Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Ermine Frosting

The perfect recipe for your Valentine or Galentine! As always, we’ve included substitutions to make this recipe gluten and dairy free. We also provide instructions for using beet powder instead of red food coloring – but please be aware that the beets create more of a maroonish-brown color because the baking powder is oxidized by the vinegar. In order to create a version of the Ermine frosting (which is essentially a cooked flour buttercream) that could be made with both regular dairy and dairy free butter, the technique we share here is a bit different than the traditional recipe. The Ermine frosting is sweet and slightly tangy and tastes quite similar to cream cheese frosting.


1 stick of butter or dairy free butter

1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour – we used Bob’s Red Mill 1-1 Gluten Free Flour

1 tablespoon or red food coloring gel or 2 tablespoons of red food coloring liquid, or 1/4 cup of beet powder, mixed with enough water to form a paste

3 tablespoons of cocoa powder

1 cup of buttermilk or non-dairy buttermilk (to make non-dairy buttermilk, mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into buttermilk and let sit for at least 10 minutes to curdle.

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

1 teaspoon of baking soda


1/3 cup of all purpose flour – we used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-1 Flour

1 cup of milk – we used oatmilk

1 cup of granulated sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

2 sticks of butter of non dairy butter, softened (but not softened to the point of being almost liquid)

Pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 350F

Line a 12 cupcake pan with cupcake papers, or grease and flour.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, and pinch of salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar. Beat on medium speed until fluffy and combined. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition. Add vanilla and red coloring and beat until everything is mixed together completely.

Add the vinegar and and baking soda to the buttermilk and stir quickly to combine.

Using alternating additions, starting and ending with the flour, mix flour and buttermilk mixtures into batter on medium/low speed until just combined. Pour into cupcake pans.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.


In a saucepan, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until the flour has cooked a bit – usually 3-4 minutes.

Pour in the milk or dairy free milk and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. When the mixture reached the spoon-trail phase, remove from heat and set aside. Refrigerate until completely cool.

Once your sugar base is cool, finish making the frosting.

In a large mixing bowl or a stand mixer, beat the 2 sticks of butter or non dairy butter on medium/high speed until they are fluffy.

A dollop at a time, add the sugar base and mix on medium speed to combine. Continue adding the base a bit at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until all of the base has been added. Add the vanilla extract and mix until incorporated

Turn the mixer speed to high and beat for a minute or so to make the frosting even fluffier. Use immediately, or refrigerate and let come back to room temperature before using.

This frosting is soft but stable and pipes beautifully. Serve and enjoy!

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