Red Velvet Cupcakes

Ah, red velvet. A moist, fluffy, love like no other. The first red velvet cake I ever made was for my best friend’s birthday because it’s her favorite type of cake. I decorated the cake to look like her cat (yes, her cat), and it was so delicious that I just had to tweak the recipe a little and take a dabble at some cupcakes… HEAVEN. Even the best chocolate or vanilla cupcakes cannot even begin to compare to red velvet, and I’ve tried them all. They aren’t even close. The cream cheese frosting is a literal God-sent. I don’t like to tell people this but on more than one occasion, I have made a batch of this frosting just to eat all by myself. It is THAT good.

Do you have to use buttermilk?

The key to making a good red velvet cake is buttermilk. Red velvet isn’t overpowering in terms of being sweet or heavy. We can thank buttermilk for that. However, if you’re like me and don’t keep buttermilk on hand (sorry, I’ll try to do better), we can always make it. All you need is an acidic liquid like white vinegar or lemon juice to add to whole milk. For this recipe we need 1 cup of buttermilk, so I put 1 tablespoon of vinegar into my measuring cup and fill it up the rest of the way with milk, stir and let set for 5-10 minutes. Your milk will be curdled slightly and that’s what we want. Now it’s ready to use in our recipe.


  • ½ cup softened butter
  • 1½ cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2½ tablespoons Dutch cocoa powder
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place cupcake liners in muffin pans.
  3. In a medium size bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl with a hand mixer on medium speed, cream butter for 1 minute.
  5. Slowly add sugar to the butter.
  6. Mix in eggs one at a time, oil, vanilla, and buttermilk.
  7. Incorporate dry ingredients 1/2 cup at a time until everything is incorporated.
  8. Add food coloring until desired color is reached.
  9. Spoon mixture in cupcake liners until a little over halfway full.
  10. Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean or has just a few crumbs but not wet.
  11. Let cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

This recipe makes 2½ dozen cupcakes or three 9 inch cakes.