These red velvet cupcakes are so fluffy and light, and are packed with a gorgeous velvety cheesecake filling. They’re the perfect Halloween treat for those that want something classy and elegant, yet spooky. You might be thinking, “why on earth do red velvet cupcakes have bicarbonate of soda, vinegar AND buttermilk in them?” but really, these are the key ingredients to a classic red velvet cake. These ingredients act as leaveners that not only help create a signature texture, but help to bring out the beautiful redness of the sponge. Red velvet is meant to combine a little cocoa powder, vanilla flavours and have a rich red texture that bleeds into the white cheesecake filling.

Jammy Red Velvet Cupcakes

How to make these red velvet cupcakes:

If you’re looking for failsafe tips on how to make the very best red velvet cupcakes, these tips will help:

  1. Sift the cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and flour. Sifting your dry ingredients removes any lumps and aerates them, making for a fluffier cupcake.
  2. Make sure the wet ingredients are well-combined. You want to ensure the wet ingredients are mixed well before adding to the dry ingredients. Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl and quickly mix together.
  3. Fill your cupcake cases halfway up. Be sure not to overfull your cupcake cases, or your cupcakes will overflow onto your baking tin. Fill the cases halfway up, then add the cheesecake filling. Your cupcakes will rise in the oven.
  4. Bake them to perfection. The tops should be springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the centre should come out clean.
  5. Leave them to cool in the tin. Leaving them to cool avoids your cupcakes falling apart if removed while warm and allows for your cheesecake to firm up a little.
Jammy Red Velvet Cupcakes

Frequently asked questions about these red velvet cupcakes:

What kind of colouring should I use for these red velvet cupcakes?

I personally like using Pro Gel Food Colouring by Rainbow Dust. These gels are highly concentrated so only the smallest amount is required to provide a deep rich colour. Sometimes adding a lower concentrated food colour in higher doses can alter the flavour of your cupcakes!

Do these red velvet cupcakes need to be refrigerated?

Yes, since they have cream cheese in them. I recommend storing them in an airtight container though to avoid the cake going dry.

Can I use this recipe to make a cake instead?

You could also make this as a 9 x 9-inch cake. Simply swirl the cheesecake through with a knife and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes.

Can I make these red velvet cupcakes without the jam?

Of course! Just omit the jam from the recipe and you’re good to go!

Can I make my own buttermilk if I can’t find it in the supermarket?

You should be able to find buttermilk in larger supermarkets, but if you can’t get your hands on it, you can make it yourself. Mix 185ml whole milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice, then set aside for 2 minutes to thicken slightly before using.

Jammy Red Velvet Cupcakes

Fun additions to these red velvet cupcakes:

There are so many ways you can make these red velvet cupcakes a little different to standard cupcakes. Here’s how:

1. Top with spiders. Whether you use plastic or edible spiders, these are a fun addition to make your red velvet cupcakes that little bit more spooky.
2. Add a cream cheese frosting. If you prefer your cupcakes with extra frosting, simply mix together 6 tablespoon of sifted icing sugar, with 200g cream cheese and spread on with a palette knife once cool.
3. Add chocolate chips. Fold in 75g of chocolate chips into your batter for a beautiful melty surprise.
4. Add some real pitted cherries. Want a more authentic flavour instead of using jam? Pit ~100g of cherries, slice them in half and add them to your cream cheese mixture. Combine by swirling with a spatula then add a little to each cupcake before baking.
5. Use cake crumbs and a frosting for decoration. Looking for something less Halloween, more Valentine? Make up some cream cheese frosting (as per tip 2 above), pipe swirls on your cupcakes and then top with cake crumbs. Simply level off any domed cupcakes and crumble up. This isn’t essential, but red velvet cake crumbs honestly make for the best sprinkles!

Head over to Instagram to see how I made these!

Jammy Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

These red velvet cupcakes are filled with a creamy cheesecake centre for an explosion of flavours and textures. Perfect for Halloween!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 18 cupcakes


For the cupcakes

  • 310 g plain flour
  • 310 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 35 ml espresso cooled
  • 200 ml buttermilk
  • 220 ml sunflower oil
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste I like Nielsen Massey
  • 1 tsp red food colouring I like Pro Gel

For the cheesecake filling

  • 230 g cream cheese I like Philadelphia
  • 100 g icing sugar sifted
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • Squeeze lemon juice

For the frosting

  • 225 g unsalted butter
  • 90 g Black Cocoa Powder sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 500 g icing sugar sifted
  • 4-6 tbsp whole milk
  • Plastic spiders for decoration


To make the cheesecake filling

  • Heat the oven to 180C / 160C fan / 350F. To make the cheesecake filling, add all the ingredients to a large bowl, and combine until smooth. Be careful not to over-mix or your cheesecake could get runny. Set aside.
  • Make the cupcake batter in a separate bowl by sifting the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa powder. Add the salt and caster sugar then mix to combine.
  • In a large jug, whisk the espresso, buttermilk, oil, eggs, vinegar, vanilla bean paste and food colouring together. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, then mix together quickly, being careful not to over-beat.
  • Distribute your cupcake cases between two x 12-hole tins. Fill each case around a third – halfway full. Your cupcakes will rise in the oven, so you don't want them to overflow.
  • Add 1 heaped tablespoon of the cheesecake mixture, dolloping it into the middle so that you still have cake batter showing at the edges. Top with any remaining red velvet batter, then bake for 20-25 minutes until soft and springy to the touch.
  • Leave the cupcakes to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Make the frosting in a stand mixer (or using electric whisks) by gently beating the unsalted butter until pale and creamy, then add the vanilla bean paste and beat again. Sift in the icing sugar and cocoa powder, and mix until the frosting starts to come together.
    N.B. It'll look crumbly and dry, but persevere and it'll slowly start to come together.
  • Add the milk a tablespoon at a time to achieve the consistency required for piping. You'll need around 4-6 tablespoons, but may not need it all!
  • Fit a piping bag with a round nozzle and fill with the frosting. Once the cupcakes are cool, pipe the buttercream onto each cupcake and top with a plastic (or edible) spider.
Keyword cake, chocolate, cocoa, cupcake, halloween, red velvet, vanilla

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October 10, 2022