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Red Velvet Cupcakes

by . Featured in KITCHEN
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Introduction

Even though I do give instructions below as to how to make these into one big Red Velvet Cake, I like them so much more as cupcakes. Yes, they do use food colouring - and I advise the paste rather than the liquid, as you need less of it to get the requisite ruby hue - but this is one time I don’t let this trouble me. Food colouring pastes can be found in baking supply shops and online, and then you are ready to make a batch of these deliciously pretty babies.

If you want to make this as one big cake then know that the amounts below make enough batter for 2 x 25cm / 10 inch cake tins filled not too deep, and enough icing to squidge them together and decorate the top.

Even though I do give instructions below as to how to make these into one big Red Velvet Cake, I like them so much more as cupcakes. Yes, they do use food colouring - and I advise the paste rather than the liquid, as you need less of it to get the requisite ruby hue - but this is one time I don’t let this trouble me. Food colouring pastes can be found in baking supply shops and online, and then you are ready to make a batch of these deliciously pretty babies.

If you want to make this as one big cake then know that the amounts below make enough batter for 2 x 25cm / 10 inch cake tins filled not too deep, and enough icing to squidge them together and decorate the top.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Photo by Lis Parsons

Ingredients

Makes: 24

Metric Cups

For the Cupcakes

  • 250 grams plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (sifted)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 100 grams soft unsalted butter
  • 200 grams caster sugar
  • 1 heaped tablespoon christmas-red paste food colouring
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 175 millilitres buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

For the Buttery Cream-Cheese Frosting

  • 500 grams icing sugar
  • 125 grams cream cheese
  • 125 grams soft unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • chocolate sprinkles for decoration
  • red sugar for decoration

For the Cupcakes

  • 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa (sifted)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 7 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 heaped tablespoon christmas-red paste food coloring
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

For the Buttery Cream-Cheese Frosting

  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ cup soft unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • chocolate sprinkles for decoration
  • red sugar for decoration

Method

For the cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3/325°F, and line 2 muffin tins with paper cases.
  2. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl.
  3. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar, beating well, and when you have a soft, pale mixture beat in the food colouring - yes all of it - and the vanilla.
  4. Into this vividly coloured mixture, still beating, add 1 spoonful of the dried ingredients, then 1 egg, followed by some more dried ingredients, then the other egg, followed by the rest of the dried ingredients.
  5. Finally beat in the buttermilk and the vinegar and divide this extraordinary batter between the 24 cases. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes by which time the redcurrant-sorbet-coloured batter will have morphed into a more sombre, but still juicily tinted, sponge - more maroon acrylic than red velvet, to be honest.
  6. Leave them to cool on a wire rack and do not ice with the frosting till absolutely cold.

For the buttery cream-cheese frosting

  1. Put the icing sugar into a processor and whizz to remove lumps.
  2. Add the cream cheese and butter and process to mix. Pour in the cider vinegar (or lemon juice) and process again to make a smooth icing.
  3. Ice each cupcake, using a teaspoon or small spatula.
  4. Decorate with chocolate sprinkles and red sugar, or as desired.

For the cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3/325°F, and line 2 muffin tins with paper cases.
  2. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl.
  3. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar, beating well, and when you have a soft, pale mixture beat in the food colouring - yes all of it - and the vanilla.
  4. Into this vividly coloured mixture, still beating, add 1 spoonful of the dried ingredients, then 1 egg, followed by some more dried ingredients, then the other egg, followed by the rest of the dried ingredients.
  5. Finally beat in the buttermilk and the vinegar and divide this extraordinary batter between the 24 cases. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes by which time the redcurrant-sorbet-coloured batter will have morphed into a more sombre, but still juicily tinted, sponge - more maroon acrylic than red velvet, to be honest.
  6. Leave them to cool on a wire rack and do not ice with the frosting till absolutely cold.

For the buttery cream-cheese frosting

  1. Put the confectioners' sugar into a processor and whizz to remove lumps.
  2. Add the cream cheese and butter and process to mix. Pour in the cider vinegar (or lemon juice) and process again to make a smooth icing.
  3. Ice each cupcake, using a teaspoon or small spatula.
  4. Decorate with chocolate sprinkles and red sugar, or as desired.

