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Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

These Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes are perfectly moist and fluffy with a subtle note of chocolate flavor. They are easy to make and downright delicious!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Vegan
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12 people
Calories 176kcal


Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (sub lemon juice)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil or any neutral flavored oil
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (*optional)
  • 2 teaspoons red food coloring gel , more if desired (*see note)

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder , unsweetened
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt


  • Preheat your oven to 350 °F (177 °C). Fill a 12-Slot Cupcake Pan with your favorite Cupcake Liners.
  • In a medium Mixing Bowl, add the soy milk and apple cider vinegar. Combine and let it sit for 10 minutes to create a vegan buttermilk. It will thicken and curdle slightly. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl with a Mesh Strainer on top (or use a Flour Sifter), sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Now whisk to combine well. Set aside.
  • In the medium bowl with the buttermilk, add the oil, applesauce, granulated sugar, red coloring, and vanilla. Whisk to combine well.
  • Now slowly pour the wet ingredients into the larger bowl of dry ingredients. Whisk together until just combined. Small lumps are fine. (*Don't over mix or it can create a dense and chewy cupcake)
  • Divide batter evenly into each slot about ⅔ the way full (an ice cream scoop works great for this). Bake them in the oven for 20-24 minutes. To check for doneness, lightly press the surface - It should spring back (You can also use a toothpick and push it through the center - it should come out clean).
  • Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing. Then let them cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before frosting.


FOOD COLORING: I used gel coloring because it's more vibrant and only requires a few teaspoons to achieve this. If you use liquid, you will need about 2 tablespoons.
  • Note: not all coloring is vegan. This one by Americolor is vegan-friendly. I called the company myself to confirm. 
  • You can omit the coloring and the cupcakes will taste the same, they just won't be red. You can decorate them with crushed dried strawberries/raspberries and use red cupcake liners to make them festive. 
FROSTING: If you won't be serving the cupcakes right away. Decorate the cupcakes and place them in the fridge for a few hours. Take them out 30 minutes before serving. This will prevent the frosting from melting.
  • You can also frost them with Vegan Buttercream Frosting.
  • If you want to save time, you can use store-bought Vegan Frosting. 
MEASURING: For accurate results, don't scoop the flour with a measuring cup directly from the flour container. Instead, scoop the flour out of your container with a spoon and then into a measuring cup. Don't pack or tap the cup. After filling, lightly sweep a butter knife across the top to remove the excess flour. * Example photo below recipe card.
  • Make sure your baking soda is not expired. Fresh baking agents are important for a successful baking experience.
* Nutritional info doesn't include frosting. That information is in the frosting recipe card. 


Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Sodium: 237mg | Potassium: 23mg | Sugar: 17g | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.8mg