These easy small-batch red velvet cupcakes are moist and tender with the perfect red velvet flavor and swirls of cream cheese frosting. The recipe makes just 6 cupcakes and is so simple to make. Perfect for when you don’t want leftovers!
The Perfect Small-Batch Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe
If you’re looking for delicious red velvet cupcakes, but don’t want leftovers, then this is the recipe for you. They’re moist, fluffy and have just a hint of cocoa with a beautiful deep red color. The cupcake batter comes together in no time, and the deliciously tangy cream cheese frosting really takes these to the next level.
This recipe will make 6-7 cupcakes in total – so they’re perfect for when you only need a treat for a few lucky people.
Making the Cupcakes
The cupcake batter can be made entirely by hand. For a full explanation, photos and tips – keep reading, but if you’re a cupcake expert, feel free to scroll down below to the recipe card.
- As always, you’ll first preheat the oven and line your muffin tin with 6 muffin papers. Note that with this recipe, like most cupcake recipes, you need to use muffin papers.
- Then you’ll whisk together the flour, sugar, a hint of cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. If there’s lumps in the cocoa powder, I recommend sifting first it to remove any lumps. If you don’t remove the lumps at this stage, it can be hard to get them out in later stages.
- Then in a separate bowl whisk together oil, melted butter, egg, vanilla extract, red food coloring and distilled vinegar. This mixture will look quite neon, but the red color will darken and soften in the next steps. The buttermilk and vinegar are key ingredients for perfectly moist red velvet cupcakes. They also give the cupcakes that slight tanginess of flavor. I’ve a buttermilk substitute in the recipe notes below if needed. We’re using a combination of oil and melted butter in this recipe so that the cupcakes don’t get too oily, but still stay super moist.
- Make a well in in the middle of the dry ingredients, then pour the wet ingredients into the well.
- Then carefully whisk the ingredients together until smooth.
- From there, you’ll spoon the batter into the cupcake liners and pop them into the oven to bake.
Note: This recipe will make 6-7 cupcakes. It’s important to only fill your cupcake liners about ⅔ to ¾ full. Any more full, and they can overflow.
The cream cheese frosting is key for this recipe. It’s creamy, tangy and truly takes these to the next level. As always with cream cheese frosting, make sure that:
- you’re using full-fat, brick-style cream cheese – this is key for the frosting being thick enough
- the butter and cream cheese are softened to room temperature, but not starting to melt
- if your powdered sugar (AKA icing sugar) is lumpy, sift it first
For more small-batch recipes, be sure to try:
And for more red velvet treats, you’ll love:
Small-Batch Red Velvet Cupcakes
- muffin pan
Red Velvet Cupcakes
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour (94 grams)
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt or just use a tiny pinch
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (30 ml) canola works too
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (28 grams) melted
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup buttermilk (60 ml) or substitute with ¼ cup milk and ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons red food coloring feel free to use a little less if you prefer
- ½ teaspoon distilled vinegar white vinegar works too
Cream Cheese Frosting
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter (75 grams) softened
- ¼ cup full-fat cream cheese (56 grams) brick style, cut into chunks
- 1 - 1 ½ cup powdered sugar (110 - 165 grams)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
Red Velvet Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Line a muffin tin with 6-7 muffin papers using the middle 6 cavities of the muffin tin.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda and salt. If the cocoa has lumps, sift it into the bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, melted butter, egg, vanilla extract, buttermilk, red food coloring and vinegar.
- Make a well in the middle of dry ingredients. Then pour the wet ingredients into the well.
- Whisk together until smooth and lump free. Stop whisking as soon as the batter is smooth.
- Spoon the batter into the lined muffin tin, filling each about ⅔ to ¾ full. You should end up with 6-7 in total.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15-17 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes, then continue to cool the cupcakes on a cooling rack.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Beat the butter until smooth. Then mix in the cream cheese.
- Turn off the mixer and add in ½ cup powdered sugar, the vanilla and salt. Starting with the mixer on a low speed, beat in the ingredients.
- Mix in a little more powdered sugar until the desired sweetness is reached.
- Frost the cooled cupcakes - I used a piping bag and 1M tip, or a knife works too.
- Buttermilk: If you don't have any on hand, add 1 /2 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice to ¼ cup milk. Whisk together before using.
- Food Coloring: I used liquid red food coloring. Gel works too. Feel free to use a little less for a less vibrant red color, or a little more for a strong red color.
- Storage: Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 24 hours, then store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Nutrition: Details provided are based on 1 cupcake with frosting, assuming the recipe yields 6 equal-sized cupcakes and all the frosting is used.