Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Really good red velvet cupcakes are elusive to many. Some are dry, some are TOO fake-red red. And what’s the story behind red velvet cake (and cupcakes) anyway? After doing a little research, I found that while foods were rationed during war time, bakers used boiled beets to enhance the color of their cakes and to retain moisture. Red velvet cake was a signature dessert at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel during the 1920s, and was also well-known in the restaurants and bakeries of the Eaton’s department store chain in Canada during the 1940s and 1950s. Many attribute the cake’s recent popularity to the film Steel Magnolias, in which the groom’s cake was a red velvet cake in the shape of an armadillo. All red velvet cakes have specific ingredients in common: white vinegar, buttermilk and baking soda; the reaction of the vinegar to the buttermilk is said to better reveal the red in the cocoa powder. I wasn’t always sold on red velvet, but I was eventually converted…

So now, on to my history with red velvet. I first tried it almost a year ago (January, to be specific) at a local Pittsburgh bakery. And to say that I was underwhelmed would be a gross understatement. After all of the buzz that red velvet had been receiving, I was expecting to be blown away. What I ate was pretty dry and tasteless (although the cream cheese frosting was good!). I wasn’t impressed (obviously) and it was about six months before I would try one again. During our little Georgetown cupcake tour, I had a red velvet cupcake from Baked and Wired. It was seriously amazing. It changed my mind about red velvet – it was fluffy, moist, with a hint of chocolate, and was all kinds of delicious. I had been converted.

The next step, of course, was to make a great one at home. I was admittedly stalling a bit but thanks to some of you who emailed me asking why in the world there wasn’t a recipe for red velvet cupcakes on my site (which is an absolutely legit question), I got my butt in gear. I did some reading, I looked at a lot of recipes, and in the end I decided to try this one. And I’m so glad I did, because I don’t think a better one could exist. They are everything I was hoping for – moist, fluffy, a tiny bit chocolatey, and a perfect vehicle for a heaping pile of cream cheese frosting!

Good any time of year, especially around Valentine’s Day. Dress ‘em up with some pink and red sprinkles and share them with your sweetie!

One year ago: Soft Cheese and Pepperoni Bread

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons red food coloring
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons distilled white vinegar

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 ounces butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin/cupcake pan with liners.

2. On medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to high and add the egg. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.

3. In a separate small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter and mix on medium speed until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.

5. Again, reduce the mixer speed to low and add the salt, baking soda and vinegar. Turn to high and beat for another couple of minutes until completely combined and smooth.

6. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a thin knife or skewer inserted into the center of the largest cupcake comes out clean.

7. Cool for 10 minutes and then remove cupcakes from the pan and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

8. To make the frosting: Using the whisk attachment, whip the butter and cream cheese on high speed for about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl down as necessary. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar until all is incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Increase the speed to medium high and whip for a few minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary.

*Note: This recipe can be doubled to make an 8 or 9-inch layer cake.

(Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker, originally from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)

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564 Responses to “Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting”

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  1. the blissful baker on November 8, 2010 at 12:47 am

    yum, i love red velvet cupcakes! cream cheese frosting pairs SO well with them, too. yours are the perfect red color, just lovely!

    Reply

  2. SusieBee on November 8, 2010 at 12:56 am

    Living in the South for many years gave me an appreciation for good red velvet cake! The cupcakes look beautiful.

    Reply

  3. Katie on November 8, 2010 at 2:46 am

    These look gorgeous and I love the earthy red colour rather than the overally fake red you somtimes see. Look so tempting

    Reply

  4. veena on November 8, 2010 at 2:47 am

    Hi Michelle!!!.. thank you so much for this.. i have been eagerly waiting for your version of the red velvet cupcake.. well i cant wait to try this.. i had trouble the last times i tried red velvet cupcakes, they always sunk afte taken it out of the oven. But urs look perfect.. im hoping to get lucky the third time..

    Reply

    • Nicole on February 7th, 2011 at 9:00 pm

      For cake Make sure you don’t open the oven in the First 20 minutes of baking. They will be less likely to sink. or cupcakes I leave them for 12 before opening

      Reply

    • Allie on July 14th, 2011 at 10:13 am

      Third time’s the charm

      Reply

  5. Trellyn on November 8, 2010 at 2:49 am

    Looks super yummy! I appreciated the mini history lesson, I was always curious about all the “red velvet hype” and where it came from. I tried a red velvet cupcake about a month ago. Tasted okay, but I wasn’t completely sold. I’ll have to try out this recipe one day! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  6. LimeCake on November 8, 2010 at 3:10 am

    i love red velvet because they’re usually not too sweet and have the slightest hint of cocoa. i’ve tried this recipe too and it was really good!

    Reply

  7. LoveCupcakes on November 8, 2010 at 5:25 am

    I personally admire red velvet cupcakes. I like the color of this cupcake its perfectly baked and the toppings is perfect. More presentable once with cherry on the top.

