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Red Velvet Cupcakes with Buttermilk

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Red Velvet Cupcakes are fluffy, smooth, and velvety with subtle undertones of chocolate and the perfect silky cream cheese frosting! Truly the BEST Red Velvet Cupcake recipe out there!

Today I’m beyond happy to present to you my version of the highly sought after perfect homemade “Red Velvet Cupcake”! 

Red Velvet Cupcake With Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s taken me years of testing and trying multiple recipes, lots and lots of tweaking, to finally find the perfect Red Velvet cupcake recipe. 

If you don’t understand the hype of Red Velvet Cupcakes… I get that! For a long time I didn’t understand all the fuss either. To me, they tasted like every other cupcake out there, but that’s because I hadn’t had a really good Red Velvet Cupcake! 

Red Velvet Cupcakes

A good red velvet is fluffy, moist, smooth like velvet (thus how they come by their name) with subtle undertones of chocolate, a slight tang, topped off with a sublimely luscious cream cheese frosting! It’s the balance of the right ingredients, science baby… that combine to create the perfect cup of happiness!

This is an easy recipe, and if followed with my helpful tips, will create an amazing Red Velvet Cupcake! Let’s get baking!!

How To Make Red Velvet Cupcakes with Buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325°. Cooking these cupcakes at a lower temperature aids in producing a moist cupcake. It’s really important not to over bake these cupcakes!

In a medium bowl add 2 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

TIP: Sifting the cocoa powder helps remove any lumps and produces a smoother batter.

Bowl full of dry ingredients

Using a whisk, blend dry ingredients together. Set aside.

dry ingredients combined together

In the bowl of a stand mixer beat 1 cup softened butter and sugar on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.

Butter and Sugar in mixer

Beat in 4 eggs, one at a time.

Tip: Crack the eggs into a measuring cup first and pour them into the creamed mixture. This prevents any eggshell from becoming a part of the cupcake batter…which is always a win in my book!

In a large measuring cup mix together 1 1/4 cup sour cream, 3/4 cup of buttermilk, 1.5 ounces or one and half bottles of liquid red food coloring (Life just got really messy! Disclaimer…you’re gonna get red on your hands…just embrace the color!) and vanilla. 

Why is buttermilk such an important ingredient in baking?

For several reasons…one it brings a pleasant “tang” to cakes, breads, biscuits, muffins and other family favorites while adding very little fat. Like sour cream, another ingredient in this recipe, this acidic ingredient also helps tenderize gluten, giving baked goods a softer texture with more body…plus it interacts with the baking soda giving breads and cakes a quick rise.

sour cream, red food coloring, vanilla

Add half the dry ingredients and half the wet ingredients into the creamed butter and sugar on low speed! LOW SPEED…unless ya want to redecorate your kitchen in a red splatter theme!

Add remaining dry ingredients and remaining wet ingredients. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to insure all the creamed butter is incorporated.

Mix until ingredients are well combined…making sure NOT TO OVERBEAT the batter!

TIP: Overbeating the batter can create air bubbles to form in the batter that will burst when baking causing your cupcakes to go flat!

Adding dry and wet ingredients to creamed butter

Next up…a well-kept secret in the world of Red Velvet Cupcakes! Vinegar! That’s right, we’re gonna add 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar. Carefully fold in one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into the cake batter! Don’t worry about it changing the taste of the cake…it won’t! Also note, the batter will be thin like a boxed cake batter.

Why add vinegar to Red Velvet Cupcakes?

For baking soda to effectively leaven a cake, it has to react with an ingredient that contains acid. Although most cake recipes contain acidic ingredients such as buttermilk and cocoa, like this recipe, the addition of the vinegar provides just a little extra acid to ensure the baking soda can do its best rising. This one little step helps produce the perfect rounded cupcake top!

Spoon the batter into 30 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full. 

Filling cupcake liners with cake batter

Bake 20–25 minutes in preheated oven or until they spring back when you touch the center of the cupcake. Cool in pans for 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely. 

