Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

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.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting {From Scratch} - Made in 1 bowl, no mixer & the cupcakes taste like they're from a bakery! Easy recipe at

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.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting {From Scratch} - Made in 1 bowl, no mixer & the cupcakes taste like they're from a bakery! Easy recipe at

My issue with most red velvet cakes and cupcakes is that they’re dry, and dry anything just isn’t worth the calories. Why bother.

These are incredibly moist from the trifecta of moistening and tenderizing ingredients: oil, buttermilk, and Greek yogurt. I stopped at nothing to make sure they weren’t dry.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting {From Scratch} - Made in 1 bowl, no mixer & the cupcakes taste like they're from a bakery! Easy recipe at

It took me quite a few batches of cupcakes to perfect this recipe. When people think that recipe development isn’t a big deal and you just throw things in a pan and it’ll work out, well, sometimes you get lucky, but most times it’s not that easy, especially for a recipe like this. The same can be said for questions I get along the lines of, Can I substitute coconut sugar for granulated sugar, or Can I use whole wheat pastry flour for all-purpose? Well, maybe you can, and please let me know how that works for you.

Determining if I should use 1 egg, one egg plus yolk, or two eggs; butter or oil and if butter, should it be melted or creamed; buttermilk or just regular milk/cream; to include Greek yogurt or sour cream and if so, how much; how much cocoa powder gives enough pop of chocolate; what kind of leavener to use – baking soda or powder; one of each, or only one or the other, and which one; cake flour or all-purpose.

The choices can be overwhelming, but I’ve done the legwork, and the recipe is a total keeper.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting {From Scratch} - Made in 1 bowl, no mixer & the cupcakes taste like they're from a bakery! Easy recipe at

For baked goods that I want to soft, springy, and bouncy, like cakes, cupcakes, and muffins, I generally prefer using oil to butter because oil does a better job keeping things soft and moist.

The same can be said for buttermilk. It does a fabulous job of tenderizing and softening the texture and crumb of breads and cakes, and when in doubt, I always opt for buttermilk over plain milk or cream. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t tend to keep buttermilk on hand, you can make your own by adding about 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup regular milk, letting it stand 10 minutes to curdle, and then use as indicated.

Or, you can buy a tub of Powdered Buttermilk and it’s shelf stable for year(s). It’s the perfect solution for that once-in-a-blue moon recipe you make that calls for buttermilk. Although, I’ve got tons of recipes to help you use it up.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting {From Scratch} - Made in 1 bowl, no mixer & the cupcakes taste like they're from a bakery! Easy recipe at

I added a couple hearty dollops of vanilla Greek yogurt. You could probably use a bit more buttermilk if you don’t keep Greek yogurt on hand, but yogurt is thicker and sweeter than buttermilk, so it makes the batter a little thicker and sweeter, and helps the cupcakes stay sweet and soft.

Many recipes for red velvet aren’t chocolaty enough. While these aren’t as chocolaty as chocolate cupcakes, the chocolate flavor is pleasantly noticeable.

They rise beautifully to the point I was worried they were rising a little too well. I filled my liners to a solid three-quarters full (this is a non-issue if you only fill to 2/3-full), but thankfully they stay contained, and the resulting cupcakes and hearty and full, not skimpy, wimpy, little cupcakes that no one reaches for.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting {From Scratch} - Made in 1 bowl, no mixer & the cupcakes taste like they're from a bakery! Easy recipe at

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 for $10 bucks.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting {From Scratch} - Made in 1 bowl, no mixer & the cupcakes taste like they're from a bakery! Easy recipe at

I made a one-bowl, no-mixer vanilla cream cheese frosting that I simply spread on. 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, breezey, one-bowl, no-mixer cupcake batter, to break out a piping bag seems like a cruel trick.

They’re soft, tender, springy, and moist. There’s just enough chocolate flavor to satisfy your chocolate cravings, without being overdone.

Although I haven’t tried it, I surmise this cupcake batter could be used as cake batter. I’m guessing a 9-inch square cake (not a 9-inch round pan because they’re smaller and it could overflow) would be about right.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting {From Scratch} - Made in 1 bowl, no mixer & the cupcakes taste like they're from a bakery! Easy recipe at

The smooth, rich cream cheese frosting is the perfect complement to the cupcakes, and adds the right amount of zip and tang.

