The BEST Red Velvet Cupcakes — Tender fluffy red velvet cupcakes stuffed with chocolate truffles and topped with sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting! EASY to make and the PERFECT Valentine’s Day or holiday treat sure to impress your family and friends!
Easy Red Velvet Cupcakes with a Truffle Filling
If you’re a red velvet fan, these decadent red velvet cupcakes stuffed with chocolate truffles and topped with tangy homemade cream cheese frosting are going to be right up your alley!
The cupcakes have classic red velvet flavor including the perfect amount of chocolate and a very moist and fluffy crumb.
Every cupcake is stuffed with a chocolate truffle which gives them an extra blast of chocolate.
Although the cream cheese frosting is tangy enough so that the cupcakes don’t read overly sweet, despite being indulgent. These are the perfect holiday cupcakes especially for Valentine’s Day or Christmas.
Whether you plan to spoil your loved ones at home with the cupcakes, or make these for an event or get-together, chocolate truffle red velvet cupcakes are easy to make.
Tip: Scroll down to the recipe card section if you don’t want to read about my tips, tricks, or care about step-by-step baking photos.
Ingredients in Stuffed Red Velvet Cupcakes
For the red velvet cupcake batter, you’ll need the following common and easy to find ingredients including:
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- White vinegar
- Unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- Baking soda
- Vegetable or canola oil
- Red food coloring
- All-purpose flour
- Milk chocolate truffles
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Unsalted butter
- Cream cheese
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Vanilla extra
- Sprinkles, optional
How to Make Homemade Red Velvet Cupcakes
Making these festive Valentine’s Day cupcakes is easy! Follow these basic steps to make the best red velvet cupcake recipe:
Step 1: Beat together the butter and sugar.
Step 2: Add the eggs and vanilla before adding the vinegar and beat to combine.
Step 3: Add the cocoa, baking soda, salt, and beat to incorporate.
Step 4: Add the buttermilk, oil, and beat to combine.
Step 5: Add the red food coloring as desired before adding the flour in 1/2-cup increments.
Step 7: Top each cupcake with additional batter and bake and then cool the cupcakes. Make the frosting while they cool.
How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting for Red Velvet Cupcakes
To make classic and easy homemade cream cheese frosting, do the following:
Step 1: Beat the butter until soft and fluffy before adding and beating it with the cream cheese.
Step 2: Add the confectioners’ sugar slowly along with the vanilla and salt.
Beat until smooth and combined.
Step 3: Transfer the frosting to a piping bag with the tip of your choice and pipe it onto the cupcakes.
Step 4: Garnish with sprinkles if desired and serve!
Is Buttermilk Necessary for This Recipe?
Yes, buttermilk is necessary in the cupcake batter and real buttermilk is always the gold standard in my opinion. If you have a Trader Joe’s in your area, theirs is the best value I have found.
Check out all my recipes using buttermilk if you need ideas for how to use the rest of the carton.
However, you can make a DIY type of buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon white vinegar to 1 cup of 2% or whole milk and waiting 5 minutes before adding it to the batter.
Additionally, powdered buttermilk is available and I’ve used it successfully in many dessert recipes.
I haven’t tried to substitute yogurt for the buttermilk in this recipe so am not sure how it would work.
Regular milk won’t allow the cupcakes to rise and lift like buttermilk will so don’t use it.
Do I Need to Use Red Food Coloring in Red Velvet Cupcakes?
Yes, you do need to use red food coloring. It’s the only way you will achieve a rich and true red color.
I strongly recommend using gel food coloring rather than the old-fashioned type of water-based coloring for the following reasons:
- You will use less overall product.
- You will achieve a richer and bolder red.
- You will not water down the cupcake batter with the old school water-based food color.
- I like the AmeriColor True Red the best for the above reasons.
Tip: Keep in mind, too, that even though your batter may look very intensely red, during the baking process the color mellows a bit so I prefer to go a bit heavier handed than less. I am a more-is-more person rather than less-is-more when it comes to food color!
Do I Have to Add a Chocolate Truffle in the Center of the Cupcakes?
No, you do not need to make the red velvet cupcakes with filling and can skip the chocolate truffles if desired.
If you’re going this route, add 2 to 4 minutes extra for baking time because each cupcake will have slightly more batter.
Additionally, being that you’ll be adding more batter to each cupcake, you will yield one or two less cupcakes in the end.
Alternatives to Stuffing the Red Velvet Cupcakes with Truffles
As I mentioned, I used these Lindt Lindor Milk Chocolate Truffles.
Every cupcake will be like a surprise just waiting to see what you bite into!
How to Store Frosted Red Velvet Cupcakes
You can serve the cupcakes as soon as you get them frosted or you can chill them.
