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    Soft Red Velvet Cupcakes

    Get ready for the softest red velvet cupcakes you will ever have! These cupcakes are so moist, bursting with flavour, and are topped with the most incredible cream cheese frosting.

    Soft red velvet cupcakes

    What makes these red velvet cupcakes so soft?

    There’s a few different elements at play here, starting off with some of the ingredients:

    • This recipe uses a cake flour substitute (a mixture of all purpose flour and cornstarch – cake flour is actually banned here in New Zealand which is why I can’t just use regular cake flour!). Cake flour has a lower protein content than regular flour, which results in a more tender crumb.
    • Secondly, this recipe uses a combination of butter and oil. Butter adds flavour, and substituting some of it with oil really amps up the softeness! Because oil is liquid at room temperature, this resuls in a super moist cupcake.
    • Thirdly, this recipe uses buttermilk. Buttermilk helps to break down the protein in the flour, resulting in a fluffier cake. It also reacts with the baking soda in this recipe, helping to leaven the batter.

    Another factor is the mixing method. This recipe uses an electric mixer at first, but when it comes to folding in the dry ingredients at the end, you want to use your hands. By being ‘gentle’ with the flour, you’re going to prevent too much gluten from forming (which is great for things like bread, but we don’t want TOO MUCH gluten in a cake!).

    How to make red velvet cupcakes

    These cupcakes come together really easily. Begin by preheating your oven to 160°C fan forced, and line a cupcake tray with cupcake liners.

    how to make red velvet cupcakes

    For the cupcake batter, start off by sifting together your dry ingredients. By premixing our dry ingredients, it helps ensure that everything is mixed well, preventing us from overmixing our batter when we come to combining our wet and dry ingredients.

    Red velvet cupcakes

    Set your dry ingredients aside and in another bowl cream together your butter, oil and sugar for 2-3 minutes. This is going to incorporate air into our batter which will give us a fluffier cupcake!

    Red velvet cupcakes

    Next add in your eggs one by one, mixing well in between each addition. Eggs add structure and moisture to our cupcake.

    Red velvet cupcakes

    Next add in the vanilla, white vinegar and red liquid food colouring and mix until well combined.

    Red velvet cupcakes

    Now the last step is to fold in our dry ingredients while alternating with our buttermilk. So to do this, add in half of your dry ingredients and fold it into the wet mixture until just combined. Then add in your buttermilk, and fold that through until just combined. Lastly, add in your remaining dry ingredients and fold through until just combined.

    It’s important to do this step by hand as this will prevent us from overmixing our batter and developing too much gluten. Gluten is what gives bread great structure, and although we want SOME structure for our cupcakes, we don’t want too much otherwise it’ll make our cupcakes tough and dense.

    Red velvet cupcakes

    Once the batter is done, evenly distribute it into the cupcake liners (fill them about 1/2 way up – don’t overfill) and bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

    Red velvet cupcakes

    Once done, let them cool in the cupcake tray for 10-15 minutes, and then place them on a wire rack to completely cool. In the meantime prepare your cream cheese buttercream.

    Red velvet cupcakes

    How to make cream cheese buttercream

    This cream cheese frosting comes together SO EASILY! It’s a small batch of my regular cream cheese buttercream recipe. For additional tips and information, refer to that blog post 🙂

    You want to start off by creaming your butter for a few minutes until it’s light and fluffy. This is going to give your frosting a lighter texture.

    cream cheese buttercream

    Next you want to add in your icing/confectioners sugar in 3 batches, whilst mixing on a low speed. This is going to ensure that our icing sugar doesn’t go everywhere!

    cream cheese buttercream

    Then add in your cold cream cheese, vanilla essence/extract and fresh lemon juice. Mix on a medium high speed just until the frosting is smooth. Avoid over-mixing as this can result in a less stable frosting.

    cream cheese buttercream

    And that is it! You should end up with an incredibly delicious, not-too-sweet cream cheese buttercream.

    Cream cheese buttercream

    How to frost your cupcakes

    You can get creative and frost your cupcakes however you like! I frosted mine with a 1M piping tip. I started by cutting the tip of a piping bag and placing my piping tip in it.

    I then folded the piping big over onto my hand and filled it with my cream cheese buttercream.

    red velvet cupcake piping

    I then piped a cupcake swirl on the cupcake. To do this, start on one edge of the cupcake, go around and then slowly bring the piping bag into the middle of the cupcake as you keep piping, until the cupcake is fully covered. It’s a little hard to explain, but I have a great beginners piping tutorial you can check out on YouTube, as well as a 1M cupcake piping tutorial for more ideas 🙂

    Cupcake swirl on red velvet cupcake

    And that is it! You’re left with beautiful red velvet cupcakes ready to eat! 🙂

    Soft red velvet cupcakes

    Soft Red Velvet Cupcakes

    These red velvet cupcakes are so incredibly soft and are bursting with flavour. Topped with a small batch of my cream cheese buttercream recipe, you'll have 12 perfect cupcakes that you won't be able to stop eating!!
    4.98 from 40 votes
    Print Pin Rate Watch Video
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 18 minutes
    Cooling Time: 40 minutes
    Total Time: 1 hour 8 minutes
    Servings: 12 cupcakes

    IMPORTANT: For accuracy, I would recommend using the gram measurements provided as those are the exact quantities I use. Cup measurements are given as estimates (based on US cup measurements) to make it easier for those who do not have a scale.


    Red Velvet Cupcakes

    • cups (150 g) flour - regular, all purpose (see note 1 if you want to use cake flour)
    • tbsp (9 g) cornflour - also known as cornstarch
    • tbsp (7 g) cocoa powder - unsweetened
    • ¼ tsp baking soda
    • ½ tsp baking powder
    • ¼ tsp salt - omit if using salted butter
    • 3 tbsp (43 g) unsalted butter - room temperature
    • cup (70 g) unflavoured vegetable oil - I use canola
    • 1 cup (200 g) white sugar
    • 2 large eggs - room temperature
    • ½ tbsp vanilla essence/extract
    • ¾ tsp white vinegar
    • tbsp red liquid food colour
    • cup buttermilk - room temperature

    Cream Cheese Buttercream

    • ½ cup (112 g) unsalted butter - room temperature
    • cups (285 g) icing sugar - also known as confectioners/powdered sugar
    • ¾ cup (168 g) cream cheese - cold, firm type (see note 2)
    • ¾ tsp vanilla essence/extract
    • ¾ tbsp lemon juice - must be fresh


    Red Velvet Cupcakes

    • Preheat oven to 160 °C (320°F) with the fan on (see note 6 if you don't have a fan function) and line a cupcake tray with cupcake liners.
    • In a bowl, sift together your flour, cornflour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Using a whisk or fork, mix until well combined. Set aside.
    • In another bowl, add in your butter, vegetable oil and sugar. Using an electric mixer (hand or stand mixer are both fine - see note 3), cream together for 2-3 minutes until light and creamy.
    • Add in eggs one by one, mixing well in between each addition (about 10-15 seconds between eggs).
    • Add in your vanilla, vinegar and red liquid food colour, and mix until well combined. Now set your mixer aside as the remainder of the batter will be finished by hand.
    • Finish off by adding in half of your premixed dry ingredients to your wet mixture, and gently fold it in with a spatula until just combined. Then add in all of your buttermilk, and fold it in until just combined. Lastly, add in the remaining dry ingredients and gently fold it into the mixture until just combined. Do not overmix (see note 4).
    • Distribute the batter evenly into the cupcake liners (only fill about 1/2 way up), and bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Avoid overbaking the cupcakes otherwise they will dry out.
    • Once baked, allow them to cool in the cupcake tin for about 10-15 minutes, and then place them onto a wire rack to completely cool. In the meantime prepare the cream cheese buttercream.

    Cream Cheese Buttercream

    • Cream your butter for a few minutes until it's light and fluffy. Either use a hand mixer or stand mixer on a medium high speed. If using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment.
    • Add in the icing sugar in 3 batches while mixing on low. Ensure that each batch of icing sugar is mixed into the butter well before adding in the next batch.
    • Next add in your cold cream cheese, vanilla and fresh lemon juice. Mix just until the frosting is smooth. Avoid over-mixing (see note 5).
    • Once the cupcakes are completely cool, frost with the cream cheese buttercream. I used a 1M piping tip to pipe my frosting. See blog post above or recipe video below to see how I did this 🙂


    YouTube video


    Note 1. You can use cake flour in replacement of the all purpose flour and cornstarch in this recipe (159g total required). 
    Note 2. To ensure that your frosting isn't too soft, you want to use a firm cream cheese, not the spreadable type. You also want to use cold cream cheese as this will help your frosting stay firmer for longer, particularly if you want to use it for piping. If you stay in a hot climate and your frosting is softening up after some time, simply place it into the fridge for 30 minutes and then rewhip it. This will bring it back to a pipeable consistency. 
    Note 3. If using a stand mixer, then use the paddle attachment for the initial mixing, but continue to do the last step by hand as stated in the recipe. 
    Note 4. By gently folding in the ingredients, it prevents too much gluten from forming, thus giving us a softer cake. Only mix until the strands of flour have disappeared and the batter is uniform. 
    Note 5. Only mix the frosting until it's smooth. Once it's smooth stop mixing as over-mixing can result in a less stable frosting. This is because of the liquid in the cream cheese breaking down the icing sugar. 
    Note 6. In this recipe I use an oven with the fan function turned on. The fan forced function cooks cakes/cupcakes faster, so if your oven doesn't have a fan option, then you will need to increase the baking temperature to 175°C (347°F) so that the cake/cupcake bakes at the same rate as mine 🙂