So good, so easy, so soft, fluffy, and moist. Perfect for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or any old Tuesday.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting {From Scratch} - Made in 1 bowl, no mixer & the cupcakes taste like they're from a bakery! Easy recipe at

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting {From Scratch} - Made in 1 bowl, no mixer & the cupcakes taste like they're from a bakery! Easy recipe at

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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. 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. Five minutes of active work never tasted so good. Many red velvet cakes and cupcakes are dry, but I used a trifecta of moistening and tenderizing ingredients to ensure these are soft and moist. The batter makes enough for about 13 or 14 cupcakes. I discussed above the various options for the extra batter - bake a second muffin pan, discard it, or bake a mini loaf. Although I haven't tried it, I surmise this cupcake batter could be used as cake batter. The vanilla cream cheese frosting adds is the perfect tangy complement to the just-chocolaty-enough cupcakes.So good, so easy, so soft, fluffy, and moist. Perfect for Christmas, Valentine's Day, or just because.

Yield: about 14 cupcakes

Prep Time: 10 mintues

Cook Time: about 20 minutes

Total Time: about 1 hour, for cooling


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 or vegetable oil
2 rounded 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

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 heaping cup cream cheese, softened (I used Trader Joe's soft spreadable light)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
about 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


  1. 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.
  2. Cucpakes - In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the first 6 ingredients, through vanilla, until smooth.
  3. Add the flour, cocoa, baking soda, optional salt, and whisk until just combined; don't overmix.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Cream Cheese Frosting - 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.
  8. 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. You may have a small amount of frosting left over. It will keep airtight in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
  9. Optionally, garnish each cupcake with a sprinkle of sanding sugar or pinch of sprinkles. Cupcakes will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days. I personally am comfortable storing cream cheese-frosted items at room temp, but if you prefer to store in the fridge, that's fine, but note the fridge will dry cupcakes out much more quickly.

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Thanks for the entries in the Mr. Coffee® 12-cup Programmable Coffeemaker Giveaway and in the West Elm $50 Gift Card Giveaway

Do you have a favorite Red Velvet recipe?


199 Responses to “Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. #
    Stephanie — November 23, 2013 at 10:30 am

    These look amazing… I currently have a dozen in the oven. I have only recently got into baking and these are my first red velvet cupcakes! I am bringing them to a friends party tomorrow afternoon and think they will fit perfect with the early xmas theme. I am keeping an eye on them as I type this and they are rising beautifully! Can’t wait to try them. :)

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — November 23, 2013 at 12:32 pm

      Thanks for making them, Stephanie! I’m sure by now you’ve had one and hope it was wonderful :)

    • #
      Stephanie — November 25, 2013 at 12:10 pm

      They were amazing! I used my own frosting recipe but the cake was honestly the best red velvet I have ever had! Perfectly moist and they didn’t have that yucky hint of food colour flavour.

      My friends asked me where I bought them! ;)

      Great recipe!

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — November 25, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      Exactly as I said in the post – they’re as good as any bakery cupcake! I am so glad your friends asked you where you bought them :) And bravo to you for executing the recipe perfectly! Thanks for LMK!

    • #
      cassie — February 10, 2014 at 7:29 pm

      Hi :) I have a super dumb question. So in the past I’ve used liquid food colouring to make red velvet cupcakes and they turned pink so I was wondering if I decide to use wiltons no taste red paste would I add to notes in?

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — February 10, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      “would I add to notes in?” <— that doesn’t make a ton of sense to me?

      But I haven’t used that Wilton product. However, it’s a good brand and I’m sure won’t turn them pink!

  2. #
    Jennifer SZ — November 28, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    I love this post for so many reasons. First of all, your cupcakes look amazing. (and the mini loaf is adorable) Either you are a super amazing photographer, good at photoshop, or are just a really good baker (or all three!) but I’m seriously drooling on my keyboard. I’ve never been able to make a good red velvet cake, and if these come out as good as they look, I’m sold. Definitely filing this away for a rainy day. (already pinned!:)
    -Also, as a side note, we seem to have the opposite problem with buttermilk…can’t get it enough of the stuff! Here in Germany, it’s considered to be pretty healthy (good protein to fat ratio) They sell it here in lots of flavors (just like yogurt) and they even make smaller “to go size” bottles for people to take to work for a quick breakfast. (my german husband drinks some every morning) My problem is keeping it in the fridge long enough to use in a recipe before someone drinks it! ha ha

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — November 28, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      I don’t use Photoshop first of all – way too complicated and I’ve taken classes on it, and still can’t figure it out. Ha! So it’s definitely not that. I do use Lightroom but not PS. Wayyyyy above me.

