Light and fluffy vegan red velvet cupcakes topped with a red velvet frosting. Perfectly moist, vibrantly red and crazy delicious!
Have you ever seen such gorgeousness as these vegan red velvet cupcakes? Or is that just me blowing my own trumpet since I made them and all.
Well I was mighty impressed with how these turned out.
They are light, fluffy, moist and simply perfect!
And if you love simply perfect cupcakes (who doesn’t?) then you’ll also love our vegan strawberry cupcakes, our vegan funfetti cupcakes and our vegan carrot cake cupcakes. Our vegan blue velvet cupcakes are just like these, but blue!
Ingredients You’ll Need:
- White vinegar – distilled white vinegar reacts with the baking soda in these cupcakes causing them to rise. It also helps to strengthen their color.
- Canola oil – can be replaced with any vegetable oil.
- Vegan buttermilk – we make a homemade vegan buttermilk by mixing soy milk with lemon juice (full instructions in the recipe card). You can also use almond milk to make a vegan buttermilk but I prefer soy milk as it makes a thicker, richer buttermilk. Other non-dairy milks may not curdle, but you can still use them in this recipe.
- Red gel food color – we initially made these cupcakes with liquid red food coloring but then moved to a red gel food coloring (we used Americolor brand) and it works so well and holds up beautifully in baking. So I highly recommend you use a gel color as well. It also means you can use much less as it’s more concentrated than a liquid food color.
Frosting Ingredient Notes
- Soy milk – can be replaced with any other non-dairy milk.
- Red gel food coloring – we used Americolor brand. You only need to use a very small amount to get a strong color for the frosting.
How To Make Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes
You will find full instructions and measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post. This is a summary of the process to go along with the process photos.
- Sift all purpose flour into your mixing bowl and add white granulated sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Mix together.
- Prepare your vegan buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to a measuring jug and then adding soy milk up to the 1 cup (240ml) line. Let it sit for a minute to curdle into buttermilk.
- Add the vegan buttermilk, vanilla extract, oil, vinegar and red gel food coloring and mix into a batter. Don’t overmix.
- Divide the batter evenly between 12 cupcake liners.
- Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.
- Let the cupcakes cool in the tray for a few minutes and then transfer them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- Prepare your frosting by adding vegan butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, soy milk and red gel food coloring to the bowl of your stand mixer. Start at slow speed, gradually increasing speed until the frosting is thick and smooth.
- When the cupcakes have cooled completely pipe on the frosting and serve.
Recipe Success Tips
Use the spoon and level method to measure the flour. The correct way to measure flour is to spoon it into your measuring cup and then level off the top with a knife. Don’t scoop the flour or pack it into the cup. If you have a food scale then it’s best to weigh the flour on your food scale for perfect accuracy.
Make them gluten-free. To make these cupcakes gluten-free simply swap the all purpose flour for a gluten free all purpose flour blend. We like the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour.
Frosting. The red velvet frosting on these cupcakes complements them perfectly. It isn’t just frosting dyed red, it has that signature red velvet flavor with the hints of vanilla and chocolate.
Storing and Freezing
Keep them covered at room temperature where they will stay perfect for 2-3 days, or covered in the fridge where they will last for up to a week, but they’re most delicious when fresh.
They are also freezer friendly for up to 3 months. You can freeze them either frosted or unfrosted. Thaw overnight in the fridge and bring to room temperature before serving.
More Vegan Cupcakes
- Classic Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
- Vegan Lemon Cupcakes
- Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes
- Vegan Banana Cupcakes
- Vegan Blue Velvet Cupcakes
- Vegan Coffee Cupcakes
Did you make this recipe? Be sure to leave a comment and rating below!
Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes
For the Red Velvet Cupcakes:
- 2 cups All-Purpose Flour (250g)
- 1 cup White Granulated Sugar (200g)
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder Unsweetened
- 1 cup Vegan Buttermilk (240ml) 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice + Soy Milk up to the 1 cup (240ml) line
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- ½ cup Canola Oil (120ml) or Vegetable Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Distilled White Vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Red Gel Food Color
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a cupcake tray with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder and mix together.
- Prepare the vegan buttermilk by adding 1 Tbsp lemon juice into a measuring jug and then adding soy milk up to the 1 cup (240ml) line and allowing to sit for a minute to curdle into buttermilk.
- Add the vegan buttermilk, vanilla extract, oil, vinegar and red gel food color to the mixing bowl and whisk briefly with a hand whisk to combine into a batter. Don’t over-mix.
- Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners.
- Place into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.
- Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- Add vegan butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, red gel food coloring and 2 Tbsp soy milk to the bowl of your stand mixer. Starting at slow speed, gradually increase speed until the frosting is thick and smooth. If needed, add the extra soy milk.
- Pipe the frosting on top of your completely cooled cupcakes and serve.
- Measure the flour correctly. Either use the spoon and level method – spoon the flour into your measuring cup and then level off with a knife – don’t scoop it and don’t pack it into the cup, or weigh it on a food scale.
- Vegan buttermilk. The homemade vegan buttermilk can also be made with almond milk. Other plant milks can also work for this, even if they don’t curdle as well as soy milk or almond milk.
- Red gel food coloring. We initially used liquid red food coloring for this recipe but have changed our recommendations to use a red gel food color. We used Americolor red gel which works wonderfully in this recipe.
- Frosting color. If you want your frosting to be super red (as per our photos) then you’ll need ½ to 1 teaspoon red gel food coloring. For a more subtle dusky color (really gorgeous) use ¼ teaspoon.
- Gluten-Free: If you want to make these cupcakes gluten-free simply swap the all purpose flour for a gluten free all purpose baking blend.
- Storing: Keep them covered at room temperature where they will stay perfect for 2-3 days, or covered in the fridge where they will last for up to a week, but they’re most delicious when fresh.
- Freezing: They are also freezer friendly for up to 3 months. You can freeze them either frosted or unfrosted. Thaw overnight in the fridge and bring to room temperature before serving.
- This recipe was first published in September 2016. It has been updated with new photos and extra tips.