Red velvet cupcakes recipe

(3270 ratings)

Red velvet cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery have deep red sponge with a delicious cream cheese frosting. They are delightfully decadent.

Red velvet cupcakes
  • healthy
Preparation Time10 mins
Cooking Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories304 Kcal15%
Sugar39.2 g44%
Fat11.1 g16%
Saturated Fat6.8 g34%
Protein3 g6%
Carbohydrates48.3 g19%

These moist red velvet cupcakes are packed with a rich chocolate flavour and coloured with a vibrant red food colouring paste. 

The Hummingbird Bakery’s red velvet cupcakes might just be some of the best in the country. But now it's easy to recreate their home thanks to this simple seven-step recipe. Making cupcakes is always quite an easy baking prospect, and there is nothing too complex in this recipe, though you do need to be quite precise. The recipe makes a dozen pretty mini cakes, each serving one person. 

Each one is topped with a homemade cream cheese frosting made simply with icing sugar, butter, and cream cheese. You can either dust them with fine cocoa powder before serving, or, if you have any cupcakes that have over-risen, neaten out the tops and use the offcuts to make red velvet crumbs to sprinkle on top.


  • 60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 10g cocoa powder
  • 20ml red food colouring (we recommend Dr. Oetker's or a paste colouring as red food colourings vary in strength)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 120ml buttermilk
  • 150g plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1½ tsp white wine vinegar
  • 300g icing sugar, sifted
  • 50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 125g cream cheese, cold




  1. To make this cupcake recipe, preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3 and line a 12-hole cupcake tray with large cupcake cases. Set aside.
  2. Put the butter and the sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy and well mixed. Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a thick, dark paste. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Turn the mixer down to slow speed and slowly pour in half the buttermilk. Beat until well mixed, then add half the flour, and beat until everything is well incorporated.
  4. Repeat this process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added. Scrape down the side of the bowl again. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until you have a smooth, even mixture. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the salt, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Beat until well mixed, then turn up the speed again and beat for a couple more minutes.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 mins, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  6. Meanwhile for the cream cheese frosting: Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 mins. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.
  7. When the cupcakes are cold, spoon over the cream cheese frosting on top.

Watch how to make red velvet cupcakes

Top tips for making red velvet cupcakes

Make sure the red velvet cupcakes have completely cooled before adding the icing otherwise the cream cheese frosting (opens in new tab) will melt, separate, and eventually fall off the cupcakes.

What makes red velvet cupcakes red?

Traditionally red velvet cake was made with a particular kind of cocoa powder which reacted with acid in the cake to cause the deep, brownish red colour. During the Second World War, when many foods were in the ration, beetroot was added to cakes to add sweetness, moistness and red colour. Modern red velvet cakes tend to simple use red food colouring, though they generally still contain a small amount of cocoa for flavour.

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Jessica Dady
Senior Content Editor

Jessica Dady is Senior Content Editor at and has over 10 years of experience as a digital journalist, specialising in all things food, recipes, and SEO. From the best food hampers to cookbooks, from the best cake stands to baking sets, Jessica has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to must-have food products. A passionate baker, she spends much of her time creating celebration cakes for friends and family - particularly for her two lucky children.