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Three red velvet cupcakes with chocolate frosting and Valentine's Day sprinkles.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

There’s no better way to celebrate your love than with delicious red velvet cupcakes! These cupcakes are super moist and topped with a fluffy chocolate cream cheese frosting. They’re so easy to make and make an impressive dessert fitting for any occasion.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Cooling time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 15 cupcakes
Calories 350 kcal

Equipment

  • Muffin pan
  • Cupcake liners
  • Kitchen scale
  • Stand mixer or hand mixer
  • Piping bag
  • Piping tip

Ingredients 

Cupcakes

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee or ½ teaspoon espresso powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • ¼ cup oil
  • cup buttermilk
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon red food coloring gel
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon vinegar

Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • cup cocoa powder
  • 3 ⅓ cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoon milk or cream
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions 

Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2-3 liners (this recipe makes 14-15 cupcakes). Set aside.
  • Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the sugar and eggs until pale, thick, and creamy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, drizzle in the oil until it is fully incorporated.
  • Combine the buttermilk, coloring, vanilla, and vinegar in a glass measuring cup and set aside.
  • Alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the batter (beginning and ending with flour mixture) in 3 different additions until combined. Do not over mix.
  • Fill each liner ⅔ full and bake for 17-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting

  • In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Sift in the cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Beat to combine. Add milk/cream and the vanilla. Beat on high for another 2 minutes until fluffy and smooth.
  • Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes.

Notes

  • Storing: Store leftover cupcakes covered tightly in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Gluten free: To make this recipe gluten free, using a 1:1 gluten free baking flour. I always have great success with this one from Bob's Red Mill.
  • Make ahead: Cupcakes can be made 1 day in advance. Cover tightly in an airtight container and store at room temperature. The frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered tightly, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Accuracy: For best results when baking, use a kitchen scale to measure out ingredients. 
  • Room temperature ingredients: Make sure any refrigerated ingredients come to room temperature before beginning making the cupcakes or the frosting. Room temperature ingredients are key to smooth and velvety batter and a fluffy frosting.
  • Do not over mix: Mixing the batter develops the gluten proteins found in flour. Over mixing results in dense and dry cupcakes. Stop mixing as soon as there are no more clumps or dry spots of flour. 
  • Gel vs. liquid food coloring: If you like the look of bright red velvet cupcakes, use gel food color. If you prefer a deep, more concentrated red hue, opt in for the liquid kind.
  • Piping frosting: To get a “ruffled” frosting look, use a 2D piping tip. 

Nutrition

Calories: 350kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 4gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 238mgPotassium: 125mgFiber: 2gSugar: 37gVitamin A: 456IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 40mgIron: 1mg
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