Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Crowd pleasing moist red velvet cupcakes with rich and velvety cream cheese frosting

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red velvet cupcakes are a strange phenomenon. They aren’t quite chocolate but they aren’t vanilla either. That being said, there is just something about them that everyone loves. Red velvet is always a crowd pleaser! The combination of the moist cake paired with rich and creamy cream cheese frosting is hard to resist. These cupcakes are some of my most requested by friends and family. Whenever I am unsure of what to make and I ask for suggestions these are almost always near the top of the list (although these might start to edge out red velvet for most requested). Not only do they taste great but they are a beautiful looking cupcake. I love the deep rich red colour against the pale frosting. Of course like most cupcakes these are best topped with sprinkles. 

Red Velvet Cupcake

In my mind, a red velvet cupcake needs to be two things: 

  1. Deep Red in Colour

  2. Moist

This cupcake definitely hits the nail on the head. To achieve a deep red colour, I used a gel food colouring. I added small amounts of red gel until it reached my desired colour.  Keep in mind, I find that the batter tends to lose its colour as it bakes, so if you want a redder cupcake add more food colouring then you think you need. You can also use liquid food colouring but I find it takes a lot of liquid food colouring to achieve a deep red colour. 

You will notice that these cupcakes use mix of butter, oil and sour milk. This in addition to using cake flour instead of all purpose flour makes for a moist cupcakes. If you do not have cake flour on hand, for every 1 cup of all purpose flour remove 2 tablespoons and replace with 2 table spoons of corn starch. Make sure you sift well to insure the corn starch is evenly distributed. A lot of red velvet recipes call for buttermilk, since I rarely have buttermilk on hand I decided to use sour milk (milk with vinegar added and allowed to sit for 5 minutes or so).  The acidity in the sour milk, along with the additional vinegar in the batter reacts with the baking soda to allow the cupcake to rise. These cupcakes bake up with a lovely little dome. 

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

This frosting is everything! I think the real reason most people love red velvet cupcake is because of the cream cheese frosting. One of my best friends tells me it doesn’t matter what I make as long as it has my cream cheese frosting. Red velvet, carrot cake, lemon cake she doesn’t care. It’s all about the frosting. This cream cheese frosting is tangy and sweet. 

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Makes: 12 cupcakes


1.5 c cake flour

2 tbsp coco powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 c butter

3/4 c sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 c canola oil

1 tsp vinegar

red food colouring

1/2 c sour milk (1/2 c milk + 2 tsp vinegar)


Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake pan with liners, set aside.

In a medium bowl sift together dry ingredients: flour, coco powder and baking soda. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, on medium speed, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. To the butter and sugar add egg and vanilla. Beat until combined. On low speed, beat in oil, vinegar and food colouring until combined. Add half of the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients alternating with the sour milk until all has been combined.

Evenly divide batter between cupcake liners. Fill each 2/3s full. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting


1/2 c butter, room temperature

8oz cream cheese, room temperature

4 c icing sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1-2 tbsp heavy whipping cream (optional)


In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, on medium speed, beat together butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes).

Reduce speed to low and add in icing sugar one cup at a time. Mix until combined. Add in vanilla. Whip frosting on medium - high speed until light, fluffy and pale in colour. If you would prefer a thinner frosting, add in whipping cream until desired consistency is reached. Frost cupcakes as desired.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting