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Classic red velvet cupcakes dressed up with cream cheese frosting make the best dessert! These homemade red velvet cupcakes bake up fluffy and tender with buttery vanilla flavor and a hint of cocoa.
Topped with sweet and tangy vanilla cream cheese frosting and red velvet crumbs (or your favorite sprinkles!), these red velvet cupcakes are perfect for birthdays, Valentine’s Day, or any day that needs a little sweetness!
Red Velvet Cupcake Essentials
Buttermilk – Tangy and creamy buttermilk makes these cupcakes moist and helps activate the baking soda. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make your own buttermilk substitute: Combine 3/4 cup room temperature milk with 3/4 teaspoon of white vinegar. Stir to combine, then let stand for 10 minutes before using.
Butter and Oil – Unsalted butter adds flavor and baking oil (canola or vegetable) adds the signature soft texture.
Eggs – Two large eggs plus one egg yolk provide structure, extra flavor, and moisture.
Cocoa – Unsweetened cocoa powder adds the signature hint of cocoa that complements the flavors of sweet vanilla and tangy buttermilk.
Room Temperature Ingredients – Bring butter, eggs and egg yolk, and buttermilk to room temperature before beginning to ensure that they mix together uniformly and incorporate evenly into the batter.
Red Gel Food Coloring – Concentrated gel food coloring gives these cupcakes their signature red color.
White Vinegar – A teaspoon of white vinegar adds a little extra acid and helps brighten the red hue.
Bake Cupcakes – Bake cupcakes for 17 to 18 minutes, until tops spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in pans on wire racks for 2 minutes before removing from pans to cool completely.
Perfect Cream Cheese Frosting – Use full fat cream cheese and unsalted butter at cool room temperature (finger leaves an indentation; slightly cool to the touch). Beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed until creamy, scraping down the mixer bowl as needed. Add vanilla and salt. Gradually mix in sifted powdered sugar on low speed until smooth. If frosting is too soft to use immediately, chill for 15 to 20 minutes before piping.
Decorate Cupcakes – Transfer cream cheese frosting to a large piping bag fitted with an open star tip and pipe a swirl onto each cupcake. Top cupcakes with red velvet crumbs (crumble up one of the extra cupcakes) or your favorite sprinkles and enjoy!Print
The BEST classic red velvet cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting! You’ll love this recipe for perfect homemade red velvet cupcakes.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1/2 tsp red gel food coloring
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 8 oz full fat cream cheese, cool room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cool room temperature
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line two 12-cup standard muffin pans with baking cups. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Beat brown sugar and butter in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until soft and creamy; mix in oil. Add eggs and egg yolk one at a time and beat until combined. Mix in vanilla extract. Beat in white vinegar and red gel coloring on low speed until combined. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk (begin and end with flour mixture).
- Use a medium cookie scoop coated with nonstick spray to fill each baking cup 2/3 full of batter.
- Bake for 17 to 18 minutes, until cupcakes spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in pans on wire racks for 2 minutes before removing from pans to cool completely.
- For the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed until creamy, scraping down bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla and salt. Reduce speed to low; add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and beat well, scraping down bowl as needed. If frosting is too soft to use immediately, chill for 15 to 20 minutes before piping.
- Transfer frosting to a large piping bag fitted with an open star tip (Wilton 8B) and frost cupcakes. If desired, top with red velvet cupcake crumbs. Chill cupcakes 20 minutes before serving.
- Store leftover cupcakes covered in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Buttermilk: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make your own buttermilk substitute: Combine 3/4 cup room temperature milk with 3/4 teaspoon of white vinegar. Stir to combine, then let stand for 10 minutes before using.
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Keywords: Red Velvet, Red Velvet Cake, Cupcakes, Cream Cheese Frosting