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The perfect traditional red velvet cupcake, topped with a marshmallow cream cheese frosting.

Red Velvet Cupcakes on Taste and Tell

Photos updated February 2013

Back in January, my family was having a get together for my brother’s birthday. If you are a reader of my blog, you have already heard me mention that for birthdays in my family and my husband’s family this year, I am making a little cupcake box. I have already featured many of these recipes that I have made so far. Well, when my sister heard what I was doing, she requested red velvet for her birthday. I was totally up for the challenge – really excited actually. I had never made red velvet before, and although I’ve eaten it before, it’s been so long that I wouldn’t have even been able to describe the taste.

So when all of the red velvet cakes and cupcakes started to pop up on blogs around Valentine’s Day, I started to get really excited. I hadn’t decided on a recipe yet, but I had plenty picked out to choose from. Then, a couple days before the birthday, I decided to check out my cookbooks – since I am trying to use them more often. I was really surprised to learn that only one of my cookbooks had a recipe for red velvet cake!! And I wasn’t really feeling that one recipe. (Go figure that one of my new cookbooks – that arrived a couple days after the cupcakes were made – had a recipe that sounds wonderful!) So what’s a girl to do when she can’t decide which recipe to use? Trust the queen of all things Southern – Paula Deen. I went to the Food Network website, and after a quick search, I found that she had 2 recipes listed. After going over both, I decided on Grandmother Paul’s Red Velvet Cake. Both recipes were similar, but this one had a little more cocoa, and the frosting really intrigued me.

Although the recipe is for a cake, it translated into cupcakes pretty well. The didn’t get much of a domed top, but with the frosting, it didn’t really matter. The recipe called for 2 oz. of red food coloring. Most bottles you can find are one ounce. That’s a lot of red!! The store I normally shop at was out of red food coloring, so I stopped at another. Their prices were extremely higher, so I only ended up buying one bottle. And I’m so glad I didn’t add 2 – as you can tell, these babies were plenty red!!

The frosting is a little different, as it has you adding in melted marshmallows to the normal cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar mixture. It also has shredded coconut and chopped pecans, but I chose to leave those out. When I read through the reviews, many people said to use marshmallow fluff or marshmallow creme instead of the melted marshmallows, because it is too messy to melt marshmallows. Call me crazy, but I think the taste of regular marshmallows and marshmallow creme is not the same, so I stuck with the melted marshmallows. When I first tasted the frosting, I was expecting a marshmallow-y flavor, but it wasn’t there. At first I was disappointed because it just tasted like regular cream cheese frosting, but once I got over the disappointment, I realized that it did actually add something different to the frosting. Nothing that I can really describe, but when it was all over and done, I liked this more than any cream cheese frosting I have made.

These cupcakes were everything I expected and more. The full recipe made 30 cupcakes, and I could have very easily eaten them all myself. In fact, after I gave my sister hers, I had to save aside only a few to take pictures, and the rest I took to work to get rid of, because the temptation was just way too much for me to handle! They had the perfect amount of cocoa, and the perfect amount of tang from the buttermilk. And the frosting just pulled everything together. Definitely a make again recipe!!

Oh yeah – I also want to mention that I used to think that red velvet was a seasonal cake/cupcake – reserved for holidays like Valentines Day. But I’m wrong. After watching Cupcake Week on Martha Stewart, I think just about every bakery featured has a red velvet cupcake on their menu full time!

Red Velvet Cupcakes recipe

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
The perfect traditional red velvet cupcake, topped with a marshmallow cream cheese frosting.
Serves: 30 cupcakes
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 ounce red food coloring
  • 2½ cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows, melted
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter, beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition.
  3. Mix cocoa and food coloring together and then add to sugar mixture; mix well.
  4. Sift together flour and salt. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Blend in vanilla.
  5. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar and add to mixture.
  6. Pour batter into prepared cupcake pans. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from heat and cool completely before frosting.
  1. Blend cream cheese and butter together in a mixing bowl. Add melted marshmallows and sugar and blend. Spread frosting on cooled cupcakes.
  2. -----------------------
  3. slightly adapted from Paula Deen

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49 Responses to Red Velvet Cupcakes

  1. Steph says:

    Red Velvet cake is divine! Your photo’s are beautiful, and they look delicious!!!