      I’d like to think it’s my baking skills and also taking years to learn how to photograph food so that it looks on the screen how it looked in my kitchen. Easier said than done but I try :)

      Please LMK how these go if you try them!

  3. #
    Lyn — November 29, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    I made these last night – what a hit! The cake was CRAZY MOIST, i love it! Thank you so much for this recipe Averie. You rock! xx Love from Singapore!

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — November 29, 2013 at 5:27 pm

      So happy you’re pleased with them and that you’re reading all the way from Singapore – thank you! :)

  4. #
    Hala — December 4, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Thanks for recipe Averie,

    I have tried so many red velvet recipes but can’t say I found the perfect one yet… they are all, i don’t know how to say it, tasltess!!! it’s just like eating something but you can’t tell what is it you are eating.
    Confusing right??

    Perhaps I need to give this recipe a try. On another note, I have made the same recipe of cream cheese a while ago (using full fat cheese) and it was runny, I couldn’t pipe it. I mean it is delicious (over sweet because I kept adding sugar to hold) but wasn’t able to pipe it.
    Any ideas on this issue?

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — December 4, 2013 at 10:46 pm

      Using lowfat or red fat cream cheese to make frosting with ALWAYS results in runnier frosting for me too and if I want to pipe it, must use fullfat. And what you describe of then adding sugar, sugar, sugar to try to get it to thicken up – yes, same here. Using fullfat will solve that.

      And these are not tasteless, I promise you! Try these and LMK what you think!

  5. #
    Two Red Bowls — December 5, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    This is stunning, Averie! And you tell em like it is on the recipe development — it is NO JOKE!! I love how thorough you are with your recipes, you’ve got baking down to a true art. And the discussions of oil v. butter, milk v. buttermilk, low-fat cream cheese etc are spectacular. Funny that you mention low-fat cream cheese makes frosting runnier — I had a comment on Food 52 about how my lime cream cheese frosting was too stiff and they had to add more lime juice, and I realized it was because I’d written the recipe using low-fat! Things like that are so important. I never get tired of hearing how they make a difference. Thanks so much for all the thought and effort you put into sharing these lovely recipes with us!

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — December 5, 2013 at 8:00 pm

      I’m glad you like my discussions and info. Finally getting to the point where I have a reasonable sense of the best way to go about creating xyz item has been years in the making and I always learn new things. Every recipe is it’s own experiment :) And yes, light cream cheese = runny frosting!

  6. #
    Heather @ French Press — December 5, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    Averie, these look crazy good, like the best cupcakes I have ever seen good! gotta have them now good

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — December 5, 2013 at 7:58 pm

      Well that’s some super high praise – thank you! :)

  7. #
    Ashley Hee — December 12, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    I baked them in an 8inch round pan yesterday! It was so moist and fluffy. Thankyou for the recipe <3 love from Brunei Darussalam! (Google it ) hehe

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — December 12, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      Oh I’m so glad to hear it worked out as an 8-inch round cake and that it was so moist & fluffy! Thanks for LMK!

  8. #
    Deltrese — December 14, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Hi. I was looking to try these as they sound like they’re popular but I was just wondering is the recipe in metric or imperial? No good if its imperial. Thanks

  9. #
    Mariyam — December 28, 2013 at 12:58 am

    OMG they turned out to be AHMAZING

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — December 28, 2013 at 6:22 am

      I’m so happy to hear that, Mariyam! Thanks for trying the recipe and glad you’re so happy!

  10. #
    Sylvia — December 31, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Thanks for sharing this delicious receipe. My grandson will be 11 on 1/1/14 and he requested red velvet cupcakes for His birthday. I searched the web and decided on your beautiful receipe. So glad I did. I sampled one and they are really great. Thanks for your hard work.

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — December 31, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      Thanks for trying these, Sylvia! Happy bday to your grandson and what an amazing grandma you are to bake cupcakes for him and so happy you’re pleased with these!

  11. #
    Lori — January 11, 2014 at 5:04 am

    Averie, my twins are turning nine. Two questions – how is red velvet different from chocolate cake? Not sure if they like red or the taste. Second, could I make as a cake instead of cupcakes? Thanks, we just had vegan pumpkin muffins yesterday (again)!

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — January 11, 2014 at 11:41 am

      It’s not as chocolaty as chocolate cake. I’m sure you could bake it as a cake, although I haven’t done it that way so cannot off the top of my head suggest a pan size or baking time. Good luck!