Additional Information

Make ahead note: The cupcakes can be baked 2 days ahead and stored, un-iced, layered with baking parchment in airtight containers. The frosting can be made 1 day ahead: cover with clingfilm and refrigerate; remove from fridge 1-2 hours before needed to allow to come to room temperature then beat briefly before using. Best iced and eaten on same day but iced cupcakes can be kept in fridge in airtight container for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Freeze note: Un-iced cupcakes can be frozen, layered with baking parchment, in airtight containers for up to 2 months. Defrost for 3-4 hours on a wire rack at room temperature. Frosting can be frozen separately in airtight container for up to 3 months; defrost overnight in fridge then bring to room temperature and beat briefly before use.

Make ahead note: The cupcakes can be baked 2 days ahead and stored, un-iced, layered with baking parchment in airtight containers. The frosting can be made 1 day ahead: cover with clingfilm and refrigerate; remove from fridge 1-2 hours before needed to allow to come to room temperature then beat briefly before using. Best iced and eaten on same day but iced cupcakes can be kept in fridge in airtight container for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Freeze note: Un-iced cupcakes can be frozen, layered with baking parchment, in airtight containers for up to 2 months. Defrost for 3-4 hours on a wire rack at room temperature. Frosting can be frozen separately in airtight container for up to 3 months; defrost overnight in fridge then bring to room temperature and beat briefly before use.

Tell us what you think

What 32 Others have said

  • I've been trying out red velvet cupcake recipes for my son and American daughter in laws wedding celebration and this recipe is the best by a mile! Simple, straightforward and devine cakes. The red colour is vivid if you use a paste food colour. Thanks for this recipe I'd highly recommend.

    Posted by Helenxx on 3rd September 2016
  • Made this twice and believe me, this recipe makes the best red velvet cake/cupcakes ever. The cake was super moist, fluffy and sweetness was at perfection. Red velvet cake can not get any better than this. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Nigella. We loved it.

    Posted by Theja on 24th August 2016
  • These cupcakes will change your life! It's NB to follow the instructions carefully, and an electric hand mixer makes them really fluffy.

    Posted by Mamaitse on 15th February 2016
  • Thanks For Sharing this recipe of red velvet Cupcake.I tried at my home for my loving husband and it's so delicious.http://bit.ly/1L4g7Wb

    Posted by Nesha on 10th September 2015
  • I made the red velvet cup cakes today . I used butter icing instead . And wine vinegar . Instead of cider . Were lush . Yummy

    Posted by mother5 on 6th September 2015
  • I have made these twice now. Once for a bake sale, and again at the request of my daughter for her birthday. Huge success. Instead of Christmas red paste I use a Red Velvet syrup/gel which gives the cakes a light cherry flavor as well as a lovely deep red colour.

    Posted by Natster on 1st August 2015
  • Best Red Velvet and Butter cream recipe EVER!!! Simple, Easy, Fail Proof! My go to cupcakes for sure. I have also played around with the colours and made Black Velvet and Blue Velvet as well... AMAZING!!!

    Posted by rexieinthekitchen on 16th July 2015
  • nice website

    Posted by basit on 23rd June 2015
  • Hi Nigella. I read this recipe and believe me this red velvet cupcake recipe, which you provide, are very easy to prepare. I have never seen before easy recipe anywhere in other website. It's my first time to visit this website. Basically i found your website when i was searching rasmalai recipe in google and google show me your webiste in first page then i move to you website. Now i am going to make red velvet cupcake with your recipe. Keep it up very excellent website. I want to bookmark this blog.

    Posted by basit on 23rd June 2015
  • These are fabulous, however if yours are too BROWN this usually has to do with the red food colouring and not the amount of cocoa, if you can't get the exact ingredients then you have to be very liberal your substitute :) It's well worth the effort

    Posted by Grammy61 on 7th March 2015
  • I don't know why some cakes look brown unless you are not using the correct Christmas Red paste, rather than any food colouring. Mine was a lovely Red colour just like Nigella's.

    Posted by networkvideo on 14th December 2014
  • Made these as cakes twice. And both of it turned out great! Cake is moist and dense but not too heavy. All of nigella's recipe is a hit for me! Thanks!!

    Posted by Shina_zaid on 6th December 2014
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