Moist and fluffy vegan red velvet cupcakes, topped with “cream cheese” frosting is beyond delicious and so easy to make! Perfect for any occasion!!
If my family every had to agree on one thing, it would be that cream cheese frosting is our favorite! Sweet & tangy, creamy & luscious; there’s just something so addictive about it. I love this frosting on nearly everything, especially Red Velvet Cupcakes!
ARE RED VELVET CUPCAKES JUST CHOCOLATE CAKE?
Not really! Chocolate cake relies heavily on cocoa or melted chocolate to give it that amazing chocolate-y flavor. Traditional red velvet recipes use only a small amount of cocoa powder in comparison, which aids in it’s slightly pink color when it reacts with the baking soda. Since pinkish-brown cakes aren’t the prettiest, most recipes add red food coloring to give the cake a more vibrant base.
Buttercream is also a big difference between normal chocolate and red velvet cakes. Because our cupcakes are vegan, we’ve omitted the buttermilk and basically made our own, using a combination of dairy-free milk and apple cider vinegar. The acid from this, still reacts with the cocoa powder, but food coloring is used to make the red “pop”.
WHAT DO VEGAN RED VELVET CUPCAKES TASTE LIKE?
These cupcakes are buttery, moist, soft, slightly chocolate-y with a bit of tang. They honestly taste just like a classic red velvet cupcake, without using any eggs or dairy. Then to keep it just like the real thing, I topped these cupcakes with a simple, yet highly addictive vegan cream cheese frosting.
HOW TO MAKE ALLERGY-FRIENDLY RED VELVET CUPCAKES FROM SCRATCH
Start by whisking together the dry ingredients:
- Flour: I’ve tested this recipe using All Purpose Flour and Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Flour Blend. Traditional recipes call for cake flour, but since I never have any on hand and haven’t found an allergy-safe brand I like, I develop most recipes using AP. Just be sure to measure using the “spoon & level” method and sift to make it extra light.
- Cocoa Powder: You’ll only be using 2 tablespoons of unsweetened natural cocoa powder in this recipe. It provides a little chocolate flavor, without taking over.
- Baking Powder, Baking Soda + Salt: To help the cupcakes rise and for flavor!
- Sugar: I used organic granulated sugar to keep it vegan. The lightness of this type of sugar compared to turbinado or raw cane helps create an extra light cupcake. If you would like to cut back on the sugar, I’d suggest a brand like Wholesome Zero or Allulose which was used when making this Vegan Berry Trifle (gluten-free) .
Then you’ll mix up your wet ingredients:
- Oil: Brings so much moisture to cupcakes!
- Vanilla Extract: Because every cake needs a little vanilla.
- Red Food Coloring: Go red or go home! I used “taste free” gel coloring for these cupcakes.
- “Buttermilk” made with Apple Cider Vinegar & Flax Milk: Not only does a little vinegar help the cupcakes rise, but adding it to the dairy-free milk ahead of time, creates a vegan buttermilk which adds a little more tang to your cupcake.
Once you’ve mixed up the cupcake batter, divide it evenly between 12 cupcake liners in muffin pans and bake them. Make sure you don’t overfill the cupcake liners – I only fill my liners about 2/3 full, anything more will overflow.
HOW TO DECORATE DAIRY-FREE RED VELVET CAKE
I used my homemade cream cheese frosting for this recipe because it pairs perfectly with red velvet. If you’re looking for a different kind of frosting, my homemade vegan vanilla buttercream or even chocolate buttercream would taste delicious too.
For the frosting, I used my Wilton 1M piping tip. It’s one of the piping tips that I use all of the time. The other one I love is Wilton 2D Drop Flower Tip. You can use either to frost a tall swirl or simple rosette. I have a tutorial on how to make buttercream flowers here!
Can I use canned frosting instead of homemade?
Remember, most recipes are just suggestions, not rules. It all comes down to a matter of taste. If there is a brand of store bought frosting you like, go for it! If you don’t want to use shortening, use butter instead. Short on time, leave as a naked cupcake or drizzle with a little melted chocolate.
Can you double this recipe for red velvet cake?
For those of you that ask, YES, you may double recipe, but only under one condition: you must share with others.
If you double this recipe, bake it 2- 8″ round cake pans for a double layer red velvet cake. I would also double the cream cheese frosting recipe so you have enough for the middle layers and outside. (Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes).
Speaking of cake, I also have a double layer, gluten free vegan red velvet cake recipe that is a fav on the blog. It’s slightly more dense than these cupcakes, but just as delicious.
If you can’t get enough of red velvet recipes, try my red velvet cookies, too! We love dipping those in chocolate.
I think I’ve given you quite a few red velvet recipe ideas, so I’ll leave you the recipe below. If you bake these cupcakes, let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to give them a 5 star rating if love them like we do.
- 1 cup dairy-free milk (I use Good Karma Flax milk)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (*see gf option in Notes)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup neutral oil
- 2 1/4 tablespoons red food coloring
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (Nielsen-Massey is allergen friendly)
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz vegan cream cheese at room temp
- 8 tablespoons vegan shortening or butter at room temp
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350° and line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
- Whisk together dairy-free milk and vinegar then set aside 5-10 minutes). Depending on your milk, it may or may not curdle, which is ok.
- Sift together dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda and salt) into a large bowl.
- Whisk oil, food coloring and extracts into the "buttermilk" then gently mix into flour blend. Mix until smooth (some small lumps are ok).
- Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Place in oven and bake 18-20 minutes, using a toothpick to make sure center is done. Let cool 5 minutes in pan then remove and all to fully cool on cooling rack.
- Once cooled, decorate with piped frosting (see below).
Make Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a bowl of a stand-up mixer, combine cream cheese and shortening/butter until smooth on medium speed. Add vanilla extract and slowly add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Continue mixing until fully incorporated and fluffy.
- If using butter- refrigerate until ready to use.
*If making gluten-free, I used Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Flour Blend in equal amounts. Xanthan gum is already included in this mix.
**If using another GF flour, follow instructions if Xanthan Gum is required.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 502Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 151mgCarbohydrates: 74gFiber: 1gSugar: 62gProtein: 4g
Nutritional information is only an estimate based off of using an online calculator. Numbers will change depending on brands used.