  12. #
    Chichi — January 15, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Thank you for the recipe. I have been baking for a while now and I NEVER get the correct red velvet cupcakes! I am baking some red velvet cakes next week and I am already a nervous wreck. Thank you for explaining your recipe properly; I know it must have taken ages!!! I have already bookmarked this page ready to go for this recipe next week. Will surely let you know how it goes. Just a quick question? For the red food colouring, is it okay to use gel food colouring? PS: I also bookmarked your yellow cupcake recipe. It looked so gorgeous! That’s another recipe I am going to try soon. You are a fantastic baker and photographer! Keep it up.
    Much love from England

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — January 15, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      Yes you can use any red food coloring that you know gives you good results, just keep adding it until you get the perfect shade that you like.

      And thanks for wanting to try these – LMK how it goes (and yes, it did take a long time to nail these!)

    • #
      Chichi — January 24, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      OMG!!! I just tried the recipe now! it was AMAZING!!!!! Thank you so much. I am actually not a fan of cakes but I didn’t realise when I ate 5 cupcakes at a go!!! They were just too delicious. The gel food colouring worked as well. I used Sugar flair gel concentrated paste and I used just a teaspoon. It came out perfect. Thank you Thank you Thank you and Thank you. I just needed some advice on how to properly measure out 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda. I had a bit of trouble there. Should I just use 1/2 teaspoon? Thank you once again.

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — January 24, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      Glad you love them! 3/4 teaspoon – I just fill a 1 tsp measure on the skimpy side. Easy! (and no, you don’t want to just use 1/2 tsp; the results won’t be the same)

  13. #
    Nadia — January 17, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    Hi.. is it ok if I substitute the buttermilk with plain yoghurt instead? or the changes will affect the texture of the cake?
    by the way the cupcakes looks wonderful:)

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — January 17, 2014 at 11:56 pm

      I haven’t tried deviating from the recipe after getting it just the way I want it (perfect!) so if you start changing things, I don’t know exactly what will happen. LMK how it goes!

  14. #
    Maisarah ABK — January 19, 2014 at 5:50 am

    Extreme kudos to you, Averie… I happened upon your page googling on a good red velvet recipe..I made about 140 mini cuppies yesterday for a birthday party and a wedding reception earlier today… I’m left with just empty cases and the dirty containers they were carried in originally.. all my family and friends raved about them saying they were indeed flavourful, moist and the cream cheese were a great pairing to the cupcakes… They demanded jumbo-sized cupcakes for next gathering… Uh oh, what have you got me into??

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — January 19, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      I can’t believe you made 140 of these yesterday! Mini food is so fussy and putzy…takes forever. You’re a SAINT! Glad the recipe was a big hit with everyone you shared the cupcakes with!

  15. #
    anita — January 30, 2014 at 10:49 am

    this are amazing i bake a lot work and private and this is definatly a fav recipe now and so easy to adapt, made margarita cupcakes by taking out cocoa and food colouring and adding tequila and lime juice and zest very light and fluffy and moist :) thanks so much from austria

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — January 30, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      adding tequila and lime juice = I love the way you think!! :)

      I think I need to make those! Thanks for the praise and from reading all the way from Austria. Nice to know that as a professional baker you still appreciate my recipe!

  16. #
    kelly — January 31, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    I tried your red velvet cup rec. it was a BIG let down, cupcakes came out dense and there is way too much chocolate, it came out as a dense chocolate cake….good thing I had plenty of left over ingredients. I search for another cupcake rec. that required only one tablespoon of cocoa powder…they came out perfect…Just wanted to give my honest opinion. (I followed the rec as written)

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — January 31, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      I’m sorry you found them to be too chocolaty. That’s never a ‘problem’ for me :) You’re the only person in all the comments I’ve received who has not raved about them. I like my red velvet on the chocolaty side and I guess you don’t since the other recipe with less cocoa suited your needs better. To each her own.

  17. #
    Isabella — February 1, 2014 at 6:55 am

    Hi, not easy to find all the ingredients when you are living in the African bush but we made it and delicious! i just added a zest of lemon in the icing and it’s giving a little “Fresh” test.

  18. #
    Isabella — February 1, 2014 at 6:56 am

    Hi, not easy to find all the ingredients when you are living in the African bush but we made it and delicious! i just added a zest of lemon in the icing and it’s giving a little “Fresh” taste

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — February 1, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      That is amazing that you live in the African bush and you just made these!!!! I AM SO IMPRESSED! Thanks for trying the recipe, reading my blog all the way from Africa, and coming back to tell me you tried them! Thanks! :)

  19. #
    Avra-Sha Faohla — February 2, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    So I made these red velvet cupcakes sans the red. Some might say that defeats the purpose, but I think the flavor and texture are much more important than color. And, boy, were the flavor and texture of these cupcakes great!