    Reply

  8. Tabitha (From Single to Married) on November 8, 2010 at 6:43 am

    oh my – red velvet is my favorite cake ever! (It’s right up there with carrot cake…) Mmmmmmmmm

    Reply

  9. Katrina on November 8, 2010 at 7:13 am

    I totally had the same experience with red velvet. I kept hearing about them, and was always disappointed. I made Joy the Baker’s recipe a while back and was totally converted. Glad you’re on the red velvet train now as well!

    Reply

  10. jenna laughs on November 8, 2010 at 8:25 am

    YUM! They look so moist. I also love how there’s not like, an entire bottle of food coloring in the cupcakes. I will have to try these!

    Reply

  11. Jenny Flake on November 8, 2010 at 8:29 am

    These are so gorgeous! I wanna make em’ today!

    Reply

  12. Caroline on November 8, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Yours have such a pretty dome on top! I made RV cupcakes this weekend and, while delicious, they were very flat on top. I have to try this recipe to see if I get the perfect cuppie dome I desire! Wonderful post!

    Reply

  13. Jihane (Sinful Sundays) on November 8, 2010 at 9:06 am

    Those look gorgeous! I bet they taste even better. :)

    Reply

  14. Maria on November 8, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Gorgeous cupcakes. Your frosting always looks perfect!

    Reply

  15. Farah on November 8, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Hi Michelle, I’m so excited to try this recipe! Did you use liquid food colour or gel-paste food colour?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 8th, 2010 at 11:05 pm

      Hi Farah, Liquid food coloring.

      Reply

      • Christeena Dinehart on November 30th, 2012 at 9:30 pm

        If I was to use gel coloring, what amount do you soppose I need and will the recipe miss the “liquid”?

        Reply

        • Michelle on December 2nd, 2012 at 11:04 am

          Hi Christeena, I have attempted to use gel coloring when I was out of the liquid food coloring, and I haven’t had much success. I would stick with the liquid for this recipe.

          Reply

        • Steph in Lex on December 26th, 2012 at 2:30 pm

          Unfortunately, I did not read clear through the recipe carefully before I began to make these and didn’t have liquid food coloring! I was totally bummed when I read Michelle’s above comment, as it was later in the afternoon on Christmas Eve and I was right in the middle of making them and SO not in the mood to venture to the stores. I improvised by using water so that the lack of liquid wouldn’t be a problem and then added a bunch of the gel paste color. The taste of the cake (made cake instead of cupcakes) is fantastic, but the color is not as pretty red as in the pictures. I think I should have added much more of the food coloring. Next time I make it I’ll try to find the liquid food coloring to use, but in a pinch, maybe that would work…it worked for me!

          Reply

          • Nancy on January 8th, 2013 at 1:30 pm

            what brand of liquid food coloring do you use? I only have the gels

            Reply

            • Michelle on January 9th, 2013 at 11:05 am

              I use the McCormick liquid food coloring.

          • Sheri on February 3rd, 2013 at 1:03 am

            I used gel paste color for this recipe tonight, and it worked out fine. I used maybe 1/2 tsp of gel color and about 2 tbsp of boiling water to make the paste. I let it cool before adding it to the batter. The cupcakes came out absolutely perfectly, and just red enough.

            Reply

            • Ivona on July 8th, 2013 at 11:56 am

              I am making this for my daughter’s birthday, as she is a big fan of red velvet cake. I’ve only tasted it a couple of times, and, to be honest, it doesn’t taste that much different than any other chocolate cake to me. I read somewhere a while back, that the original red velvet cake got its color through a reaction between the cocoa powder and the acid in the buttermilk & vinegar, and, as I don’t like to use food coloring when unnecessary, I mixed up the batter without it to see whether any change in color was apparent. But there was no change at all from the brown, so I was forced to resort to the food coloring. I had the liquid kind, but for any other recipe I’ve seen, it only calls for a few drops, and the little containers it comes in probably only hold a teaspoon or so, max. I used most of the container, but still only got it to a reddish-brown, and really didn’t want to use more than that. So hopefully it will taste OK, at any rate, but it’s not going to be red. Why the fuss over the red if it’s only achieved through ungodly amounts of food coloring? Or am I missing something?

  16. Emily @ Darby O'Shea on November 8, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Hurrah! This is a beautiful recipe! I don’t know if I’ll ever switch away from my ancestral recipe (which is over at my blog, with a few unorthodox changes), but this one looks genuine and delicious. And not too chocolatey!

    Reply

  17. Left-Brained Creativity on November 8, 2010 at 9:54 am

    It’s so funny–I’ve never been a big fan of red velvet (and, truthfully, I’m still not), but I’m a Pittsburgher currently living in DC and Baked and Wired is the only place I’ll buy cupcakes. (I’d much rather make them!) Their red velvet is tasty, but then again, all of their flavors are.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 8th, 2010 at 11:06 pm

      Hello fellow Pittsburgher! Glad to hear that Baked & Wired got your ‘Burgh approval too!

      Reply

  18. Dinetonite on November 8, 2010 at 11:18 am

    I love ice creams, but it looks delicious.

    Reply

  19. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking on November 8, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Michelle, I’ve never met a red velvet cake or cupcake that I didn’t like, and I’m sure I would fall head over heels for these beauties! They look incredible, and so moist and delicious. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply

  20. Skeeter on November 8, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I assume you used a liquid food color for this recipe. Do you think I could use a paste food color? And how much? BTW, your cupcakes are beautiful!!

