Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting If you’ve ever wanted to make red velvet cupcakes from scratch that are as good as those you’d find in a bakery, try this hassle-free recipe!
Homemade Red Velvet Cupcakes
Red velvet cake and cupcakes are so popular, but so many problems tend to plague them. They’re either from a box, which feels like cheating, or they’re from scratch but are horribly dry, and you need a mixer and will dirty every bowl in your kitchen in the process.
These are the best red velvet cupcakes I’ve ever had, and the easiest recipe you’ll ever find. If you’ve ever wanted to make red velvet cupcakes from scratch that are as good as those you’d find in a bakery, try this hassle-free recipe. You’ll come out looking like a superhero baker to anyone you serve them to.
They’re made in one bowl, no mixer, no creaming ingredients, and it’s a cupcake batter that’s more like a muffin batter. Whisk together wet ingredients, fold in the dry, pour into liners, and bake. Five minutes of active work never tasted so good.
Many recipes for red velvet aren’t chocolaty enough. While these aren’t as chocolaty as chocolate cupcakes, the chocolate flavor is pleasantly noticeable.
How to Make Red Velvet Cupcakes
Simply whisk together the wet ingredients, then stir in the dry ingredients. Add in just enough food coloring to turn the batter red.
Fill your muffin cups 3/4 full, then bake the red velvet cupcakes until risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
While the red velvet cupcakes cool, make the homemade cream cheese frosting. If your frosting is too thick, add a splash of cream or milk to gradually thin it out.
Frost the cooled cupcakes with the red velvet cake frosting and optionally garnish with sanding sugar.
Tips for Making Red Velvet Cupcakes
The batter makes enough for about 14 cupcakes, but because I have a small oven, I can only fit one 12-cup muffin pan in my oven at a time. The remedy is to either lick the bowl (I’m still alive after a lifetime of raw dough and batter eating); discard the batter (that’s criminal), or bake an adorable mini loaf in a mini loaf pan that fits on the same oven rack as the muffin pan (score!).
I use my mini pans all the time for a 13th or 14th cupcake, extra muffin batter, or for mini cakes. Best money you’ll spend this year and you get 4 mini pans.
I used light cream cheese, which makes frosting softer and runnier. If you want to pipe your frosting on, use full-fat. However, given that this is an easy, breezy, one-bowl, no-mixer cupcake batter, to break out a piping bag seems like a cruel trick.
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
RED VELVET CUPCAKES
1 large egg
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup buttermilk (or Powdered Buttermilk, use 2 1/2 tablespoons + 2/3 cup water)
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons vanilla Greek yogurt (plain Greek yogurt or sour cream may be substituted)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons red food coloring, or as needed
REAM CHEESE FROSTING
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened (I used Trader Joe’s soft spreadable light)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, or as necessary
splash cream or milk, only if necessary
sanding sugar or sprinkles, optional for garnishing
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a Non-Stick 12-Cup Regular Muffin Pan with paper liners; set aside. You will likely have batter for a 13th or 14th cupcake, and I baked it in this cooking-sprayed mini loaf pan because my oven is small and that setup works; discard extra batter if that’s easier.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the first 6 ingredients, through vanilla, until smooth.
Add the flour, cocoa, baking soda, optional salt, and whisk until just combined; don’t overmix.
Carefully whisk in the food coloring, making sure to add only as much as necessary to color the batter a deep shade of red; adding more than necessary can leave an aftertaste.
Using a medium 2-inch cookie scoop, place about 2 heaping tablespoons of batter per cupcake into each of the 12 cavities so they’re solidly 3/4-full. I poured the excess batter into a mini loaf pan.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until domed, set, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter; don’t overbake. My cupcakes were on the large side of normal because I generously filled liners to 3/4-full, and they took exactly 20 minutes. If yours are filled more shallow, start checking at 18 minutes.
Allow cupcakes to cool in pan for about 15 minutes before removing. I baked the mini loaf for 20 minutes. While cupcakes cool, make the frosting.
MAKE THE CUPCAKES
Combine first 3 ingredients in a large mixing bowl, add about 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, and whisk to combine or beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
Continue adding sugar until desired frosting consistency is reached. If you add too much sugar and need to thin frosting out, add a splash of cream. Because I used light cream cheese, the frosting stayed on the runnier side. If you want frosting thick enough to pipe, do not use light cream cheese.
Add 2 to 3 tablespoons frosting to the top of each cupcake and smooth with a knife. Optionally transfer frosting to a piping bag and frost the cooled cupcakes. I like the Wilton 1M tip for cupcakes.
Optionally, garnish each cupcake with a sprinkle of sanding sugar or pinch of sprinkles