Vegan red velvet cupcakes - moist, fluffy, easy to make chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with tangy vegan cream cheese frosting. Perfect for Halloween (or just any day).
Red velvet cake is good all year round, but it's deep, blood red colour is particularly well suited to Halloween, which is why I chose now to post my vegan red velvet cupcakes recipe.
These vegan red velvet cupcakes are really quick and easy to make; and their delicious, not quite chocolate, not quite vanilla flavour is very moreish; particularly when they are topped with tangy vegan cream cheese frosting!
I use red gel food colouring to give the cupcakes their dramatic red colour. Please don't use liquid colouring as it will add too much liquid to the batter and many red liquid colourings are made with cochineal which means that they aren't vegan anyway.
I used Progel food colouring in Ruby which is vegan, bake stable and you don't need to use much to get a great colour.
To make the vegan cream cheese frosting I used half dairy free cream cheese and half vegetable shortening. The shortening helps to stabilise the mixture and prevent it from splitting.
I wouldn't recommend substituting margarine/vegan spread for the shortening as it has too high a water content and I think that you would have to add loads of extra icing sugar to compensate.
I added a little bit of lemon juice to the frosting as I find that vegan cream cheese is less tangy than it's dairy counterpart and it needs the extra lemon to give the buttercream the right level of tang.
The cupcakes can be baked the day before you want to serve them but I find that the buttercream is best piped onto the cakes as soon as it is made as it can deteriorate a little if it is left in the bowl.
It is absolutely fine once piped onto the cakes however and they will keep happily in an airtight container for a couple of days.
The recipe makes 11 large cupcakes (using muffin liners) or 12 regular sized ones. I like to crumble one of the cakes up and sprinkle some of the crumbs over the frosting on the other cakes for an easy, but effective way of decorating them.
I also made some Halloweeny chocolate cameos to top the cupcakes with. The moulds are easy to find on eBay and Amazon and you just need to fill them with tempered melted chocolate and let them set before turning them out.
I lightly brushed over the detailing on the chocolate with a little edible gold paint to really bring out the designs and make them look really eye-catching. For another Halloween cupcake idea try my vegan chocolate tombstone cupcakes!
How To Make Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes:
(For ingredients and full instructions see the recipe card below)
*For the best results make sure that you follow the recipe closely. As always, I highly recommend using the gram measurements (with a digital scale), rather than the cup conversions. Cup measurements are simply not accurate enough for baking and I cannot guarantee the best results if you use them.*
Start by whisking together non-dairy milk and cider vinegar so that the milk curdles. Soy milk is best but other varieties will work too. Whisk in caster sugar, sunflower oil and vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl sift together self-raising flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
Tip the dry ingredients into the wet and whisk gently until just combined.
Gradually stir in red gel food colouring until the batter is a rich red colour. I used about half a teaspoon.
Divide the batter between your cupcake liners and bake for about 20 minutes until a skewer inserted into one of them comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
To make the vegan cream cheese frosting, whisk together dairy free cream cheese (no 'light varieties please) and vegetable shortening until smooth.
Add sifted icing sugar, fresh lemon juice and vanilla extract and whisk until well combined.
If it is too stiff then add a drop of dairy free milk, and if it is too soft whisk in some more sifted icing sugar.
Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large open star nozzle and pipe swirls on top of the cupcakes.
If you like, reserve one of the cupcakes (un-iced) and crumble it up. Scatter some of the crumbs over the rest of the cupcakes.
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Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting
Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes:
- 200 ml (½ + ⅓ cup) unsweetened soy milk (or other non dairy milk)
- 1 ½ Tbsp cider vinegar
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) sunflower oil
- 200 g (1 cup) caster sugar
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 200 g (1 + ⅔ cup) self-raising flour
- 20 g (2 Tbsp) cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½-1 tsp red gel food colouring
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 100 g (3.5 oz) vegetable shortening
- 100 g (3.5 oz) vegan cream cheese (I used Asda's own brand) No 'light' varieties please
- 400 g (4 cups) icing (powdered) sugar sifted
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and line a 12 cup muffin tray with liners.
- Whisk together the milk and vinegar so that the milk curdles then whisk in the oil, caster sugar and vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the self-raising flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
- Tip the dry ingredients into the wet and whisk gently until just combined.
- Gradually stir in red gel food colouring until the batter is a rich red colour. I used about half a teaspoon.
- Divide the batter between the liners, filling them no more than ⅔rds full. I got 11 cupcakes using large muffin liners, if you are using regular cupcake liners then there is enough batter for 12 cupcakes.
- Bake the cupcakes for about 20 minutes, until a skewer inserted into one of them comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- To make the vegan cream cheese frosting, whisk together the dairy free cream cheese and vegetable shortening until smooth.
- Add the sifted icing sugar, fresh lemon juice and vanilla extract and whisk until well combined.
- If it is too stiff then add a drop of dairy free milk, and if it is too soft whisk in some more sifted icing sugar.
- Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large open star nozzle and pipe swirls on top of the cupcakes.
- If you like, reserve one of the cupcakes (un-iced) and crumble it up. Scatter some of the crumbs over the rest of the cupcakes.
- The cupcakes will keep for about three days in an airtight container.