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 dessert to bake for your loved ones.
What Makes a Traditional Red Velvet Cupcake
Okay so before I dive into the recipe, my foodie nerd brain just has to dive into some cool facts about the history behind a red velvet cupcake!
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! Cool right?!
What makes vegan red velvet cupcakes RED?
Since these red velvet cupcakes are made without buttermilk, unfortunately, this chemical reaction doesn’t naturally occur in this cupcake. In fact, most commerical red velvet desserts use food coloring to create that bright red we’ve grown used to!
For this recipe, I used a 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!
With the added cocoa powder and cream cheese frosting, these vegan red velvet cupcakes taste just like the traditional red velvet cake you grew up eating!
How to Make Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes
Now for the fun part, making these delicious moist red velvet cupcakes from scratch!
First, gather the vegan cupcake ingredients:
This vegan cupcake recipe is actually super easy, contains only 11 ingredients, are made without butter oy soy, and can be made in ONE BOWL! Here is a breakdown of those ingredients (actual amounts in recipe card):
- Oat Milk (or other plant-based milk)
- Apple Cider vinegar
- Organic sugar
- Vanilla extra/ vanilla bean paste
- Oil (I used olive oil, but coconut, vegetable, or avocado oil all work)
- Pastry flour (this creates the best cupcake crumb, I always use Bob’s Red Mill)
- Cocoa powder
- Baking powder, baking soda, & salt
- Red food coloring
I get asked this question all the time and you might see there is absolutely NO EGG REPLACEMENT needed! Seriously, it is not needed to make deliciously fluffy and moist vegan cupcakes. Just check out my Vegan Lemon Cupcakes and Vegan Earl Grey Cupcakes for proof!
Plus here are the supplies you need for this recipe:
- Mixing Bowl
- Flour sifter
- Whisk or fork to mix the batter
- Cupcake Baking sheet
- Cupcake Liners (this is my favorite brand for non-toxic compostable cupcake liners)
Then, mix the vegan cupcake batter in one bowl
First, 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!
After that add in 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!
As the last step, add in the red food coloring.
I add between 12-16 drops 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!
Add the red velvet cupcakes to cupcake tray & bake!
Spoon the cupcake batter into each cupcake tin until it is about 3/4 cup full. Do not fill the muffins 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 cupcakes for 22-24 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean but the cupcakes are still moist in the center!
How to make vegan cream cheese frosting
While the baked red velvet cupcakes are cooling, it’s time to make some epic & easy cream cheese frosting!
To do this you need 4 ingredients:
- Vegan cream cheese (I used Kite Hill)
- Vegan butter (I used Miyokos)
- Organic powdered sugar
- Vanilla extract/ vanilla bean paste
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 1/3 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 cupcakes.
Substitutes for powdered sugar:
If you are looking to make the vegan cream cheese frosting a little healthier, the powdered sugar can be replaced for 1/4 cup maple syrup. Expect it to be a less firm frosting if you use maple syrup! You can also use powdered coconut sugar as a 1:1 substitute in this recipe or exclude sugar altogether if you’re okay with the taste!
How long does vegan cream frosting last?
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!
How to store vegan cupcakes
A question I get asked all the time is “Should cupcakes be refrigerated?”. I am here to tell you that, while they can be, I actually don’t recommend it. Refrigerators tend to dry out the cake and, while it might taste fine after one day in the fridge, after that it gets kind of funky and dry.
Believe it or not, 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 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.
The best red velvet 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.
I always know I’ve created a winning combo when my boyfriend doesn’t let me take my baking to work. Let’s just say after making these we may have both had cupcakes for dinner one Sunday. Whoops! Enjoy these vegan cupcakes.
Looking for more vegan cupcake & cake recipes? Check out these SGTO favorites!Print
Perfectly moist vegan red velvet cupcakes topped with a homemade vegan cream cheese frosting! Doesn’t get better than this for a fun Valentine’s Day treat.
Red Velvet Cupcakes:
- 1/2 cup oat milk
- 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1.5 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract/ vanilla bean paste
- 3/4 cup pastry flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- red food coloring (amount varies based on brand)
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1/2 cup vegan butter
- 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2–1 2/3 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 3/4 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 1/3 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 cupakes 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.
Keywords: red velvet cupcakes, vegan, dairy-free, eggless, vegan cream cheese frosting, without butter, soy free, without buttermilk, moist, from scratch