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 8th, 2010 at 11:08 pm

      Hi Skeeter, Yes, liquid food coloring. Hmm don’t know that I would use paste since the recipes uses 3 tablespoons of the liquid coloring – it could impact the texture. You could of course give it a try and see what you think; if you do, let me know how it goes!

      Reply

  21. Brianne on November 8, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    I make a vegan red velvet that always comes out moist and fluffy. I add a teaspoon of chocolate extract too. So good!

    Reply

    • Kate on March 9th, 2011 at 10:39 pm

      Breanne, what recipe do you use? Somehow my vegan desserts (made for friends) never turn out as well as the regular ones.
      Thanks

      Reply

  22. Tina from PA on November 8, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    I too have never got what all the hype was over Red Velvet cake , but now you got my attention . I really have to try your recipe! Thanks for sharing ,I’m sure it’s gonna be great!

    Reply

  23. Winelady Cooks on November 8, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I’ve too have been curious as to all the hype around red velvet though I haven’t had the opportunity to do some taste testing. Thanks for your efforts (someone has to do it! :))
    I was wondering why you had to add the food coloring if the chem. reaction from the vinegar is supposed to make the batter red (technically). Is is because the red color is not as pronounced as we expect it, so using the food coloring adds more umph!?

    Thanks,
    Joanne

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 8th, 2010 at 11:09 pm

      Hi Joanne, exactly – the chemical reaction brings out the reddish hues in the cocoa, but it certainly isn’t as pronounced as you see in the cupcakes. The food coloring gives it an extra boost :)

      Reply

  24. Tracy on November 8, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I love the color of these!!

    Reply

  25. courtney on November 8, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    this is one of my favorite treats! i recently made red velvet cake balls dipped in bittersweet chocolate. talk about yum.

    Reply

  26. Deborah on November 8, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I am a huge red velvet fan, but I think it’s hard to find good red velvet at bakeries. But I have had quite a few good homemade ones, and these look perfect!!

    Reply

  27. Rachel on November 8, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    I’ve never had red velvet and recently went on a search for a good recipe – I’ll definitely be trying these sometime.

    Reply

  28. Abby on November 8, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    The only red velvet cake I have had was similar to your first experience. I was completely unimpressed and let down. So much so that I have never tried it again. But after reading this post I will try making it on my own. Hope I get the great results!!

    Reply

  29. Made With Pink on November 8, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    My experience with Red Velvet cake sounds very much like your own. I was all excited by the hype I heard about it, and then I tried one. It was so dry and unmemorable, nothing like what I expected. I tried about 3-4 different recipes until I found one I really liked and was happy with. Yours look moist and delicious, so will have to do a taste comparison with mine to see if yours will become my new go to recipe. Thanks for posting!

    Reply

  30. food librarian on November 8, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Pretty! These look wonderful and delicious! -mary

    Reply

  31. Sandra on November 8, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Great color! Sometimes the red is too brilliant which results in a really bitter cupcake. Yours looks spot on.

    Reply

  32. Mglòria on November 8, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Wauuu!!!
    They look great!!!
    Mglòria from Gourmenderies

    Reply

  33. Jen @ How To: Simplify on November 8, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Wow, these cupcakes are absolutely gorgeous!

    Reply

  34. Mackenzie @ The Caramel Cookie on November 8, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    The heart shaped sprinkles are too cute! I love the color of these; I’m not a fan of the fakey vibrant red color.

    Reply

  35. Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having on November 8, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    I’ve never had a good red velvet cupcake. I’ve always found them to be dry and flavourless. But if you say this one is good I have to give them another shot!

    Reply

  36. Kita on November 8, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Not sure why, but I love Red Velvet. Normally, I am not a dessert person, but if red velvet cake is on the menu I am saving room.

    Reply

  37. Sharlene on November 8, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    I’m so happy you posted this because I’ve been looking for a really great red velvet recipe since the last one I tried was not very good. These look and sound like my ideal red velvet cupcake. Can’t wait to try them!

    Reply

  38. communitycook on November 8, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    I made red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for my sister’s wedding a few years back. They had fondant gerber daisies on them. I hate fondant but the bride was going for a certain look. I used a recipe from an old cookbook I found at my local library, and the cupcakes and frosting were very good – I just peeled the fondant off to eat them. These look fantastic. I’m glad you decided that red velvet was worthy of your touch!

    Reply

  39. Petes on November 8, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    Beautiful as always. Love red velvet!

    Reply

  40. nuha on November 8, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    these look delish! I remember hearing that the color will only change with cocoa thats not Dutch processed, I think… Do you know anything about that? xoxo

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 8th, 2010 at 11:11 pm

      Hi Nuha, Yes! I read the same thing – the reddish hue doesn’t come out with Dutch-processed cocoa.

      Reply

  41. Nuts about Food on November 9, 2010 at 7:15 am

    I always wondered about the red velvet hype and where it originated, this was a very interesting post. It doesn’t really exist over here in Italy, but will be sure to have some on my Xmas trip back home.

