Red velvet cupcakes

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Red velvet cupcakes

Difficulty: A wee bit harder

Time: 30 minutes plus 20 minutes baking

Serves: 12 

I’d wanted to make red velvet cupcakes for a while and Valentine’s day seemed like the perfect excuse. Not only that, this week the #twitterbakealong challenge was to make something red velvet so I thought it would be a good excuse to enter for once. If you are on twitter and haven’t heard of the #twitterbakealong, take a look – there are fun baking challenges every week with prizes for the winner. We were very excited to actually walk away with the prize at our first time of trying. I suspect it was picture of the sweet proud wee man with his cupcakes which swayed the judges!

The recipe we used was from our Hummingbird baking cookbook, but with a few tweaks to make it easier for the kids to make. 

We has also, originally tried to make them heart shaped. I’ve seen it be done by placing a baking bead in between the edge of the cupcake case and the tin.Unfortunately our cupcake cases were a little too small so they didn’t really work but you can see the idea. We’ll try again when we next do cupcakes. 


60g unsalted butter, softened
150g caster sugar
1 egg
20g cocoa powder
red food colouring
½ tsp vanilla extract
120ml buttermilk
150g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1½ tsp white vinegar

For the topping
300g icing sugar, sifted
20g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold


Preheat your oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3 and get your little one to line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper/silicon cupcake cases.

Beat the butter and sugar together

Get your little chef to measure the butter (60g) and sugar (150g) and put them in a mixing bowl or freestanding mixer with the paddle (k) attachment. Beat them together until they are light and fluffy.

Add the egg

Break the egg directly into the mixing bowl or get your child to do it into a small bowl first if you are worried about egg shell getting in.
Beat everything together on a high speed until it is all well mixed.

Make a paste with the cocoa, colouring and vanilla

In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder (20g), vanilla extract (1/2 tsp) and red food colouring. It depends on your colouring as to how much you’ll need to use. We’ve got Wilton gel colours and put in around ¼ tsp.


Mix everything together until you have a thick paste and then add to your mixer.

Mix thoroughly. Add some more red colouring if you need it at this point to make it a nice deep red.

Add the remaining ingredients

Measure the buttermilk (120ml) using digital scales set to ml, if you have them. Pour the butter milk into the mixer and mix it together slowly.

Weigh the flour and add it to the mixer and mix everything together again.

Add the vinegar (1 ½ tsp) and bicarbonate of soda (1/2 tsp).

Give everything one final mix. Use a spatula to scrape any unmixed ingredients down from the side of the bowl.

Bake the red velvet cupcakes

Spoon the cupcake mixture into the cases until they are about two-thirds full to allow them space to rise.

Pop them in the oven for approximately 20 minutes. They’re ready when they have risen, a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean and if you press them gently on top the sponge bounces back.
Remove the cupcakes from the oven and leave them to cool for a few minutes before taking them out of the tin and leaving them to cool completely on a wire rack.

Make the cream cheese frosting

Measure the icing sugar (200g) and butter (15g) and add to a mixing bowl/freestanding mixer. Start on a really slow speed and mix them together until they are well combined. Use a lid if you have one as this can get messy!

Add the cream cheese (85g) and mix together again until it is full incorporated and light and fluffy.

Decorate the red velvet cupcakes

Spread the frosting on top of the cooled cupcakes. We used a spatula, but you could use a butter knife or piping bag. You could get your kids to do this, or like us, you can do it while they get on with decorating the tops with sprinkles.

Get your kids to add sprinkles. We did these just before Valentines’ Day so used some pink hearts. I added them to a small bowl to make it easier for the kids to sprinkle them on without making too much of a mess.

Only Crumbs Remain


  1. I just love how great your kids are at baking Helen! I’ve seen the trick of adding a few baking beans to make a heart shape cupcakes too, I have to say I can see a heart shape to some of the cupcakes which looks really fab. Thankyou so much for linking up with #BakingCrumbs,
    Angela x

    • Thanks – they really love it (especially my wee one now). I’m going to try the baking bean trick again. The cupcake cases we had were smaller than normal so I think it would work better with bigger ones.

  2. Your little boy looks like he can’t wait to pick one up and eat it! They look great and I’m sure they’re really tasty. I’ll have to have a look at the Twitter Bakealong too!

    • Thank you. They don’t often eat our baking. I think like me, they prefer the making to the eating, but he did really like these cupcakes!

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