Grandma Lillian’s Red Velvet Cupcakes

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Red Velvet Cupcakes
Red Velvet Cupcakes

Yummy! Red Velvet Cupcakes are an easy moist cupcake recipe, with the not so secret but important ingredient BUTTERMILK!

These are so delicious and can be frosted with Butter Cream or Cream Cheese Frostings. Both are really really good, but I prefer the Cream Cheese Frosting myself, pretty much on anything! I wonder how it works with broccoli?

The history of the Red Velvet Cake goes back to 1943 and Irma Rombauer’s classic, The Joy of Cooking. This cookbook is still in print and was updated in 2020 by her great grandchildren. It boasts 600 new recipes and 4,000 updated recipes. This is a classic for a reason!

Cupcakes were my grandmother’s go to for Picnics and Barbecues. Really I don’t remember eating cupcakes in the winter! I think that’s probably because they are easily transported and easy to eat!

My grandma said that she started making Red Velvet Cupcakes during World War II and she used beet juice at the time. The beet juice added the red color, made it super moist, and added some sweetness when sugar was being rationed. This is what she told me, it was considerably before my time and she had changed up her recipe to exclude beet juice by the time I came around!

Red Velvet Cupcakes ready for the oven
Red Velvet Cupcakes ready for the oven

Here are her secrets for making perfect Red Velvet Cupcakes:
1. Take all of the ingredients out of the refrigerator and put them on the counter 30-45 minutes before you start making the batter. This makes the cake fluffier with a better crumb.
2. Really cream the butter and sugar together until they are fluffy! A stand or hand mixer is perfect for this. You really will be glad you did!
3. Do not overfill the cupcake pans. Enough said.

Here’s the recipe and I hope you enjoy it!

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

Grandma Lillian’s Red Velvet Cupcakes

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 25
  • Yield: 1218 cupcakes 1x


Red Velvet Cupcakes are an easy, delicious, moist cupcake recipe using buttermilk and cocoa powder.



2 sticks – 1 Cup Butter – softened
1 3/4 Cups Sugar
2 Eggs
2 Tablespoons Red Food Coloring 
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 teaspoon Vinegar 
2 2/3 Cups Flour
1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 1/3 Cups Buttermilk


Preheat the oven to 350.

Using a 12 cup cupcake pan or 2 6 cup cupcake pans.  Insert the cupcake papers.

Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. 

Add the eggs and mix well. 

Then add the Red Food Coloring,  Vanilla and Vinegar.  Mix until thoroughly combined.  Don’t forget to scrape the sides of the bowl.

In a large bowl combine all of the dry ingredients and mix well.

To the butter mixture, alternate adding the dry ingredients and Buttermilk.  Use at least 2 different cycles but 3 is better.  Mix each addition until just barely combined, don’t overmix.

Using a cookie scoop fill the prepared paper cups about half to three quarters full.  You should get 12-18 cupcakes depending on how full you fill them.  Do not overfill!

Bake for 15-18 minutes until they spring back when touched or use a toothpick and it comes out clean.

Let cool completely before frosting.


1.  Let all ingredients come to room temperature – set them out 1/2 hour before making the batter.

2.  Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy

3. Do not over fill the cupcake papers

4. Do not overbake

5.  Enjoy!

Keywords: Easy, cupcake recipe, moist, cocoa powder, buttermilk,

Categories: Posts


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