    Reply

  42. Robyn on November 9, 2010 at 9:35 am

    i’m always skeptical of the bright red velvet cupcakes, that are basically just white cake dyed red. love that this recipe has cocoa in in. there’s also a red velvet whoopie pie recipe in the new baked explorations book that looks great!

    Reply

  43. Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes on November 9, 2010 at 9:53 am

    So funny, I actually just made these over the weekend for a girlfriend’s birthday. Yours look beautiful, love the deep red color, but I must admit I actually like that fake-red color, especially when using multicolored sprinkles. I used Annie’s recipe and it was so beyond moist. I love the cream cheese frosting but my real favorite way to make is with the cooked icing which is actually the original red velvet pairing.

    Reply

  44. Michele (also a brown eyed baker) on November 9, 2010 at 10:35 am

    I fell in LOVE with Red Velvet on my 40th birthday when my husband took me to Captiva Island. The Bubble Room has the BEST Red Velvet cake w/cream cheese frosting, and a slice easily feeds 4 or more! It’s huge! YUMmmmm…. It’s a don’t miss if you are ever in that area.

    I’ve never had a “great” local ‘burgh red velvet cupcake. I’ve also made VERY dry attempts myself. I can’t wait to try your new recipe. Should be great for the holidays. Thanks

    Reply

    • Tom on November 9th, 2010 at 8:40 pm

      That’s funny Michele growing up in Orlando I ate frequently at the Bubble room in Fern Park, (North of Orlando) Fl. I guess it was their beta site before they moved to Captiva? When I was down in Captiva staying at South Seas Plantation last year I drove right by the Bubble Room and almost got rear ended as I slowed down because I knew I was going get me some of that, “Million dollar cake” red velvet cake. When I was young I always had to share mine someone which you know how that went :o(. I was told it gets even better if you can somehow manage to let it sit a day or so in the refrigerator untouched. Yea right in your dreams!

      Reply

  45. Ram on November 9, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    I like my cupcakes and cakes moist and delicious and your Red Velvet looks exactly what I’m looking for. And also, I’m always impressed by the way you pipe the frostings on your cupcakes.

    Reply

  46. Patty on November 9, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    They sound awesome – and look pretty sexy too! :)

    Reply

  47. Sues on November 9, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    I like red velvet cupcakes OK, but I’ve never really gotten the crazy appeal about them. But yours look amazingly beautiful!! Now I get the appeal of these :)

    Reply

  48. Sherry on November 9, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Woo hoo! I’m glad you like red velvet now=) I’d be interested to know where you had that nasty red cupcake at; I’m from Pittsburgh myself. I hope it wasn’t from Vanilla (Pastry Studio)! They’re my favvvvvvv. Not a fan of Dozen’s, however=P

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 10th, 2010 at 2:54 pm

      Hi Sherry (and fellow ‘Burgher)! Nope it wasn’t Vanilla Pastry Studio; it was Dozen.

      Reply

      • Sherry on November 14th, 2010 at 12:22 am

        Yuck. Figures as much!

        Reply

  49. Dawn on November 9, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    I made these last night!!! They are all gone. . . so good.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 10th, 2010 at 2:55 pm

      Woo! So happy you loved ‘em!

      Reply

  50. Kelsey on November 9, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    You’re making my cupcake strike difficult.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 10th, 2010 at 2:56 pm

      Cupcake strike?! Whaa??

      Reply

  51. Ellen on November 9, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    These look soooo good – I adore red velvet. Actually, what I really adore is cream cheese icing. And I had to comment because I’ve been to The Hummingbird Bakery, and it’s wonderful!! I’ve looked at the cookbook before and wasn’t sure if I sure invest or not, but I think these cupcakes just sealed the deal. It’s mine!

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 10th, 2010 at 2:57 pm

      Hi Ellen, Great to hear from someone who has been to the bakery! Once you give these a try and let me know how they compare :)

      Reply

  52. Denise on November 9, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    My sister and I just made these and they turned out so moist and delish. I will be adding this recipe to my personal collection.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 10th, 2010 at 2:58 pm

      Yay for sisterly love and good cupcakes :) Glad you girls enjoyed them!

      Reply

  53. Debra on November 10, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Michelle my experience with red velvet has been quite similar to yours. I was intrigued by the hype and the first recipe I tried was from a church lady cookbook that a friend got when she was living in Atlanta. I figured that southern church ladies would know their red velvet. Everyone else loved them but I was underwhelmed (and alarmed at the three BOTTLES of red food colouring it called for). This weekend I made cupcakes for a charity sale and went hunting high and low for a red velvet recipe. I settled on this same one from Joy! Unfortunately I didn’t try one so I’ll have to make another batch to taste test. I also used your chocolate buttercream recipe to frost some of the chocolate cupcakes. It was great!

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 10th, 2010 at 3:26 pm

      Three bottles?! Eek! Great minds think alike, awesome you made these this past weekend too! You definitely have to make them again so you can have a taste :) Glad you liked the chocolate buttercream!

      Reply

  54. Cookin' Canuck on November 11, 2010 at 12:00 am

    I loved reading the history of red velvet cakes. What pretty little cupcakes these are!

