The perfect Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes are here just in time for Valentine's Day. Sweet and slightly chocolatey cupcakes topped with a homemade vegan cream cheese frosting are the perfect dairy-free & eggless red velvet dessert.
What is a traditional red velvet cake?
Fun fact, but the original red velvet cakes developed years ago were actually more dark red/maroon in color and the color was all due to food science!
Essentially, traditional red velvet cake was made with buttermilk, which is fermented milk that produces lactic acid. It was then mixed with vinegar and cocoa powder. The mixing of buttermilk and vinegar causes a chemical reaction that brings out the anthocyanin in cocoa powder to produce a red color!
Since these cupcakes are vegan, we are using red food coloring, but beet powder is another option to give these vegan red velvet cakes that traditional color.
How to make vegan red velvet cupcakes:
This eggless & dairy-free red velvet cupcake recipe is actually super easy, contains only 11 ingredients, and it can be made in ONE BOWL!
Make the vegan buttermilk
This is done by mixing plant-based milk and apple cider vinegar together and let sit for 5-10 minutes until the milk starts to curdle. If you don't have apple cider vinegar, it can also be replaced 1:1 for lemon juice in this recipe!
Mix ingredients into red velvet cake batter
Next, add the wet ingredients including the oil, sugar, and vanilla extract, and whisk to combine.
Then, use a flour sifter to add in the dry ingredients including the pastry flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda.
I HIGHLY recommend sifting any recipe that calls for cocoa powder or else you may end up with chunks of chocolate in your cupcakes. Believe me, sifting it is worth it!
Add optional red food coloring
I add between 12-16 drops of red food coloring to make my cupcakes bright red in color. Remember, the cupcakes will dull down quite a bit during baking so make the batter redder than you would actually want!
Bake the cupcakes
Spoon the eggless red velvet cupcake batter into each cupcake tin until it is about ¾ cup full. Do not fill the muffin tins all the way or your cupcakes will explode over the tops of the liner and they will be harder to frost.
Then, bake the red velvet cupcakes for 22-24 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean but the cupcakes are still moist in the center!
Vegan cream cheese frosting
While the baked red velvet cupcakes are cooling, it's time to make the best 4-ingredient vegan cream cheese frosting!
For this recipe, I used Kite Hill vegan cream cheese, but any vegan cream cheese brand will work.
The best way to whip vegan frosting:
I like to start by whipping the butter solo. I do this to make sure to get rid of ALL the chunks in the butter. Once that's done, I add in the vegan cream cheese & vanilla and whip until smooth. Then, I'll turn down the speed of my mixer and gradually add in the powdered sugar ⅓ cup at a time.
I will say, this frosting gets pretty soft after being whipped, so I like to add it to my piping bag and then place my piping bag full of frosting in the fridge to firm up. This helps the frosting firm up so you can pipe those perfect swirls onto your vegan red velvet cakes!
FAQ & Tips:
Cream cheese frosting can last up to 1 week stored in the fridge in a closed container. Simply scoop it out and add it to a piping bag when you are ready to frost your cupcakes or cake!
Cupcakes are best stored at room temperature for 1-2 days (unfrosted and wrapped in plastic wrap or in a closed container) OR if frosted, in the freezer. As a food blogger, my freezer is 90% frosted cupcakes or cakes, so I can truly recommend this method.
I like to store my cupcakes in a tall closed container (so I don't smush the frosting) in the freezer for up to 1 month. When I'm craving a cupcake, I just remove them from the freezer about 1 hour prior to serving it to defrost.
Traditional red velvet cupcakes are made red from the chemical reaction between buttermilk (which is acidic) and cocoa powder.
However, since we are making these cupcakes vegan, I used natural food coloring from Supernatural to color the cupcakes. Make sure to double-check the red food coloring you use, as not every brand is vegan.
Also, I do want to note the red food coloring is just for appearance, so if you don't want to use any food coloring, it won't affect the taste of these cupcakes!
These Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes have the perfect hint of cocoa, a moist and delicious crumb, and are paired with vegan cream cheese frosting for the perfect treat. Enjoy!
More vegan cupcake & cake recipes you will love:
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Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes
Red Velvet Cupcakes:
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- ½ cup vegan butter
- ½ cup vegan cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½- 1 ⅔ cup organic powdered sugar
Firt, make the red velvet cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350F and fill a muffin tin with 6 cupcake liners. Start by adding the plant-based milk and apple cider vinegar to a large mixing bowl and let sit for 5-10 minutes until the milk begins to separate and curdle. Then, add in the rest of the wet ingredients including the sugar, oil, and vanilla. Gently whisk everything together.
- Next, use a flour sifter to add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl including the pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt. Gently whisk until a smooth cupcake batter forms.
- Next, add in the red food coloring until the cupcake batter is bright red in color. It will dull down in color while baking, so make the batter more red than you want the cupcakes to be.
- Add the cupcake batter to the cupcake liners until each is about ¾ full. Then, add to the oven and bake for 22-24 minutes until the cupcakes are fluffy and cooked through.
- Remove the cupcakes and let cool before frosting.
Making cream cheese frosting:
- While the red velvet cupcakes are cooling, make the vegan cream cheese frosting. First, add the cold vegan butter to a mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to whip until creamed and no chunks remain. Then, add in the cream cheese and vanilla and whip together until smooth. As a final step, turn down the speed and gradually whip in the powdered sugar ⅓ cup at a time.
- The cream cheese frosting will be very soft at this point. Add the frosting to a piping bag and then place in the fridge for 5-10 minutes until firm. Then, remove and frost the cooled red velvet cupcakes. Top with sprinkles and serve!
- Cupcakes are best stored at room temperature for 1-2 days (unfrosted and wrapped in plastic wrap or in a closed container) OR if frosted, in the freezer.
- Store frosted cupcakes in a tall closed container in the freezer for up to 1 month. Remove cupcakes from the freezer about 1 hour prior to serving to defrost.
- If you are storing unfrosted cupcakes in the freezer, follow the same steps or wrap them in plastic wrap for the best storage.
- I recommend these cupcake liners.