These vegan red velvet cupcakes are beautifully soft and fluffy with that classic deep burgundy colour and just a touch of chocolate flavour. Topped with the most amazing vegan cream cheese frosting, these are the ultimate vegan cupcake to make for a special occasion like a birthday or valentine’s day, but are equally just as easy and delicious to make any day of the week!
Red velvet is one of those cakes that always just seems a touch more decadent than your average cake. There’s just something about that deep, luscious red colour offset with a creamy white frosting that screams luxury.
Dreaming of this recipe as a big cake? You’re in luck – try my vegan red velvet cake recipe here.
In reality, however, these vegan red velvet cupcakes are insanely easy to make – the cupcakes are ready in around half hour, and then your cream cheese buttercream takes just minutes to whip up and frost onto the cakes once they’re cooled.
So, you can impress your friends and family with minimum effort (but I won’t tell if you don’t!).
Making these vegan red velvet cupcakes
To make these vegan cupcakes, start by preheating your oven and lining a cupcake tray with cupcake cases.
Next, you’ll want to add apple cider vinegar to a jug of plant-based milk to make a vegan buttermilk alternative. Set this jug to one side and combine your dry ingredients (plain flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, salt, and sugar) in a large mixing bowl.
Next, add the red food colouring, oil, and vanilla essence to your vegan buttermilk and whisk it all together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold the ingredients together to gently combine. The batter should be thick, glossy, and a deep red colour.
Spoon the batter evenly into your cupcake cases (I use an ice cream scoop to make this process so much easier!), and then bake for around 15 – 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the red velvet cupcake.
Allow your cupcakes to cool in the tins for at least 10 minutes before turning them out on a wire rack to allow to cool completely to room temperature before you top them with your vegan cream cheese frosting (or else the frosting will melt!).
Making your cream cheese frosting
This deliciously sweet and creamy vegan cream cheese frosting has four simple ingredients:
- Vegan cream cheese: I use the Violife brand which you can get from most supermarkets in the UK.
- Vegan margarine: I actually find vegan margarine, such as Stork, blends better for this recipe than vegan butter, but you could try using the Flora Plant Block if you prefer.
- Icing sugar: I would highly recommend sifting your icing sugar before adding it to your cream cheese mix, even if it does send powder all over your kitchen!
- Vanilla essence: to add a sweet flavour to your cupcake frosting.
To make the vegan cream cheese frosting, blend the cream cheese, vanilla extract and margarine together with an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer until creamy. Next, add the icing sugar a couple of spoonfuls at a time, continuing to beat the mixture together for 3 – 4 minutes until it’s thick, smooth, and creamy.
Take care not to over-mix your vegan cream cheese frosting or it might split!
Spoon the frosting into an icing bag and frost your cooled vegan red velvet cupcakes.
For extra decoration, you could crumble up one cupcake and use the crumbs to sprinkle over the top of the frosting – this isn’t essential, but it does look pretty!
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best way to store these vegan cupcakes?
Store the cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Yes, you can freeze the cupcakes for up to 3 months. Let them thaw at room temperature before frosting and serving.
Yes, you can use beet juice to make the cupcakes red. Start with 1-2 tablespoons and adjust as needed to achieve the desired colour. However, I do find food colouring works best to give the cupcakes that classic deep red colour.
To make the vegan cream cheese frosting, beat vegan cream cheese and vegan butter together until creamy, then mix in powdered sugar and vanilla extract. The full recipe and instructions can be found in the recipe card below.
Yes, you can use any type of non-dairy milk you prefer, such as soy milk, almond milk, or oat milk.
Red velvet cake typically has vinegar in it because it reacts with the cocoa powder and buttermilk in the recipe, helping to enhance the red color of the cake and giving it a tangy flavor. The acidity from the vinegar also helps to activate the baking soda in the recipe, which helps the cake rise and become light and fluffy.
In traditional red velvet cake recipes, vinegar is used in conjunction with baking soda as a leavening agent. It’s considered an essential ingredient in red velvet cake to give it that unique texture and flavor.
This recipe is ideal for 8 – 10 cupcakes.
Yes, this recipe is perfect for making an 8-inch red velvet cake instead. You should have enough frosting without needing to adjust the quantities, too.
Other cupcake recipes you’ll love:
- 200g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 0.5 tsp baking soda
- 20g cocoa powder
- Pinch of salt
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp red food colouring
- 90ml neutral oil
- 250ml plant-based milk
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- 200g vegan cream cheese
- 70g vegan butter or margarine
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 400 - 500g icing sugar, sifted
- Preheat your oven to 180° C | 350° F and line a muffin or cupcake tray with cupcake cases.
- In a jug or small bowl, add the plant-based milk and 1 tbsp of white vinegar to create a vegan buttermilk. Set to one side for the moment.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the oil, vanilla extract, and red food colouring to the vegan buttermilk, and whisk to combine.
- Slowly start to combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, folding everything all together. The batter should be thick, glossy, and a deep red/burgundy colour.
- Divide the batter equally across your cupcake cases, and then bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
- Allow the cupcakes to fully cool before frosting.
To make your vegan cream cheese frosting
1. Beat the vegan cream cheese, vanilla extract, and butter together with an electric hand mixer or stand mixer until smooth and creamy.
2. Slowly beat in the icing sugar a few spoonfuls at a time until the frosting is thick, smooth, and creamy. Take care not to overmix your frosting or it may split.
3. Spoon the frosting into a piping bag, and pipe the icing into your cupcakes. Optionally, you could create some cake crumbs from one cupcake to sprinkle over the frosting for an aesthetic finish.
These cupcakes should be stored in the fridge due to the cream cheese in the frosting. They should keep for up to 4 - 5 days in an airtight container. Alternatively, you could freeze the cakes prior to frosting them for up to 3 months, and defrost them fully before icing when needed.