    Reply

  55. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on November 11, 2010 at 6:59 am

    These cupcakes look great! I have been looking for a great red velvet recipe (I’ve tried a few in the past) to use for the cupcakes for my brother’s wedding in a few weeks. I’ll give this one a try!

    Reply

  56. Megan on November 12, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    I made these cupcakes the other day for work and they were fantastic. One of my co-workers said they tasted better than the one she had at the Hummingbird Bakery in London so very high accolades. I was wondering what tip you use to swirl your icing on? I use the Wilton large star tip but I love how your icing looks.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 14th, 2010 at 8:49 pm

      Wow, Megan, better than the original bakery’s? That’s quite a compliment! For the frosting I use a Wilton 1M tip and just swirl away!

      Reply

  57. Gini on November 14, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I made them today. They came out fluffly and moist. But instead of regular cream cheese, I used low fat. I think next time I’ll use regular because I could taste more of the butter and it was runny :/ Other than that they came out good.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 14th, 2010 at 8:51 pm

      Gini, Glad you enjoyed the cupcakes! Hope you’ll try the frosting again; I definitely use full fat cream cheese when I bake, I think you can really tell the difference!

      Reply

  58. Izzah on November 18, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    is white vinegar a must ingredient?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 19th, 2010 at 8:44 pm

      It is, it is key to the texture of the cake due to its chemical reaction with the baking soda and the buttermilk. This gives the cake the light and fluffy texture.

      Reply

  59. Eva on November 21, 2010 at 8:37 am

    These turned out perfect!

    Reply

  60. Faith on November 27, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    I tried to make red velvet cupcakes for the first time today (well, actually my first time for any type of cupcakes). They came out decent but looked brown :( Does it matter that I used gel food coloring & dark cocoa powder?
    Your cupcakes look WAY better than the ones I made, I’m going to try again and hopefully they’ll come out better…practice makes perfect, right?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 29th, 2010 at 7:57 pm

      Hi Faith, Hmm the gel coloring may have done it. I know from coloring fondant and icing that it can sometimes take a LOT of gel color to get a deep color, and that’s especially the case with reds and black. Give it another go with liquid coloring and see if they turn out more red. Let me know how it goes!

      Reply

  61. Mimi on November 28, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    I have tried the recipe and it turned out good; However, the best so far is Magnolia’s Red Velvet cupcake. Amazing taste and brilliant color.
    Thank you for your recipe.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 29th, 2010 at 7:58 pm

      You’re welcome; will have to give Magnolia’s a try sometime!

      Reply

  62. Harriette on December 2, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Hi, these look so good! I’m going to make them this Saturday but I have a couple of questions. Your pictures are so pretty!: I don’t have frosting material, would a ziploc bag with a corner cut off work? Also, I don’t think I have any buttermilk, is there are substitute for it? Thanks so much!

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 6th, 2010 at 11:41 pm

      Hi Harriette, I’m sorry I’m a little late. A ziploc bag with a corner snipped off would be fine for decorating. You could also pile the icing on and just smooth it with an offset spatula.

      There really isn’t a substitute for buttermilk in this recipe because of the chemical reaction it has with baking soda and the cocoa powder. You can, however, make your own. Place 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup. Add enough milk to bring the liquid up to the 1-cup line. Let stand for 5 minutes, and then use as much as the recipe calls for.

      Reply

  63. Tammie Perry on December 9, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    I just made these yesterday for a client who was taking them to their staff Christmas party. I double the recipe and they turned out awesome. They were moist and red but not over the top in color and they tasted fabulous. I had been looking for a good recipe for these for awhile and this one is definitely a keeper. BTW my client was very happy also. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 10th, 2010 at 2:26 pm

      Yay! Love success stories!

      Reply

  64. Jessie on December 11, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I haven’t ever been overwhelmed with a red velvet cake either, but your recipes have never let me down so I can’t wait to try my hand at these!

    Reply

  65. Cathy on December 13, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    I made these yesterday and they were perfect! I looked at several red velvet recipes and I chose this one because it used less butter/oil than all the other recipes I found. It was more work than I anticipated, but it was worth it. They tasted like the ones that I buy from a bakery, but with less fat I’m sure!

    Reply

  66. Gabby on December 15, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Your red velvet cupcakes look so perfect. I tried making them once and failed. Haven’t looked back. I’m going to try your recipe and see how I do. What type of tools did you use to frost? I never mastered that skill.

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 16th, 2010 at 3:08 pm

      Hi Gabby, I used a disposable pastry bag and a Wilton 1M decorating tip (you can find both at Michael’s). Enjoy the cupcakes!

      Reply

  67. Linda on December 16, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    I would like to try this recipe as a layer cake instead of the cupcakes. Would there need to be any change in the ingredient amounts?

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 16th, 2010 at 3:09 pm

      Hi Linda, To make an 8 or 9-inch layer cake, simply double the recipe. Enjoy! :)

      Reply

      • Linda on December 17th, 2010 at 5:21 pm

        Thank you Michelle – will be trying this for Christmas!

        Reply

      • Valerie on November 3rd, 2012 at 12:26 am

        What about a 9X13 pan?
        Should I just double the recipe?

