and ending with dry ingredients. Again, some lumps are fine! Just make sure there aren’t any dry ingredient spots or streaks.
6. Portion and bake. Divide batter into your cupcake tin and bake until cooked through. Cool completely before frosting!
7. Frost with cream cheese frosting or your choice of frosting.
Red velvet cake frosting:
Keeping things classic, you’ll usually see red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting or ermine frosting (a less sweet buttercream), but that’s not to say you can’t experiment with different pairings!
Red velvet flavor also goes well with vanilla buttercream, chocolate buttercream, or chocolate ganache. I’ve personally never tried it with any other styles of frosting, but I’m sure you can find a few more delicious pairings floating around out there!
Red velvet cupcakes storage:
Red velvet cupcakes keep for quite some time thanks to how incredibly moist they are! Keep stored in an airtight container for maximum freshness.
Unfrosted cupcakes will last up to 4 or 5 days at room temperature, or a week in the fridge. Frosted red velvet cupcakes should be kept in the fridge, and they’ll also last around 1 week.
Check out some of these other recipes!
• sour cream vanilla cupcakes
• funfetti cupcakes
• chocolate cupcakes
• no bake chocolate biscuit cake
• sour cream pound cake
• sour cream glazed donuts
• annnnnd be sure to check out what’s the difference between cupcakes and muffins?
Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe
- 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil, or any neutral flavored oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon red gel food coloring or 2 teaspoons liquid food coloring
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup buttermilk * see notes
- cream cheese frosting, or your choice of frosting
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 12 count cupcake tin with paper liners, and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together your flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, combine butter, oil, and sugar. Beat together using a wooden spoon or an electric mixer until relatively smooth and combined. It may be slightly grainy, but that's normal!
- Add your eggs to the sugar mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the sour cream, vinegar, food coloring, and vanilla, and whisk to combine.
- Alternate adding your dry ingredients and buttermilk to the sugar mixture. Make sure to start and end with the dry ingredients (so 3 additions of dry ingredients, and 2 additions of buttercream), and whisk between each addition until just combined. Take care not to over mix!
- Divide the batter evenly into your cupcake tin. You may need to do 2 batches, so just make sure that each cup is filled no more than 2/3 of the way full.
- Bake the cupcakes in the center of your preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting!