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Red Velvet Cupcakes on a Juliska red and white tray

Red Velvet Cupcakes or Layer Cake

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This quintessential Red Velvet Cupcakes recipe with buttermilk and a splash of vinegar will rock your world. Moist and flavorful, they’re topped with a heavenly swirl of cream cheese frosting.

This recipe also makes an extraordinary layer cake. Scroll down if you want directions for making this as a show stopping three layer cake.

Red Velvet Cupcakes on a Juliska red and white tray

The BEST Red Velvet Cupcakes

While I was out sipping cocktails with some of my “limoncello” girlfriends, they requested another cooking date. Making Red Velvet Cupcakes was the unanimous choice. I’d made these before with a mascarpone icing, but decided to go ahead with the more traditional cream cheese icing. If you can get beyond the three bottles of red food coloring in the cake ingredients, I think you’ll love these!!

Rave Reviews—even from the dog!

I’ve updated this old post with some new photos, but had to leave in the two snaps with sweet Lambeau, our first labrador retriever. She was a good crumb remover and loved when I baked. Besides getting flour all over myself, there was usually a dusting on the floor which she was thrilled to clean up. 

My mother-in-law is staying with us for a couple weeks. She’s a warm, lovely 90-pound Irish woman who is barely 5 feet tall. She said these red velvet cupcakes brought back memories of the tender cupcakes her mother used to make. Not one to snack, she ate her fair share of these gems! You’ll love them, too! If you’re looking for a chocolate cupcake, my family also loves these topped with vanilla buttercream.

Red Velvet Cupcakes on a square white plate with a red handled fork

Directions for Making This Cupcake Recipe into a 3-Layer Cake:

This is the same recipe I use to make a Red Velvet Layer Cake. All you need to do is grease 3 9-inch cake pans with butter and line the bottoms with parchment. Mix batter as directed, then divide batter between the 3 pans. Bake 40-45 minutes or till cake tester comes out clean. Let cool for about 10-20 minutes, then remove from pan and peel off parchment. Cool completely before icing. You’ll love this recipe as cupcakes OR a layer cake!



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Red Velvet Cupcakes | The quintessential red velvet cupcakes made with buttermilk and a splash of of vinegar. The cream cheese icing is also to die for!!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

The BEST red velvet recipe, I promise!

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 36 cupcakes
  • Category: Dessert, Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American



  • 3 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch processed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 ounces red food coloring
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar


  • 16 ounces cream cheese, cold
  • 12 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 cups powdered sugar, sifted


  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Put paper liners in three 12 count muffin tins.
  2. Whisk flour, cocoa and salt together in bowl.
  3. Beat oil and sugar in an electric mixer on medium till well blended. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Lower mixer speed to low (you don’t want any splashing!), and carefully add the red food coloring. Add vanilla, then alternate flour with buttermilk, starting with half the flour, then half the buttermilk, the rest of the flour, then ending with buttermilk. Scrape down the bowl, then mix just briefly till combined.
  4. Place baking soda and vinegar in a dish and stir to combine. Add to batter with mixer running. Beat for just 10 seconds.
  5. Fill cupcake liners ⅔ full and bake 25-30 minutes or till cake tester comes out clean. Let cool slightly, then remove from pans. Cool completely before icing.
  6. For frosting, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla just till blended. Add powdered sugar slowly (2 cups at a time) and beat till frosting is smooth and at the correct consistency. You may find you prefer more or less powdered sugar than called for. Makes 4 cups.
Red Velvet Cupcakes | The quintessential red velvet cupcakes made with buttermilk and a splash of of vinegar. The cream cheese icing is also to die for!!



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15 comments on “Red Velvet Cupcakes or Layer Cake”

  1. Great recipe isn’t it? Our family favorite for both red velvet cupcakes and cake…
    Nice job Liz!

  2. Yes, I think this is the ultimate red velvet recipe…thanks to you and all who have made this before and tweaked it to perfection!

  3. I love seeing Lambeau in your blog posts.

  4. Lizzy……Your last picture makes me want to reach into the screen and take a bite.
    I guess Lambeau fell asleep when they were baking…….what a cutie 😉
    Thanks for sharing another one of your great recipes.

  5. Thanks, Carole and Erica…yes, she loves when I bake!! LOL…

  6. My dad’s favorite is red velvet. Perfect treat for Father’s Day!

  7. Your icing piping is beautiful!

  8. Red velvet is one of my favorites! That deep red color is amazing.

  9. One of my fav cupcakes! These are perfect!

  10. these sure look yummy! Hope you and yours have a nice Easter in your new kitchen! have a great one!
    Ps I can comment on FB for a few more days… again! HAPPY EASTER!

  11. Prettiest little cakes I ever did see!

  12. Red Velvet is the best – love the frosting!

  13. My fav cake!!

  14. I’d love a dozen of these right now! Yum!

  15. Red Velvet is a favorite at our house, these look divine!

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