        Reply

        • Michelle on November 6th, 2012 at 11:51 am

          Hi Valerie, Yes, for a 9×13-inch cake you would also double the recipe.

          Reply

  68. Brittani on December 18, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Delicious! I made these as mini cupcakes for a work party and ended up having to make more for my family. They’re amazingly moist and oh so yummy. Excellent recipe!

    Reply

  69. kristen on December 20, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    so excited to try these for christmas!! i have a question though, does this recipe make enough icing to ice all 12 cupcakes with a nice sized dollop as yours are? just wondering if i should double the icing recipe or not, i like a nice jumbo swirl on top like you

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 16th, 2011 at 10:04 pm

      Yep! I made a single batch of frosting and had enough to frost all of the cupcakes like you see in the pictures.

      Reply

      • TCS on October 21st, 2013 at 8:44 pm

        I was about to ask the same thing, but for an opposite reason–I plan to double the cupcakes, but that looks like WAY too much frosting for me.

        Reply

  70. carolyn on December 22, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Much like you, I have been searching for the perfect recipe for Red Velvet cake. The last recipe I tried was from The Cake Boss. The recipe was featured on Oprah’s magazing so I thought…Why not? I ended up throwing out half of the cake because it was just too dry. Yours looks so moist and yummy! I wanted to ask you what tip your using for the frosting? I love your cupcake swirls! I will keep u posted on the cuppies…lol! Thanks! ;)

    Reply

    • BlondeBaker on November 26th, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      Hi Carolyn! A tip is to not use to much! I have done that before and its a definite overkill!

      Reply

  71. Lori on December 25, 2010 at 2:46 am

    I looked at a few recipes and what people had to say about them and took what they liked about those and changed this recipe so I made these but I used 1/4 c canola oil with the butter, added more cocoa and they turned out really great, light fluffy, moist and airy. I didn’t have any fancy pastry bag and used just a ziploc bag to frost them. They turned out perfect with a light dusting of cocoa powder and oh so pretty.This will make a fabulous layer cake too ^.^

    Reply

  72. Rosalind on January 8, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    hmm made these, but from the Hummingbird book and they exploded in the oven, this has never happened before. let me say that I have cooked a lot of cakes without failure so I am suspicious of this recipe as it stems from that dreadful book – several other recipes in the book fail and probably because they couldn’t be bothered to properly test the recipes, shame on them! – So I love your recipes normally can you confirm that this is sufficiently adapted not to explode in the oven?!

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 10th, 2011 at 12:36 pm

      Hi Rosalind, I’m not sure that I can absolutely, 100% guarantee that you won’t have problems with these, as every oven is different, but I can tell you that I had no problem whatsoever. They baked up just fine!

      Reply

  73. Cindy on January 10, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    I made these yesterday, and found 20 minutes of baking to be too long. They were pretty dry and overbaked by that time. I’d suggest you start testing them @ the 15 minute mark. Wish I had thought of that before….

    Reply

  74. Erin on January 30, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Just made these yesterday and they were wonderful! I had been using Rachael Ray’s recipe for years but it had been inconsistent at best… I wanted a new recipe that used butter instead of oil and so decided to try yours. They were a big hit! Thanks — love your site.

    Reply

  75. Caroline on February 6, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    I just made these and they came out flat topped….any suggestions as to why this happened? Please let me know. I want to make these for Valentine’s Day and this was a trial run for tasting, etc.

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 14th, 2011 at 8:24 pm

      Hi Caroline, Cupcakes can end up with flat tops for a few reasons – if the pan gets tapped against the counter or oven rack and air escapes the batter, they can deflate. Also, if the oven temperature is lower than called for it can also result in flat top cupcakes. And, if the cups weren’t filled far enough up with batter it could cause the cupcakes to not rise high enough. Hope that helps!

      Reply

  76. Dana on February 7, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    These look so good! :D
    Question: What else could I use in place of the distilled white vinegar?
    Thanks :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 14th, 2011 at 8:26 pm

      Hi Dana, The white vinegar is actually a crucial component to the cupcakes due to its chemical reaction with the buttermilk and cocoa powder. I wouldn’t recommend substituting.

      Reply

      • Wilma on October 16th, 2011 at 3:13 pm

        And why baking soda…? inst that what u use to clean stuff?

        Reply

        • Michelle on October 16th, 2011 at 9:12 pm

          Baking soda is used for cleaning, but it’s a very common baking ingredient, along with baking powder – they are leaveners.

          Reply

        • Wilma on October 20th, 2011 at 6:52 pm

          Hi Michelle, can i use regular butter instead of unsalted? and can i use self- raising flour?

          love this site!
          blessings

          Reply

          • Michelle on October 21st, 2011 at 3:56 pm

            Hi Wilma, You can use salted butter, just omit the salt in the recipe. Definitely a no on the self-rising flour though – it contains leavening ingredients, which will mess with the amounts that are already in the recipe. Stick with all-purpose flour and use the baking soda called for above.

