Joel Callen

Food & Wine

Red velvet cupcakes

Red velvet cupcakes

Easy to whip up for when the grandkids are visiting, these red velvet cupcakes are simply delicious when finished with a cream cheese icing.


  • 2 ½ cups plain flour, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups caster sugar
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons red food colouring
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons bicarbonate soda
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • Red sprinkles, optional
Cream cheese icing

  • 200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 x 250g packets cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • ¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 24 cupcake cases

1. Preheat oven to 180°C degrees. Line two muffin tins with paper liners.

2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt.

3. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food colour and vanilla.

4. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the bicarbonate soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.

5. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full.

6. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

7. To make icing, beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, two to three minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, one cup at a time, and then vanilla; mix until smooth.

8. To finish, use a small spatula or piping bag to spread cupcakes with frosting. If desired, top with cake crumbs.

Related links: 

Cake decorating 101

Lime, coconut and poppy seed cake 

Jam roly-poly

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