Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting


Preparation info

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By Lorraine Pascale

Published 2017

  • About

People go wild for my red velvet recipes on social media. I think there’s something very special about red velvet cupcakes – it might be their super-rich red colour, or it might be the sweet and slight sourness of the cream cheese frosting. Either way, when you serve these cupcakes, they are always going to be a big hit.


  • 180 g butter, softened
  • 180 g soft light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp full-fat sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 200 g self-raising flour
  • 20 g cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • about ½ tsp red food colouring (use more if you want it super red – I use Sugarflair)

For the frosting

  • 75 g butter, softened
  • 50 g full-fat cream cheese
  • 250 g icing sugar
  • seeds of ½ vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • 12-hole cupcake tin
  • hand-held electric whisk or stand mixer (optional)
  • mechanical ice-cream scoop (optional)
  • piping bag with 2cm nozzle (optional)


Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C/350°F/gas 4) and line the cupcake tin with twelve paper cases.

Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and cream them together. The best way to do this is by using a hand-held electric whisk or a stand mixer, but you can use a wooden spoon if you like by squishing the mixture on the sides of the bowl and then beating it hard – it does take longer, but it will work just as well.

The creamed mixture should turn a little paler in colour. Add the sour cream, two of the eggs and half of the flour and beat well until just combined. Add the other two eggs and the rest of the flour and the cocoa powder along with the bicarbonate of soda and food colouring, and mix enough so that everything is just combined – if you over-mix it, the cupcakes may become a little tough, but will still taste good.

Using a large spoon or mechanical ice-cream scoop, divide the mixture between the cases, using a spatula to ensure you get every last bit out of the bowl. Place the tin on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25–30 minutes, or until the cupcakes smell baked and are springy to the touch. To check that they are cooked, insert a skewer into the centre of a cupcake – it should come out clean. Once baked, remove the cakes from the oven and leave them to cool down completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. Put the butter and cream cheese into a bowl with the icing sugar and vanilla and mix together just enough to combine. Use as few stirs as possible – if the cream cheese is over-mixed, the frosting can become too runny. If it does go runny, pop it into the fridge for 10–15 minutes, or until it has firmed up a little. Spoon or pipe the cream cheese frosting over the cupcakes to serve. I like to pipe pretty rosettes on the cakes using the piping bag.