            Reply

  77. Karen G on February 8, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Hello! I loved your recipes for chocolate cupcakes and chocolate buttercream frosting. DIVINE! I tried these red velvet cupcakes a few days ago and ran into two issues: (1) I saw what I would call striations of cocoa in the baked cupcakes, which seemed odd because the batter was so smooth. Are you familiar with this effect? (2) When I added the vanilla, the frosting became loose and, well, exceedingly vanilla-y. I was unable to pipe it to any good effect, as it just spread over the top of the cupcake. I made the frosting again, with the same result. I don’t know what went wrong, but I wonder if the quantity of vanilla is correct. THANK YOU!

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 14th, 2011 at 8:32 pm

      Hi Karen, (1) I’m thinking that the striations could be from egg that wasn’t completely combined into the batter and that some cocoa clung to; (2) the amount of vanilla is correct. I always use 1 tablespoon in my frosting recipes. I’m not sure why it would be so soft unless perhaps the butter or cream cheese was softened way too much? I hope you’ll give them another try!

      Reply

      • Karen G on February 14th, 2011 at 10:52 pm

        Hi, Michelle. Thank you so much for your response. I will definitely try again. :)

        Reply

  78. Chris on February 8, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Hi, Not sure where u are, but here in Canada @ the Bulk Barn, u can get a richer(higher fat content) cocoa called ruby-red; has a deeper darker reddish appearance. Costs a bit more but so worth it.

    Reply

  79. Jarrelle on February 10, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    How do you think these would be if I made them Friday night and left them over night covered and then frosted them on Sat. I have a party for Sat night and I want to make these but I need to do them Fri night. You think they would still be moist??

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 10th, 2011 at 11:17 pm

      Hi Jarrelle, making them on Friday and then frosting them on Saturday would be just fine. Just let them cool completely after baking and store in an airtight container at room temperature until you’re ready to frost them. Enjoy!

      Reply

  80. Lori on February 10, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Hi! I may want to try making these into mini cupcakes, how long should I bake them for?
    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 10th, 2011 at 11:19 pm

      I would start checking them around 7 or 8 minutes.

      Reply

  81. Sarah on February 13, 2011 at 8:33 am

    I made these these in preparation for Valentine’s Day but I’m not sure they are going to make it. These were amazing, light, fluffy and delicious.
    I’ve made a few things from your site and they have all been a great success.
    Thank you and I look forward to making many more.

    Reply

  82. Ginny on February 13, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    My five-year-old and I just finished baking these cupcakes – they look beautiful. To practice her writing skills, my daughter wrote all the ingredients we needed to buy down. However, we had a hard time crossing red food coloring off the list. After visiting three different grocery stores, all with an empty shelf where the red food coloring was before the Valentine’s rush, we finally found two bottles left at the fourth store. We can’t wait to frost these and enjoy them tonight!

    Reply

    • cupcake on February 15th, 2011 at 5:00 pm

      same thing happened to me, the first store didnt have any they even checked in the back for me, then the next store i stood on my tippy toes and climbed on the bottom shelf to see up on the top shelf and there was one box in the wayyy back knocked over and thank goodness it was red!

      Reply

  83. VE on February 13, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    I made them tonight. Not the best recipe The cocoa taste was too strong, not subtle like it’s supposed to be. They were pretty, but didn”t taste like they are supposed to.

    Reply

  84. Ginny on February 14, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    The cupcakes were absolutely delicious, moist and delectable! My new go-to recipe for red velvet! Cream cheese icing always makes it better : )

    Reply

  85. cupcake on February 15, 2011 at 11:45 am

    i made these yesturday! they turned out AWESOME!! my first time EVER making cupcakes from scratch! thank you thank you for your easy to follow steps! p.s. i heart the 1M tip now!!!

    Reply

  86. Shellee on February 16, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Hadn’t understood the red velvet craze either, until now. I made these on V Day simply to be festive and am SO HAPPY I DID! These cupcakes were not only spectacular to look at (I, too, appreciated the not too red color), they were moist and light, flavorful and well balanced with the delicious frosting. So many cream cheese frostings are too sweet in my opinion. This one was, no, IS, perfect! Thank you so much! Keep all the good ones comin’!!!

    Reply

  87. Jenny on February 17, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    I just made these for my office Valentine’s Day party! They came out really good, but what tip number did you use for the icing? Mine didn’t stand nearly as high as yours?

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 17th, 2011 at 1:35 pm

      Hi Jenny, Glad that they were a hit! I used a Wilton 1M tip.

      Reply

  88. Kathy on February 25, 2011 at 2:56 am

    Hi Michelle! I tried out this recipe and they were great. They’re moist and they taste awesome. However, the tops look weird. They sort of cracked which made them look like muffins. I don’t know what I did wrong. At least it tasted fine. Great recipe!

    Reply

  89. Katie on February 26, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Hello! I’m currently on a baking high and I’m hoping to make these for my friends at school though I do have a question & I’m not sure if it’s stupid or not: does it matter to use cake flour v.s. all purpose flour? I just don’t want to make any mistakes that would make my mum refer allowing me to do this haha.
    please & thanks for the help!

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 27th, 2011 at 4:06 pm

      Hi Katie, Yes you’ll want to use all-purpose flour; cake flour will alter the texture of the cupcake. Enjoy!