    I did something weird with the yogurt and buttermilk for this recipe. I only had plain non-Greek yogurt, so I squeezed out the whey through a paper towel until it seemed about Greek-yogurt consistency and used that for the yogurt. Then I used the squeezed-out whey + homemade buttermilk (milk + lemon juice) for the buttermilk because some people on the Internet said that whey could be used as a buttermilk substitute. Well, it was a little backwards, squeezing out the whey only to use it anyway, but it worked! The cupcakes were moist, fluffy, and delicious!

    I also used a simpler frosting of just squeezed yogurt (it’s always squeezed yogurt by me!) and confectioner’s sugar, and I found that it complemented your cupcakes very nicely. I left some cupcakes unfrosted so that I could appreciate their flavor on their own, and they tasted amazing and moist even without frosting.

    Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe.

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — February 3, 2014 at 2:56 am

      Glad that you loved these and were able to makeshift your way into the buttermilk via Greek yogurt. Honestly, you could have probably just used the Greek yog, as is, no monkey business or extra work. If the batter would have been too thick, a splash of water would have taken care of it. All you’re looking for is something cultured in this situation, and something thick-ish, so while I tested them using buttermilk, thinning about a little greek yog with water will probably yield very similar results. One of those baking shortcuts I’ve been known to use in banana bread, quickbreads, muffins, etc :)

    • #
      Avra-Sha Faohla — February 3, 2014 at 5:14 pm

      It was plain yogurt, not Greek. But yes, I agree that it would have been much simpler just to use the yogurt and nothing else! But I couldn’t be sure of the measurements and if it would have worked, and I didn’t want to experiment too much. Perhaps next time I might be braver! ;)

  20. #
    Natalie — February 13, 2014 at 2:00 am

    Sorry to say I’ve just tried these red velvet cupcakes and followed the recipe exactly. They have turned out way too heavy. Is the batter mixture not too liquid? – preventing them from rising?

  21. #
    Dan — February 15, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    I made these for V-Day to bring into work. Baked them in the cutest heart muffin pan but didn’t follow your advice and overfilled them. The heart shape was lost when they crowned in the oven. You had to turn them over to know they were hearts. It was the thought that counts, right? I wanted a frosting that was a little more firm so I used one I found on this blog, The combination was a big hit. Everyone loved them! Your red velvet recipe could not have been easier, they were so delicious, I looked like a hero! You are now 3 for 3 on the recipes I’ve tried! Thanks for postimg

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — February 15, 2014 at 6:40 pm

      So glad you loved the cupcake recipe and yes, overfilling is a killer. I have been there, so much. I completely understand! But hey, they tasted great. Glad that I’m 3/3 :)

  22. #
    Lenna — February 28, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Hello! Will these work as mini cupcakes? Anything I should alter/adjust if so?

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — February 28, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      You’d need to adjust the baking time (reduced) but not sure by how much as it will depend on your pan size.

    • #
      Lenna — February 28, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      1.25 inches per mini cupcake. Its the Wilyon 24 cup mini cupcake pan.

    • #
      Sarah — September 8, 2014 at 8:31 pm

      Hey! I tried these as mini cupcakes (with the extra batter) and they worked really well, I just popped the big ones in and added the little ones with 8 minutes to go. I think the little ones actually needed 10 minutes in total, but just keep an eye on them and they will be fine! I ended up with 12 big cupcakes and 12 little ones. :)

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — September 9, 2014 at 5:25 am

      Thanks for sharing what you did because I’m sure it will help someone else who sees this. Glad they came out great for you!

  23. #
    Tricia — March 4, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Hello! how many grams is a 1/2 heaping cup of cream cheese? And how much buttermilk will i have to add if i do not have any greek yoghurt on hand? Please reply as i am baking them for a friend’s birthday soon!! :(

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — March 4, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      Use slightly less buttermilk than the amount of Greek yog indicated; although since I haven’t tried this, it’s very hard to say how this will work.

      Use an online gram/cup conversion site (google it) to figure out what you need for the cream cheese in the measurements you’re familiar with.

    • #
      Tricia — March 5, 2014 at 3:03 am

      Will the cupcakes still be moist if I bake it a day before hand? Will the cupcake s ‘shrink’ ? Thank you so much again!!!!

