Red Velvet

I haven’t worn red velvet since I was a very young teenager in an early 90s wedding party (yikes! also, thank goodness!)  
For the past few years, cupcake shops have popped up left and right and I’ve tried everything from gourmet bakeries to food trucks (and even a vending machine.)  I learned pretty quickly that unless it was a champagne cupcake or a red velvet cupcake, they mostly just tasted like sugar.  Not a single one of those cupcakes ever satisfied my craving for the decadent taste of a red velvet cupcake with a perfect cream cheese frosting.  I hate the “if I want something done right, I have to do it myself” mentality, but gosh darnit! I was bound and determined to find the perfect red velvet cupcake recipe.  I scoured the internet (thanks google,) grabbed a few boxed cake mixes (I know, the horror, right?! Just kidding, I love food, but I’m not a snob, I love boxed cake mixes and darn if they aren’t easy!) and started trialing-and-erroring my way through recipes.  In a single day I had baked myself ten dozen red velvet cupcakes; I threw away at least half.  Save yourself the trouble and trust me when I say this is the best red velvet cupcake recipe out there (at least my taste buds think so.) I also happened to stumble upon an incredible added ingredient to take your cream cheese frosting to a whole new level: brown sugar! 
Can I just say that I would never, ever make a cake from scratch if I didn’t have my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer?  I got one from my aunts and uncles as a wedding gift, a white tilt-head 4 quart stand mixer that was a thing of beauty.  Years (and children) later, I upgraded to a 6 quart lift stand mixer and haven’t looked back (although I would love to have a glass bowl attachment!)  I think a stand mixer is a must-have kitchen tool.  It’s an investment, but a good one!  My kitchen-aid stand mixer has seen countless chocolate chip cookies, delicious breads and pizza doughs and of course, lots of red velvet cupcakes!  You can shop my favorite kitchen tools over on my SHOP page!
Yes, I added a blueberry because my imagination was taking a nap (you try baking ten dozen red velvet cupcakes) so my photography skills were, um, not up to par:
The Best Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe
Serves 24
The best red velvet cupcake recipe you will ever try!
Write a review
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
45 min
140 calories
23 g
26 g
5 g
2 g
3 g
49 g
169 g
13 g
0 g
1 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 140
Calories from Fat 41
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g
Saturated Fat 3g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 26mg
Sodium 169mg
Total Carbohydrates 23g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 13g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 8 Tbsp butter, softened
  2. 1 1/2 C sugar
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 5 Tbsp cocoa powder (not dutch-processed!)
  5. 1 Tbsp red food coloring gel (that's important!)
  6. 4 Tbsp water
  7. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  8. 1 C buttermilk
  9. 2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  10. 1 tsp salt
  11. 1 tsp baking soda
  12. 3 tsp distilled white vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners (paper or aluminum.)
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until fully mixed.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix on high until fully incorporated.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together cocoa, red food coloring gel and water to create a thick paste. Add the paste to the butter mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl as the paste incorporates into the batter.
  5. Combine flour and salt in separate bowl; slowly add flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating as you go. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to fully incorporate all of the ingredients.
  6. Sprinkle baking soda over batter, then pour in white vinegar - the combination should cause an instant reaction (bubbling!) and stir that into the batter until combined.
  7. Spoon batter into each liner, about 2/3 full. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes (I have an awesome conventional electric oven.)
  1. I use the red food coloring gel - it's super concentrated, but will dye the heck out of everything you touch (like when I accidentally spilled it all down my kitchen cabinet, which is now a lovely shade of red honey oak!) I got mine from Hobby Lobby, but I bet any craft store that sells baking supplies (think Wilton) will also have it.
Adapted from
Adapted from
Pretty, Polished, Perfect.

This recipe was suggested to me by @HowSweetBlog.

Anyway, these cupcakes make my taste buds go:

(photo courtesy of my 5 year old)
Have you got a recipe for Red Velvet you think I should try?

p.s. Have you seen the Seinfeld episode in which George decides he is going to wear velvet every day? Don’t do it.  Especially not in purple.


  1. Laura Hojnacke says:

    Alona loves red velvet cake because her teacher loves it. She and Ashley love red velvet cupcake frozen yogurt from yogurtland. I am going to have to try these cupcakes to see how they are- since I have yet to eat red velvet cake and actually like it.

  2. Terri says:

    Sorry I can't help with a recipe, but the flavor…isn't it just red food coloring. Love the blueberry topper.

  3. Wow, your 5-year-old has some serious fireworks photo taking skills! I think this is the best fireworks picture I've seen on a blog yet.

  4. Erin says:

    Try this one. Especially with the brown sugar cream cheese frosting. It was pretty good!

  5. Erin says:

    Thanks! He asked for the camera and wanted to take pictures, "just like you, Mommy."

  6. Erin says:

    It's more than just the red food coloring, it's the buttermilk, vinegar….etc. I think it's called Red Velvet because no one has been able to come up with an accurate description for its taste!

  7. Laura Hojnacke says:

    I am going to make this for her birthday party tomorrow. I'm off to get the ingredients now!

  8. Erin says:

    Wish I was going to be there! And seriously, Laura. I will never eat cream cheese frosting without brown sugar ever. again.

  9. Laura Hojnacke says:

    So these cupcakes were great! I love the texture- dense, but not too much, moist and smooth- almost velvety (imagine that!). As for the frosting, I am not a fan of frosting. I prefer cake with a tiny bit of frosting at most. This frosting was the best I have tried so far, so I think it will be our go to cream cheese frosting recipe. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Erin says:

    I know! I think they are perfect (and it's the same recipe as Emily's, only her recipe was cut in half.)

  11. Nicholl Vincent says:

    i'd wear red velvet if it looked that good..


    happy fourth!

  12. The cupcake looks rather yummy. Just stopping by to say HI! Found your blog via Red, White and You. Looking forward to reading your future post.

  13. Garagesalesrusblog says:

    So nice to see you at the Red White and YOU Party! I am a follower. Stop by when you get a chance.

    Robin @

  14. Oh my gosh—LOVED that Seinfeld! SO funny. My priest looks like George, which automatically makes me love him. 🙂

    Visiting from Red, White and You!


  15. Oh my. Those cupcakes! They just look perfect. So delicious!

    I'm following you now from the Red White & You Follow Fest! I'd love for you to stop by my blog and become my blog friend too!

    xo, Brooke

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