  2. Sarah says:

    I love red velvet! It is such a staple in the south. I actually have a request to make some red velvet cupcakes for a friends birthday this month. Yours look great and I am really intrigued by the marshmallow!

  3. Courtney says:

    looks yummy. i love red velvet one of my favs

  4. PheMom says:

    So pretty! that is the same one of Paula’s recipes I based mine off of too – mine were so much darker because I didn’t have enough food color and the cocoa I use is really really dark.

    Yours look absolutely beautiful! Yum!!

  5. Catherine Wilkinson says:

    Boy, I wish I would have heard of this recipe 2 years ago! I made a red velvet cake for a friend’s wedding and I had a heck of time with the red bleeding thru the icing! Your icing would have prevented that!

  6. April says:

    This sounds great! and I love the bright red color!

  7. Happy cook says:

    Beautiful and i am sure they were delicious, seeing that someone had bit a huge chuck from it 🙂

  8. mimi says:

    gorgeous red velvet! love the dainty sugar crystals on top!

  9. glamah16 says:

    Red Velvets cupcakes are so fun!

  10. Patricia Scarpin says:

    Deb, I have never tried red velvet cakes. That is a intense red color, it looks so good!

  11. noble pig says:

    I have been in love with red velvet cake ever since I was a little girl. There is something so elegant about it and I think so many people feel it is just for the holidays. But it’s soooo not. Thanks for reminding me!

  12. Meeta says:

    I’ve never actually made this myself. That color is so eye-catching!

  13. Mary says:

    I’ve been so intrigued by red velvet cake/cupcakes. Thank you for posting yet another recipe for me to attempt!

  14. Katie B. says:

    Whoa! Could you imagine the crazy red they would have been if you’d added all of the coloring?? They look delish as-is!!

  15. Samantha Love says:

    Oh my gosh, these look DELICIOUS! I’m actually most excited to try the frosting 🙂

  16. Arfi Binsted says:

    wow! 30 red cupcakes! well done, you!

  17. kellypea says:

    They turned out perfectly! This is the exact recipe I made last year right before I was “official” as a DBer. I thought the marshmallow was interesting, too, but did add the coconut and pecans. It was pretty tasty. As far as the coloring goes, I put in the entire amount expecting someone tasting the cake to have a red tongue, but nope. Interesting!

  18. Rachelle says:

    These sound yummy, so does the marshmallow frosting! Will have to make these sometime. Great photos!

  19. Jenny says:

    Gorgeous! These cupcakes look amazing and I’d love a bite right now!! I hope to make these soon!

  20. Elle says:

    Those look so pretty! You’re right,the one bottle of food coloring definitely gave you lots of goof color. And the frosting sounds delicious, too!

  21. Peabody says:

    The marshmallows in the frosting is totally interesting I will have to give it a try since my husbands favorite is indeed red velvet cake.

  22. RecipeGirl says:

    Well, I’m one of “those” who made a red-velvet cupcake for Valentine’s Day, but I do agree that they should be served all year long. I was quite happy with my recipe. Your frosting sounds interesting with the added marshmallow. I’m sure that added to your liking it so much! I love your idea of making cupcakes for people’s birthdays. The cupcake is underrated.

  23. Kevin says:

    Those look so red and good. I have never tried a re velvet cake. I really like the sound of that cream cheese and marshmallow frosting.

  24. Gretchen Noelle says:

    Lovely cupcakes! My birthday is coming soon…

  25. Zen Chef says:

    Oh look at these things of beauty. I once tried the red velvet cake that’s on Smitten kitchen and i had so much fun with it. I might give those a go one of these days.

