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How to Make Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red velvet cupcakes with vanilla cream cheese frosting

Red Velvet Cupcakes are a Timeless Classic

Red velvet cupcakes are a timeless classic in the world of desserts and one that barely makes it to the table. Their vibrant red color and velvety texture make them a treat that’s not only visually appealing but also utterly delicious. But have you ever wondered where the name “red velvet” came from?

Red velvet cupcake batter

In this article, we’ll explore the origin of this delectable dessert’s name and provide you with a fantastic red velvet cupcake recipe that you can easily whip up in your kitchen quickly.

The Story Behind Red Velvet Cupcakes

The history of red velvet cakes and cupcakes is a bit of a mystery, with several theories surrounding their origin. One popular belief suggests that the first red velvet cake was created in the early 20th century at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

Another theory ties red velvet cake to the Adams Extract Company, a Texas-based food coloring manufacturer. Legend has it that the company promoted red velvet cake as a clever way to showcase their food coloring products during the Great Depression, turning the cake into a beloved American classic.

Regardless of its precise origins, red velvet cake became popular due to its unique chocolatey flavor, moist rich crumb, and striking red appearance. Over time, this cake’s fame spawned its miniature counterpart: the red velvet cupcake.

The cake’s distinctive red hue is believed to have been achieved by using raw cocoa and a chemical reaction with acidic ingredients like buttermilk and vinegar. This reaction would have turned the cake’s reddish-brown color into a brilliant scarlet hue.

Now that we’ve partially uncovered the intriguing history behind red velvet, let’s dive into making these delectable cupcakes right now. Here’s a simple recipe that will yield approximately 12 delicious red velvet cupcakes. Or 24 if you prefer to make the tiny delicious mini cupcakes that are incredibly popular.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Red velvet cupcakes are a timeless classic in the world of desserts. Their vibrant red color and velvety texture make them a treat that’s not only visually appealing but also utterly delicious. 
Prep Time30 minutes
Active Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cakes, Cupcakes, How to make red velvet cupcakes, Red Velvet Cupcakes
Yield: 12 Cupcakes
Author: Pearl Franks


  • 1 Stand Mixer You can use a Small Hand Mixer.
  • 2 Mixer Bowls If your mixer comes with one bowl you will need a second bowl.
  • 1 Cup Measures
  • 1 Teaspoon Measures
  • 1 12x Cup Muffin/Cupcake Pan You can use a sheet pan if you do not have one of these.
  • 1 Packet of Cupcake/Patty Pan Liners
  • 1 Rubber Scrapping Spatula A wooden spoon will work here.
  • 1 Piping bag + Tips A small spatula will work if you do not have a piping bag.
  • 1 Toothpick or Metal Skewer


For the Cupcakes

  • 1 11/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon natural red food coloring
  • 1/2 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese (1 packet), softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  • In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the sugar and vegetable oil until well combined.
  • Add the egg, buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla extract to the sugar and oil mixture. Mix until smooth.
  • Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Be careful not to overmix, as this can lead to tough cupcakes.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling each about 2/3 full.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  • While the cupcakes cool, prepare the cream cheese frosting. In a mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese and butter until creamy and smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, mixing until well combined.
  • Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost them generously with the cream cheese frosting. You can use a piping bag or simply spread it on with a spatula.
  • Decorate your red velvet cupcakes with a sprinkle of red velvet cake crumbs or a few chocolate shavings for an extra touch of choccy magic.

Red velvet cupcakes are a delightful treat with a rich history and a taste that’s hard to resist. Whether you enjoy them as a sweet snack or serve them on special occasions, these crimson beauties are sure to steal the spotlight and leave them wanting more.

cream cheese frosting red velvet cupcakes


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