  24. #
    Vicki Vail — March 8, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    I have these cooling now. I pulled them from the cupcake tin to cool and noticed the cipcake liner is very oily. Is this normal?

    • #
      Vicki Vail — March 8, 2014 at 6:17 pm


    • #
      Averie Sunshine — March 8, 2014 at 6:21 pm

      I think all cupcake liners get pretty oily and they’re about average as I recall.

  25. #
    Willow — March 24, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Hi Averie!
    You make special note about not needing to use a mixer, but I am not sure if I need to AVOID using a mixer? Is it okay to use my KitchenAid or does that make it dry somehow?



    • #
      Averie Sunshine — March 24, 2014 at 11:14 am

      It’s easy to overmix and thereby create tough cupcakes in mixers. Personally just do it by hand. It’ll take you longer to wash out your KA than it will to just whip this batter up!

  26. #
    paras — March 25, 2014 at 8:49 am

    u havent used any butter..though its required in every it normal??
    im gonna try this soon :)

  27. #
    Rilee — March 26, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Your pictures are stunning! Your photos are the best I have seen on any food blog! I’ve never been a fan of red velvet cupcakes because they have always been dry. I cannot wait to try these!

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — March 27, 2014 at 10:21 am

      Thanks for the super high praise about my photos – I appreciate it! :)

  28. #
    Anissa Alj — May 2, 2014 at 3:27 am

    Hey there! I am a huge fan of red velvets. . And have just made my first batch of these with your recipe. They are so moist and fluffy. . Only thing is the taste. Think it’s due to the 2 tablespoons of red food colouring that I put in.. gonna use juz 1 tbsp n see how it goes. .. *from Singapore*

  29. #
    Sammy — June 14, 2014 at 11:06 am

    I was researching for red velvet recipe and yours caught my eye, as did the recipe from
    Until i realised both are actually very similar, which perhaps in between lies the success for good moist red velvet.
    Cant wait to try!! And thanks!

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — June 14, 2014 at 11:28 am

      I just looked at that recipe and hers has 2 eggs, sour cream, double the sugar, not as much vanilla, no greek yogurt or buttermilk like mine…so the cupcakes are probably different in terms of final taste but that’s the beauty of baking. Lots of times different ingredients/ratios CAN get you to a very similar outcome. Hope you enjoy these!

  30. #
    luz — June 15, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    I just make this red velvet cupcakes today, they are absolutely delicious. I highly recommend this recipe, my family was happy, Thank you so much.

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — June 15, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      Thanks for trying them and glad your family was happy, too!

  31. #
    Christine — June 22, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    I just made these today for my boyfriend’s mom. It’s her birthday today so we dropped in while she was at work, the two of us armed with a batch of these cupcakes. She was surprised and looked very happy.

    These turned out great with a gluten-free flour mix substituted for regular flour. I didn’t have any buttermilk, only Greek yogurt, so I added a bit of water as suggested.

    I did find that mind did not dome at the top; they were slightly sunken in the centers, though they were definitely done. The cream cheese frosting hid any sunken centers. Any idea what happened? Baking soda too old?

    Delicious, thanks for developing this!

  32. #
    Christine — June 22, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    I just made these today for my boyfriend’s mom. It’s her birthday today so we dropped in while she was at work, the two of us armed with a batch of these cupcakes. She was surprised and looked very happy.

    These turned out great with a gluten-free flour mix substituted for regular flour. I didn’t have any buttermilk, only Greek yogurt, so I added a bit of water as suggested.

    I did find that mind did not dome at the top; they were slightly sunken in the centers even though they were definitely done. The cream cheese frosting hid any sunken centers. Any idea what happened? Baking soda too old?

    Delicious, thanks for developing this!

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — June 22, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      did not dome at the top; they were slightly sunken in the centers even though they were definitely done. <— that is a direct function of using GF flour. There is no gluten. Gluten makes things rise. So no gluten, and it’s normal to have things sink. You have to find another way to compensate for it, probably would add more baking powder AND also add 1/4 more flour to thicken up the batter, but it’s a delicate process you’d have to play around with. The fact that they even worked, at all, with GF is great :)

    • #
      Christine — June 22, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks. That makes perfect sense. I guess I thought the gluten free “all purpose mix” had some level of compensation for that.

      Sorry for the duplicate post.

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — June 23, 2014 at 6:58 am

      They do have SOME level of compensation but this is the reason people tend to gripe about GF baking and GF mixes – because no matter what you do, it’s never just as easy as using flour with gluten in it. There’s always lots and lots of tweaking and research and experimentation needed to closely duplicate gluten-based recipes.

