Red Velvet Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cupcakes recipe

There is some confusion as to what red velvet cake actually is.  Some lazy bakers take a chocolate cake recipe and add red food dye to give the batter a red sheen.  This is the type of action that sends cake snobs through the rood.

Red velvet cake does start out like a chocolate cake but there are some major differences that help to give the batter the proper red coloring.  A true red velvet cake recipe calls for cocoa powder, vinegar and buttermilk.  The chemical reaction caused when these three ingredients are mixed with the rest of the ingredients is what makes red velvet cake red.

Red Velvet Cake Batter

Who Came Up With Red Velvet Cake?

Believe it or not, the idea for this cake came from a marketing department.  A food dye company, Adams Extract, wanted to sell more food coloring in grocery stores and came up with a red velvet cake recipe.  Some histories have the Waldorf Astoria creating the cake during the depression but they actually used the recipe sent out by Adams Extract.


Red Velvet Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups Flour (may use all-purpose or cake flour)
  • 3 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2/3 cup Buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons White Vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon Red Gel Food Coloring (if using liquid red food coloring, you may want to add more)
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter (softened)
  • 1/4 cup Oil
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 large Eggs

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup Butter (softened)
  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 3 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together.

  2. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vinegar, and red food coloring.
  3. In the mixing bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together for 4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the oil and cream for 2 more minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat for 2 minutes longer. Add vanilla.

  4. Add 1/2 of the dry ingredients and 1/2 of the buttermilk mixture, mixing after each addition until it is all added.
  5. Drop the batter into cupcake liners and bake until a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean, about 16-19 minutes. Don’t OVER BAKE. Let cool.

  6. In a bowl, whip together butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla, again using your stand mixer. Spread all over the cooled cupcakes using a silicone rubber spatula.