Because of the cream cheese frosting, if you’re not going to consume them within 24 hours of frosting them, you should refrigerate them.
Refrigeration is the death of baked goods in my opinion because it dries them out, but one way to prevent this is with an airtight cupcake carrier.
Plus, if you plan to bring them to a classroom party, event, or Valentine’s Day get-together, they’ll be ready to go.
They will keep airtight for up to one week stored in the fridge.
Tips for the Best Red Velvet Cupcakes
To ensure you have total success with your chocolate truffle red velvet cupcakes, here are a few more tips and tricks to consider.
Don’t overmix the batter after adding the flour. This will make your cupcakes tougher and denser rather than keeping them light and fluffy.
Make sure to use room temperature butter and cream cheese. It’s impossible to properly beat either one if they are too cold. Plan ahead and set them out for at least an hour beforehand.
Don’t use light or fat-free cream cheese for the frosting. Use full-fat, old-fashioned brick style cream cheese like Philadelphia for best results. Lite products are made with water which will cause your frosting to be watery, not hold its shape, and deflate.
You can use any type of piping tip you like. I used a classic 1M tip but any tip will work.
For those who can’t be bothered with piping bags and tips, you can dollop the frosting on with a spoon. Sprinkles help distract the eye to what’s underneath anyway!
I suggest sifting the confectioners’ sugar before adding it to the cream cheese and butter mixture for the frosting.
It’s time consuming and annoying to try to “beat out” little lumps with your mixer and in the end, it’s faster in the long run to just sift the sugar beforehand.
If your frosting is a bit too thick, add a tablespoon of milk or half-and-half to thin it. And conversely, an extra tablespoon or two of confectioner’s sugar will thicken it up if it’s a bit too thin to pipe.
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Chocolate Truffle Red Velvet Cupcakes
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temp
- 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extra
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk*, See Notes
- ¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
- Red food coloring, as desired** (See Notes)
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 20 milk chocolate truffles
Cream Cheese Frosting
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temp
- 8 ounces full-fat brick style cream cheese, softened to room temp
- 3 ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt, or as desired
- Sprinkles for decorating, optional
- Line two 12-count standard cupcake pans with liners; set aside. Preheat oven to 375F.
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl and handheld electric mixer, add the butter and beat on high speed until smooth and creamy.
- Add the eggs, vanilla, and beat until smooth and incorporated. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Ad the white vinegar and beat momentarily to incorporate.
- Add the buttermilk, oil, and beat to incorporate.Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and beat to incorporate.
- Add the red food coloring, as desired, and beat to incorporate. Tips - Use gel food coloring for best results. In my experience, the color mellows as it bakes so I go a bit heavy handed with the food coloring knowing it does tone down in the oven and that the finished cupcakes are not as vibrant as the batter appears.
- Slowly add the flour, in 1/2-cup increments, and beat after each addition; however take care not to overmix or your cupcakes will be tougher.
- Add 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons of batter to each cupcake liner.
- Add one chocolate truffle*** (See Notes) to the center of each.
- Top each with additional batter, until they are 3/4-full. Don't overfill.
- Bake for about 13 to 16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Tips - If possible, bake both cupcake pans on the same oven rack, in the middle, and rotate once midway through baking. When checking for doneness, remember that there's a truffle inside so don't confuse the melted chocolate with batter. Notes - If you aren't going to fill these with truffles, they will take slightly longer to bake, about 2 to 4 minutes additional and you will yield 1 or 2 less cupcakes overall since a bit more batter is being used per cupcake.
- Allow cupcakes to cool in the pans, for about 10 minutes, before removing and placing on a wire rack to cool completely. While they cool, make the frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl and handheld electric mixer, add the butter, cream cheese, and beat on high speed until smooth and creamy. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the vanilla, salt to taste (helps balance the overall sweetness of the frosting), and beat to incorporate.
- Slowly add the confectioners' sugar in 1/2-cup increments and beat to incorporate. Tips - If your frosting is a bit too thick, add a tablespoon of milk or half-and-half to thin it. And conversely, an extra tablespoon or two of confectioner’s sugar will thicken it up if it’s a bit too thin to pipe.
- Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with the decorating tip of your choice. You can use any type of piping tip you like. I used a classic 1M tip but any tip will work. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes as desired. Note - You can also skip the piping bag and simply spoon the frosting onto the cupcakes if desired.
- Optionally garnish with festive sprinkles, as desired.
- Cupcakes can be served immediately or chilled before serving. Cupcakes will keep airtight at room temp for up to 24 hours OR airtight in the fridge (I recommend a cupcake carrier) for up to 1 week.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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