Red Velvet Cupcakes

I know, I know! The Red Velvet craze is long over and I'm a little late to the party over here, but, I still see the red velvet theme pop up from time to time. (Most recently in doughnut form.)

I also have to admit that there are probably dozens of other cake and cupcake flavours I'd choose to bake, and eat, long before Red Velvet. But those two points considered, you have to admit, red velvet cupcakes are pretty damned perfect for Valentine's Day.

Yup, there's no denying that the bright food-coloured-red sponge is rather romantic in its own way. Topped off with near stark white cream cheese frosting, these cupcakes are rather striking in appearance.

The origins of red velvet cake is a little bit complex, and depending on who you talk to, involves beetroot. But, I'll save all of that for another time. My brain hasn't yet engaged in the new year so whimsical musings are far easier to pen (or type) than the more factual angle of cake history that I could take with this post. 

If you've somehow never had red velvet cake, I don't know, maybe you've been hiding out under a rock or something, I can only describe the flavour the following way. It's your basic sponge cake but ever so slightly on the tangy side, probably due to the buttermilk. Then, there's a very, very subtle hint of cocoa. I think my favourite part is the frosting. It's my favourite type of frosting. Cream cheese!

If you are aware of my love for carrot cake, you'll know that cream cheese frosting plays a big part of that love. 

Now, cream cheese frosting isn't actually traditional for this cake, but when you have the option of topping off your cake with slightly tangy, super creamy and vanilla scented cream cheese frosting, who cares? As with a lot of recipes, they evolve over time, and this is where RV is in its evolution. Sans beetroot and topped with cream cheese frosting. I'm fine with that. 

Red velvet requires the common creaming method which is pretty straight forward, but I made a video anyway. I have a new geeky video gadget and I wanted to play with it. So, for your baking education, or possibly entertainment, here it is. 

I hope you enjoy these cupcakes, past their trending date or not. 

Oh, and happy Valentines ;) 


Red Velvet Cupcakes


Makes 18 Cupcakes
315g 11 oz 2 1/2 cups Plain Flour (Cake Flour is better if you can get it)
1 tsp 1 tsp 1 tsp Baking Powder
2 Tbsp 2 Tbsp 2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
50ml 2 fl oz 2 bottles Red Liquid Food Colouring
250ml 9 fl oz 1 cup Buttermilk, room temp
1 tsp 1 tsp 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
115g 4 oz 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, softened
300g 10.5 oz 1 1/2 cups White Sugar
1/2 tsp 1/2 tsp 1/2 tsp Salt
2 2 2 Eggs
1 tsp 1 tsp 1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp 1 tsp 1 tsp White Vinegar (cider, wine or spirit)


  • Pre-heat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan Assisted and line 2 muffin tins with 18 paper liners
  • Tip: If you're using smaller cupcake papers, you'll get between 20-22 cupcakes
  • Whisk together flour and baking powder, set aside
  • Combine buttermilk and vanilla in a jug, set aside
  • Mix red food colouring with cocoa powder, set aside
  • In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until smooth
  • Add the sugar and salt and beat until pale and creamy
  • Add 1 egg and beat for about 3 minutes
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the 2nd egg and beat until mixture is pale and fluffy
  • Add the food colouring mixture and beat until the colour is uniform
  • Add 1/3 of the flour mix and beat just until combined
  • Pour in half of the buttermilk mix and beat just until combined
  • Add half of the remaining flour mix, beat just until combined
  • Then, beat in the last of the buttermilk mix, then the last of the flour mix
  • Combine the baking soda with vinegar in a small bowl (it till bubble and fizz!)
  • Add to the batter and mix in
  • Divide batter evenly between the cupcake papers, each should be about 2/3 full
  • Tip: Use an old-fashioned ice-cream scoop to make it easier. I use a scoop meant for portioning cookie dough, each paper gets 1 1/2 scoops of batter
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the middle cupcake comes out clean, between 18-22 minutes
  • Leave cupcakes to cool in muffin tins on a wire rack for about 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes from tins and leave to cool completely before frosting
  • Frost each cupcake with cream cheese frosting (recipe below), then decorate with sprinkles if you like, and enjoy!
  • Tip: Either frost each cupcake by generously spreading with a blunt knife or spatula, or use a piping bag fitted with any large decorating tip that you like


Cream Cheese Frosting

Enough to frost 18 cupcakes with a generous swirl
115g 4 oz 1/2 cup Unsalted butter, softened
460g 1 lb 1 lb Full Fat Cream Cheese, chilled
190g 7 oz 1 1/2 cups Icing Sugar, sifted
1 tsp 1 tsp 1 tsp Vanilla Extract


  • Beat the butter until smooth and creamy in a large bowl, add the cream cheese and mix together until smooth
  • Add the icing sugar and vanilla, then start mixing on lowest speed until icing sugar is fully mixed in
  • Tip: Frosting may appear to go a bit soft and "soupy" at this stage
  • Increase the speed of mixer to highest and beat/whisk until frosting has thickened to a spreading consistency
  • Tip: Think of cream cheese just as cream. Keeping it chilled and then whisking/beating it on high speed thickens it up





Recipe adapted from Pinch My Salt