  33. #
    Jocelyn — July 28, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Hi, Averie, I bought the greek yogurt with fruit flavour, can it be done if i did not use plain yogurt instead? Pls reply me asap as I’m planning to do now.

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — July 28, 2014 at 9:11 pm

      I mean plain would probably be better but it depends on how fruity the yogurt is…if it’s a super strong banana, I’d say no. If it’s something fairly ‘mild’, sure. I mean they’re YOUR cupcakes. You have to do what you think you’ll like.

  34. #
    Jocelyn — July 28, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Thanks Averie. It’s peach flavor. Can I use mixer to do it?

  35. #
    pooja — July 29, 2014 at 6:14 am

    hi……Averie…iam totally going to try this recipe…..all i want to know is can i half the recipe………..n make a batch………of 6 or something.

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — July 29, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      You probably can halve it but I haven’t tried personally.

  36. #
    Marie — August 11, 2014 at 5:54 am

    Hi Averie, the recipe calls for Greek yogurt, but they don’t sell those in my local grocery. Is it okay to use plain yoghurt? Thanks. -Marie

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — August 11, 2014 at 9:15 am

      You definitely want the yogurt to be THICK. If it’s thinner or more watery yogurt, then use sour cream. I’m not suer how thick what you call ‘plain yoghurt’ is but thicker is preferred or the batter will be too soupy.

  37. #
    Andrea Duay — August 15, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    I always make dry red velvet cupcakes.Just made these cupcakes and is the best red velvet cupcake I tasted. It’s super moist and very easy to make. I’m from the Phippines and buttermilk and greek yoghurt is not readily available in regular supermarkets. Substituted milk with vinegar and sour cream. Thank you for sharing this excellent recipe. And your tips are so helpful!

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — August 16, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      Glad these are the best rede velvet cupcakes you’ve ever tasted! Great call to sub the buttermilk with vinegar and sour cream. Perfect! Glad they came out great for you!

  38. #
    Shawn — August 20, 2014 at 9:57 am

    I would like to make a cake with your recipe. Is it enough batter for that or should I double it? Can’t wait to try it! Also, what are your thoughts about using a regular sized bundt pan? (PS, Despite the name I am a woman)

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — August 20, 2014 at 9:59 am

      Hmmm, haven’t tried any of the above so sure, go ahead double it, bake in a Bundt, and see what happens! I’m sure it will be fine but I haven’t personally tried it.

  39. #
    From Trinidad & Tobago — September 1, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    These were great. My toddler had them for her school party and then begged to have them (frosting-free) for breakfast the next day (of course my ego could not tell her no). Thank you

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — September 1, 2014 at 7:24 pm

      Glad they were great for you and cupcakes for breakfast (hey there’s a muffin at that point, right!) sounds perfect :)

  40. #
    Zee — September 27, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Hi Averie!
    Not the first time I’m doing one of your recipes (my kids and even the hubby are addicted to the no-boiler fudge of yours!) but this is the first time I am taking the plunge to comment. :)
    I made these cupcakes today and they were absolutely delicious! I swapped melted butter for the oil, though, as all the guys here are very picky about the taste of something not-butter in their cakes. Still turned out like a dream, though! And yeah, I also used cake flour, and that worked, too (been trying to go less-gluten/gluten-free where possible). Just thought I’d point out that I made those swaps and your recipe still worked like a charm. Best ever red velvet cupcakes I tasted – this one’s definitely a keeper!
    Thanks for all your recipes – I always fall back on your website because you give such detailed descriptions and instructions, it’s like having a baking chef right next to you to direct you through the recipe! xoxo

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — September 27, 2014 at 2:15 pm

      Glad to hear cake flour and butter worked great, thanks for sharing!

      And so glad they’re the best red velvet cupcakes you’ve ever had – that’s what I think, that they’re bakery-worthy (okay, better than a bakery if I do say so!)

      I am so glad to hear you like all my details and feel like it’s like having a baking chef right next to you to direct you :) That’s great!

  41. #
    Erin — October 5, 2014 at 4:00 am

    Hi there, these look amazing. Was just wondering if you think it would be ok to substitute the canola oil for macadamia oil to make a little healthier? And also, would you think it’s ok to use beet juice instead of food colouring? Thanks! Cannot wait to make them! :)

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — October 5, 2014 at 4:17 am

      Honestly, I would really just make this recipe as written. They’re totally perfect and it’s a cupcake so it’s not meant to be healthy per se. I would do extra cardio this week :)

      And definitely no on the beet juice. It would take cups worth to get the color you need, obviously rendering the batter beet soup at that point!