  26. Marc @ norecipes says:

    That frosting sounds delicious. Cream cheese is my favorite and I love melted marshmallows.

  27. Emiline says:

    Oh, I love red velvet cupcakes. You can make these any day.
    They look wonderful!

  28. Gigi says:

    I am so intrigued by the addition of the marshmallow. The cupcakes look awesome and delicious. Great job!

  29. Kelly-Jane says:

    That’s so wierd I’ve been thinking of doing a red velvet cake for a few weeks now! Beautiful as cupcakes:)

  30. Kristen says:

    Oh I love Red Velvet cupcakes! yours look divine!

  31. Cookie baker Lynn says:

    What a great looking Red Velvet cupcake. Good to know that only one bottle of food coloring will give such a deep, rich red. The frosting with melted marshmallows sounds really interesting, too. I’ll have to give this one a try.

  32. Pearlsofeast says:

    I have never seen such a beautiful cupcakes.The look absolutely stunning and gorgeous.

  33. Rosie says:

    WOW your Red Velvet cupcakes are sheer divineness!! What beautiful pics 🙂

    Rosie x

  34. Sophie says:

    Red velvet is my favorite cake ever! When my husband and I were dating, on our first Valentine’s Day together, he baked me a red velvet cake completely from scratch, he even made the frosting himself (I was impressed, that was pretty good for a pre-law student!) :)! It was really sweet…but it seems now that we’re married, I’m the cooker AND baker :P! Hehe!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    Yummy food you’ve got here 🙂

    Flour Arrangements

  35. chou says:

    I’ll have to try that frosting recipe. Very intriguing.

  36. Judy says:

    I’ve been making red velvet cake for more than 30 years (family favorite) and early on I figured out that you only need to add about 2 tablespoons red food coloring. Any additional didn’t affect the color at all, so I realized it was a waste of coloring. I make sure to balance the liquid amount with a bit of water or other liquid. You might want to experiment with amount to see what works for you.

  37. Grace says:

    i’m usually pretty serious about my cream cheese + butter + powdered sugar + vanilla icing, but this actually sounds like it could lure me away from that. way to mix it up!

  38. Elle says:

    Great idea to make this as cupcakes. They are so pretty that way. The icing does sound unusual, but yum!

  39. Cakespy says:

    Yes, yes, yes, yes (x10). Welcome to the world of red velvet–it’s a seductive world indeed!

  40. Suzana says:

    I’m smitten with those red velvet cupcakes! What a wonderful colour!

  41. linda says:

    They look so pretty! I’m intrigued by the frosting.
    Never had red velvet (cup)cake. Will have to make them myself because you don’t have them over here.

  42. Katie says:

    Wow they certainly are red! They look lovely and fluffy

  43. Anonymous says:

    NO, NO, NO!!!! Red Velvet originated at a hotel in Baltimore, MD. One does NOT put cream cheese frosting on red velvet.

    Get the original recipe for the cake and the frosting and see what you’re missing.

  44. Laura says:

    I made these and they are a very nice color but mine have fallen and I can’t figure out why. Does anyone have any ideas? I make cupcakes regularly and I usually have great success….hmm.

    • Deborah says:

      The one thing that I can think of that makes cupcakes fall for me sometimes is if I fill the cups too full. The only other thing I can think of is that they will sometimes fall if they are overmixed. I hope that helps!

  45. lisa says:

    Hi, We just made these too and they fell 🙁 Did not mix them any longer than normal for cupcakes and filled the same level as others….Was really hoping these would turn out as great as they looked – wish I knew what I did wrong..

    • Deborah says:

      Hi Lisa, I wish I knew why they fell for you. They never really dome for me, but I haven’t had the problem of having them fall. I may need to try this recipe again to troubleshoot.

  46. Julia says:

    Can I use gel food coloring or Does the recipe just needs to have liquid ??

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