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Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red velvet cupcakes are one of those magical bakes where it doesn't make any sense on doesn't seem quite right when you're making the batter..then they come out of the oven like perfectly light, fluffy red clouds. A hint of chocolate thanks to the cocoa powder, red velvets are classically made with buttermilk and a splash of vinegar (both acidic ingredients which break down the gluten and help create a soft crumb) and iced with a tangy, cream cheese frosting. Most importantly though, they are delicious and beautiful, eye-catching creations for those special occasions (or my favourite excuse to bake - 'just because')

Total time to make : 40 minutes + cooling time Time to prep : 20 minutes

Time to bake : 18 - 20 minutes

Servings : 12


Red Velvet Cupcakes

200g plain flour

10g cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 tsp salt

80g butter, room temperature

150g caster sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

125ml buttermilk

3 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp red food colouring

Cream Cheese Buttercream

100g butter, at room temperature

100g cream cheese, full fat

400g icing sugar, sieved

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch salt


Cupcake base

  1. Preheat a fan oven to 180C and line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners

  2. In a mixing bowl, sieve in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate soda and salt together and stir so it's evenly mixed. Set to one side

  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy by hand or using a standing or electric hand mixer on a medium speed. Add in the eggs, mixing them in one at a time. Next, add in the remaining wet ingredients to the bowl (buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla, apple cider, food colouring) and mix again until combined

  4. Add the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients and use a standing mixer (lowest setting), spatula or spoon to fold the ingredients together, until everything is just mixed and there are no more flour streaks, being careful not to overmix the batter. Don't worry if the batter starts to bubble up or look different to usual cake batter

  5. Use heaped tablespoons to fill the cake liners, filling them up about 3/4 full

  6. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until a clean metal skewer or toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the centre of a cupcake, they should be risen and springy to touch

  7. Remove from the oven and as soon as they're cool enough to touch, remove from the muffin tin and cool on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before icing


  1. Using a standing mixer or electric hand whisker on a high speed, whip the butter in a large bowl for a few minutes until pale and fluffy

  2. Keeping the speed on low, add in the cream cheese and beat for a further minute until mixed through

  3. Add in the sieved icing sugar gradually, a few tbsp at a time - to avoid being covered in a huge cloud of icing smoke! Continue doing this until all the icing sugar has been added, then finally add in the vanilla and lemon. Mix again until smooth, thick and velvety. The consistency we're looking for with buttercream is thick but spreadable, like toothpaste*

  4. Ice the cupcakes using a spoon or piping bag with nozzle attachment, finish with red velvet crumbs*, red sprinkles or any decorations you like

Nutritional Information

(per fully-iced cupcake, with about 4 tbsp buttercream per cake)

394 calories

3g protein, 50g carbs, 16g fat

Good to know:

  • To make red velvet crumbs, crumble one of the baked and cooled cupcakes using your fingers. Sprinkle these over the icing for a decorative touch

  • 1 tbsp red food colouring sounds a lot but it gives red velvet cupcakes their deep, ruby red shade! Use a good quality food colouring brand

  • An easy step to skip - it's important to use a sieve in both the cupcake batter here (especially as cocoa powder tends to be clumpy) and the icing sugar in the buttercream (to keep it smooth and avoid an uneven, clumpy batter)

  • For piped roses, I use a Wilton 2D or 1M nozzle, they're a very popular and widely available nozzles, along with a piping bag. For the above icing, I used a wide, circular 1A nozzle

  • Once you've prepared the buttercream, fill the piping bag and I like to put mine in the fridge to chill for 10/15 minutes. This firms up the icing giving more 'hold' to it's shape

  • Cupcakes freeze incredibly well, make in advance, cool completely then wrap tightly with cling-film and store in an airtight container for up to 3 months

  • Once mixed to your desired consistency, icing can be stored in an airtight container (see picture, below) for up to 1 week in the fridge or 2 months in a freezer, defrost fully before using

  • Store iced cupcakes at room temperature (or in the fridge in warmer climates or months) for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before eating

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