    Calories: 305kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 209mg | Potassium: 82mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 391IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 1mg

    Nutritional information are estimates only as they are automatically calculated by a third party application. Actual values may differ based on brands and types of products used.

    Keyword: red velvet cake, red velvet cupcakes, soft red velvet cupcakes
    Tried this recipe?I love hearing from you! Tag me on instagram so I can see your amazing creations 🙂

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    • Shona

      4 stars
      I really love this recipe, so easy to make. The instructions were clear and easy to follow and the cupcakes came out so soft and yummy. I had a little trouble with the frosting still being a bit lumpy but I’ll mix it for a bit longer next time. Thank you for your recipes and your amazing videos that you put up.

    • Z

      Hi! Amazing recipe! Whats a good substitute for white vinegar? Thats not available where I live

      • Cakes by MK

        Thanks Z! 🙂 And hmmm I haven’t tried a substitute for it myself although people do suggest apple cider vinegar working as a good substitute. I can’t say for sure though sorry!

    • Beenish

      5 stars
      Made these amazingly soft red velvet cupcakes. They were actually so good that my kids and heir friends ate them before I could even frost them 🤣

      • Cakes by MK

        Haha awww love that!! So happy to hear you all enjoyed them Beenish 🙂

    • Chris

      Thank you for sharing your recipes. The red velvet cup cakes are the best recipe I have ever made. They are so soft and yummy 😋

      • Cakes by MK

        Awesome! So so happy to hear you enjoyed the cupcakes Chris 😀

    • Nav

      Hi MK….what size cupcake liners do you use?

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi Nav! 🙂 Hmm good question, I’m not actually too sure to be honest! I’ll have to check but I use a 12 cupcake tray which is 14×10.5 inches 🙂

    • Oluwabusayomi

      Thank you so much for this recipe. My question is, Why is the recipie for a cupcake different from that of a normal cake?

      • Cakes by MK

        You’re welcome Oluwabusayomi 😀 and good question! Generally cupcake and cake recipes are very similar. The main difference is that cupcakes are much smaller, so for 12 cupcakes you need far less batter than say a 2 layer cake, so for example my red velvet cupcake recipe is basically a smaller quantity of my red velvet cake, with some very slight adjustments 🙂

    • Lorena

      5 stars
      Best red velvet cupcakes recipe ever. My family loved them so much. And the cream cheese frosting was absolutely perfect. Tasted delicious and was the perfect pipeable consistency!

      • Cakes by MK

        Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed both the cupcakes and frosting recipes Lorena 😀

    • Jabeen

      Hi! How can I convert the red velvet cupcake recipe into a tray bake please? Thank you

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi Jabeen! I would recommend using my red velvet cake recipe if you’re wanting to make a tray cake 🙂

        • Yasmin

          I have made this in a 24x24cm square cake pan. Only because I wanted a smaller cake – that I didn’t use the cake recipe on the website. It turned out phenomenal! Just had to adjust baking time to 30-35 mins. Wing it!

          • Cakes by MK

            Awesome! So happy to hear you enjoyed it 😀 I’ve never tried this recipe as a cake so I’m glad to hear it worked well!

        • Nav

          Hi MK….what size cupcake liners do you use?

    • Fabienne

      5 stars
      Thought I’d give it a try during my days off and turn out really really delicious very red and soft 😋 took the rest to work and my colleagues loved it 🥰
      Thanks again for sharing your wonderful recipes xx
      Love from Fabie, London UK

      • Cakes by MK

        So glad to hear you and your colleagues enjoyed the cupcakes Fabie! 😀 Much love from NZ to London 🙂

    • Lilian

      I tried one of your recipes and it was yummy, I would love to be your student.

      • Cakes by MK

        So glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe Lilian! 🙂 I don’t run classes per so but have heaps of free tutorials on YouTube 😀

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    About me

    Welcome to my blog! My name is Maryam and I LOVE baking! :) I hope to provide you with the tools (i.e. simple, from-scratch, quality tested recipes), so that you can confidently bake up delicious treats to share with your family and friends!

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