TIP: Be careful not to over bake the cupcakes! Set the timer for 15 minutes. Since every oven bakes differently! Check the cupcakes at 15 minutes and add additional time as needed. This way you won’t overbake the cupcakes. No dry cupcakes allowed! 

Red Velvet Cupcakes on cooling rack

To make the cream cheese frosting, in the bowl of your mixer, add 1 (8 ounce) package of softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup of softened butter, 2 Tablespoons of sour cream, and 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract mix on low speed until light and fluffy.

cream cheese, vanilla, and sour cream in mixing bowl

Add powder sugar, gradually, on low speed, until smooth. 

TIP: For an extra creamy frosting…sift powder sugar to remove any lumps. 

Cream Cheese Frosting on spatula

Frost cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. I prefer to pipe my frosting on top of each cupcake. They just turn out prettier when I pipe the frosting on. My frosting “spreading” skills leave a lot to be desired! A frosting bag over a knife any day!

Decorate with sprinkles and seasonal decor or just leave ’em plain! They’re delicious either way!

decorated cupcakes

From the first heavenly bite…you’re gonna understand why Red Velvet is the sought after cupcake and bakeries across the country! They’re scrumptious…velvety smooth with the prefect “crumb” factor! Swoon worthy! If you’re looking for swoonability! (spell check does not like that word! Lol)

Red Velvet Cupcake with bite out of it.

They’re the perfect Valentine treat for the loves in your life. I love that this recipe makes 30 cupcakes, so it’s perfect for a school party or a pot luck! I hope you love this Red Velvet Cupcake with buttermilk recipe as much as I do! It’s a keeper in my book and I hope it will be for you too!

If you love this cupcake recipe you’ll love these other delicious Cake Recipes

As always, thanks so much for stopping by and visiting with my Nest! I love having you here!

Happy Nesting!

Norine's Signature and photo
Yield: 30 cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Buttermilk

Red Velvet Cupcake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cupcakes are fluffy, smooth, and velvety with subtle undertones of chocolate and the perfect silky cream cheese frosting! Truly the BEST Red Velvet Cupcake recipe out there!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 ounces (2-1 ounce) bottles Red Food Color
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 (16 ounce) box confectioners' sugar (powder sugar)


  1. Preheat oven to 325° degrees F. In a bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt with a wire whisk. Set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugar in bowl of stand mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. In a separate bowl combine sour cream, buttermilk, food coloring, and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
  3. Gradually add flour mixture on low speed, alternating with wet ingredients, until just blended. Making sure to scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Do not overbeat. Spoon batter into 30 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.
  4. Bake 20-25 minutes, checking at 15 minute mark, until cupcakes springs back when lightly touched in the center. Making sure not to over bake the cupcakes.
  5. Cool in pans on wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely. Frost with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting.
  6. Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting: Sift confectioners sugar to remove any lumps. Beat cream cheese, softened butter, sour cream, and pure vanilla in mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sifted confectioners' sugar until smooth.

Nutrition Information:


30 cupcakes

Serving Size:

1 cupcake

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 216Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 166mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 1gSugar: 18gProtein: 3g

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Sunday 25th of April 2021

I love your cakes they’re amazing!! Is this recipe able to be made into a cake?

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Friday 30th of April 2021

Hi Lucy! What a kind compliment! Yes you can certainly make this into a double layer cake or a 9 x 13 cake....even a Bundt cake. Just adjust your cook times a tad. Thanks for stopping by! Have a Great Day! Norine

Nikki Lee

Saturday 18th of January 2020

Beautiful cupcakes!!! Perfect treat for Valentines Day!

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Monday 20th of January 2020

Hi Nikki! Thank you so much my sweet friend! You are truly the BEST! Love Ya Girl! Norine


Friday 17th of January 2020

These cupcakes look amazing! So beautiful and I love your photos.

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Friday 17th of January 2020

Hi Julia! Thank you my sweet friend. You made my day! You're the BEST!

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