    • #
      Erin — October 5, 2014 at 4:35 pm

      No worries, thought I’d give healthy cup cakes a shot but I should prob just stick to the recipe! Thanks for getting back to me :)

  42. #
    Amna — October 6, 2014 at 6:25 am

    Hi! Your recipes and photos are outstanding …just a quick question. I’m in South Africa and all purpose flour isn’t available at stores. Instead cake flour is the popular thing here… so pls tell me if using cake flour instead of all purpose flour is okay…thanks!

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — October 6, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      Cake flour and AP flour are NOT the same thing. In this particular recipe, cake flour wouldn’t be the worst thing because after all you’re making ‘cake’. It has less gluten so things rise a bit less and are more light, delicate. You may need to increase the amount by up to 1/2 cup or so, but this is just guesswork on my part. If you have any other flour options, I would research those and then use cake flour as a last resort since the recipe wasn’t written for it.

  43. #
    agnes — October 14, 2014 at 11:00 am


    This recipe looks amazing, and since it’s my friend’s birthday in two days, I want to surprise her with delicious cupcakes, but I have one question – is your food coloring in liquid form, or is it powdered? I know that powdered food coloring usually gives a more intense color than liquid food coloring, but the latter is the only one that’s available to me at the moment, so I guess my question is: should I keep the two tablespoons you mentioned in the recipe because it was already written with liquid food coloring in mind, or should I increase the amount?


    • #
      Averie Sunshine — October 14, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      I used gel (liquid) food coloring. I would use any type or brand you have that’s red, red, red. Unlike other recipes where a couple drops can really make a difference, with this, literally tablespoons of it don’t even do that much. In order to color dark chocolate brownies red, you have to add tons!

  44. #
    Meredith — October 27, 2014 at 6:42 am

    I really have no idea what happened, but these were terrible. They tasted tangy and bad. I have never had or made a bad cupcake before, so I was really taken aback by this. I followed the instructions exactly–they were moist, but had a very strange flavor. Not sure if this was because of the small amount of cocoa (other chocolate recipes I use usually call for 1/3 c. of cocoa) or what, but I was disappointed. The frosting, however, was delicious.

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — October 27, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      There’s really not tons of difference between 1/3 cup and 3 tablespoons cocoa in an entire batch of cupcakes, it’s about 3 tablespoons worth. I don’t really think that was it.

      I’m almost wondering if your buttermilk or Greek yogurt/sour cream were a little past their prime, which could contribute to the tangy taste and tasting bad. The more I think about it, I would almost bet this is where the culprit is.

  45. #
    Doreen — November 14, 2014 at 6:51 am

    Hi! If I bake this in a 9×9 or 8×8 square pan, how long should I bake it? I have a small oven so it’s easier for me to just put it in a big pan.

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — November 14, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      I haven’t tried it that way so not sure. I would guess 20-30 minutes in that range, but that’s a big range, so just bake until done.

  46. #
    Karina — November 22, 2014 at 4:00 am

    I haven’t tried baking red velvets before. But am wondering why your recipe doesn’t use distilled vinegar? Is it because of the greek yogurt/sour cream?

  47. #
    Melissa Cakes — January 5, 2015 at 9:01 am

    Oh lord , im excited to make these , ive been having a very hard time with the dryness of the red velvet .. and its only with that cake that I have that problem with… Although instead of pairing it with a regular cream cheese I think I may pair it with a Creole Cream Cheese frosting … yummm this is exciting

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — January 5, 2015 at 5:39 pm

      As long as you don’t overbake, these are not dry!! Enjoy!

  48. #
    Priya Mawji — January 27, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Hi! This recipe looks delicious, and I would love to bake them! However since my mother does not eat eggs (she’s a lacto-vegetarian), I was wondering if you could suggest an alternative ingredient? I know that there are many egg alternatives but I have no idea which one to use and whether it will just ruin the recipe. I would love to know what which replacement would produce the most similar effect that the egg does in this recipe, so which what you would recommend?


    • #
      Averie Sunshine — January 27, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      Baking without eggs is very tricky in things like cupcakes and based on your email address, it doesn’t appear you live in the US which can complicate things because your products and grocery availability won’t be the same as mine. The best thing you can do it trial and error with egg replacers you have available to you.

  49. #
    Kathryn — February 11, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    These are absolutely fantastic! Thank you SO much:)

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — February 11, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you!

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