      Reply

  90. My Kangaroo cake girl on March 17, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    I just made these RV cupcakes. they baked pretty and had a nice color however, I did not like the taste and felt that it left my taste buds with an after tastes. I followed the reciepe to the tee. everything turned out great except the most important, the taste. Since I just tasted RV cake last saturday for the first time, I did not get the same chocolate tast. I will take them to work and have my co workers critic my cupcakes. thank you for the reciepe. I must try again.

    Reply

    • Sarah on February 14th, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      I agree. It tasted weird to me and was not moist at all. I could not finish one cupcake. That’s how much I hated the taste, and I’ve had plenty red velvet cakes and cupcakes before at other places. Something is wrong with this recipe.

      Reply

  91. Maria on April 1, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    What brand of liquid food coloring do you use? Not sure if it would make a difference! Thanks

    Reply

    • My Kangaroo cake girl on April 1st, 2011 at 11:00 pm

      I used McCormick one of the best coloring. I just have not found that one recipe.

      Reply

    • Michelle on April 2nd, 2011 at 11:45 am

      I also used McCormick’s

      Reply

  92. Brittany on April 18, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    I know I am very behind on this one but I have recently discovered your blog and absolutely love it! I made a Martha Stewart Red Vevlet cupcake recipe and was not happy with my 1st attempt. This recipe is fanulous! Thank you for sharing!

    Reply

  93. Maria on April 26, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    What brand of butter & cocoa is the best to use? I feel this may make a difference! Mine came out flat, & not pretty! Greasy too! Followed recipe & didn’t open my oven! Please help!

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 27th, 2011 at 1:35 pm

      Hi Maria, I buy my butter in bulk at Sam’s Club, so it’s their unsalted brand. And I use Hershey’s natural cocoa powder.

      Reply

      • Nicole on April 11th, 2013 at 9:11 pm

        I use the same as you!!Z Tehehehehe! Now that I think about it this wasn’t a necessary comment.

        Reply

  94. Meghan on May 17, 2011 at 12:43 am

    I’ve never made red velvet cupcakes, but I’m an avid baker. These cupcakes came out amazing, which is a relief because I’m bringing them to work. As for the frosting, it tastes delicious, but every single time in my entire life that I’ve made cream cheese frosting, it comes out a little soupy. This frosting recipe worked for me better than most, but I’m wondering if anyone else has that problem, or if anyone has a trick for perfect cream cheese icing?

    Reply

    • Kara on December 4th, 2012 at 5:38 pm

      Full fat cream cheese, softened butter but not melty :) You can also pop it in the fridge to let it harden up a bit before using it frost

      Reply

  95. Jen on May 17, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    I’ve never made red velvet cake/cupcakes before…these look really good, so I may have to give them a shot. Do you have to add the red food coloring, for texture purposes? I know the cake won’t be as pretty, but I’d rather leave it out. Should I just use 3 tablespoons water instead?

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 18th, 2011 at 12:32 pm

      Hi Jen, You can omit the food coloring, you just won’t get that red hue to the cupcakes. You don’t need to add water in its place, just omit.

      Reply

  96. nicole on June 2, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Hi

    I can’t wait to try this and am going to make it for my little guy’s first bday this weekend. How long would you bake the cakes for if the recipe was doubled? Same temp? I’m only going to get one shot at this! Decorating inspiration appreciated too for this one :)
    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 2nd, 2011 at 3:19 pm

      Hi Nicole, I am guessing you would need anywhere from 25 to 40 minutes of bake time for the cakes. I haven’t baked it in cake form yet, so I would just start checking around 25 minutes to be safe, checking every 5 minutes. Enjoy and happy birthday to your little man!

      Reply

  97. Rachel on June 5, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    I have never made red velvet cake before… tried the cupcakes today and they were awesome! The icing was to die for. I have just recently gotten back into baking and I stumbled across your blog. I will definitely use this icing recipe again. All that vanilla was really delicious. The only problem was finding enough red food coloring for the cupcakes. I used up a whole bottle and then added some from a small bottle that I had. I will definitely try more of your recipes. I also like all the information you give with each recipe. Thank you very much!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

  98. sam on June 18, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    how do you get the frosting so perfect? what kind of pastry bag do you use?

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 19th, 2011 at 12:31 pm

      Hi Sam, I use disposable pastry bags from Wilton, and a Wilton 1M decorating tip.

      Reply

  99. nel on June 19, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Hello, may i know for this recipe, if i don’t add the cocoa powder and red food coloring, will it turn out to be a nice fluffy and moist vanilla cupcake? Thankss!!

    Reply

  100. Amanda on June 22, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    I made these last night and by god they are the best cupcakes I’ve ever tasted and with the added bonus I can actually say I made them myself!

    Thank you so much for sharing such a perfect recipe! This ones a keeper!

    Reply

    • mahnoor on January 30th, 2013 at 7:10 am

      HII MICHELLE..
      I HAVE TRIED UR RECIPES NA THY ALL WERE OWSUMMM AND THANK U SOO MUCH FR SUCH A YUMMY RECIPES. :-)

      Reply

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