Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes

Featured image of a bite taken out of the gluten free red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting

These gluten free red velvet cupcakes are a show stopping, easy mix dessert that everyone will love. Top with cream cheese frosting for a melt in your mouth flavor that keeps these cupcakes from being too sweet!

photo of ingredients needed for red velvet cupcakes

Ingredients:

The Best Gluten Free Flour for Cupcakes:

For this recipe you will want to use a 1 to 1 flour blend that includes xanthan gum. If your recipe does not include xanthan gum then be sure to add ¼ teaspoon to the dry ingredients when mixing. I tested this recipe with a rice flour based blend and my personal favorite for all my baking is the Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Blend. I recommend weighing your flour, as gluten free flour is finicky for consistent measuring and a scale makes a world of difference for consistent results in gluten free baking! I don’t bother sifting my flour for this recipe, but if you don’t have a scale to weigh the flour then begin by fluffing the flour with a fork, then, using a spoon, gently scoop the flour into your measuring cup. Lastly, use a knife to scrape off the overflow and brush the flour level with your measuring cup.

Sour Cream:

Most red velvet cupcake recipes call for buttermilk to aide in giving these cupcakes a distinct and unique flavor and in the leavening process. However, for gluten free red velvet cupcakes, following the traditional method did not produce great results. Sour Cream made the perfect substitute, contributing that same unique to red velvet flavor, while at the same time cutting back the amount of liquid into a form that works in tandem with the flour blend for a fluffy moist cupcake.

Cocoa Powder

Red velvet cupcakes are not a chocolate cupcake, but the subtle hint of cocoa powder adds just the right amount of teasing flavor to keep you guessing and wanting more. The cocoa powder also works to aide in the development of the perfect color and, should you choose not to use food coloring, then pick a cocoa powder with more of red tones, like a natural cocoa powder, instead of a dutch-processed cocoa powder. If you want to see all the different varieties of cocoa powder and learn more about how they react in your baking then check out this wonderful article about cocoa powder from King Arthur Baking!

batter for red velvet cupcakes portioned into muffin tin ready for oven

Food Coloring

To make these cupcakes truly red, then you will need to add food coloring. I like to use a red gel food coloring as you need less of it, but the liquid drops work as well., though you will need about 1 Tablespoon extra of liquid drops.

Some people like to use beets for red velvet cupcakes to avoid the red dye. To do this you will need to peel and steam the beets until soft, and then puree them (about ½ Cup). The result is a bit more of a pink than red, and you will notice some “earthy” flavor from the beets. Personally I don’t love the flavor outside of a chocolate cake, so I would stick to the red toned cocoa color if you want to avoid the dye. If you choose to not use the food coloring then your red velvet cupcakes will turn brown, but still taste absolutely delightful!

step photos for how to prepare the gluten free red velvet cupcake batter

How to Make Cupcakes From Scratch

  • Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl
  • Whisk together wet ingredients in mixer with whisk attachment 
  • Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined
  • Portion into lined muffin tin
  • Bake then let fully cool before frosting.

Red Velvet Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream cheese frosting is a necessity for making a red velvet cupcake complete, and this gluten free version is no exception. This recipe includes the perfect cream cheese frosting that has just the slightest bit of sour cream in it to keep with the red velvet flavors.

The key to cream cheese frosting is to soften the butter and cream cheese before working with it. If you do not soften them to room temperature then you will have lumps in your frosting and it will not beat up as smooth and fluffy.

Once the frosting is made, then let it cool in the fridge 15 minutes before topping the cupcakes.

This frosting can also be made the day before and kept in the fridge until ready to use. Once you are ready to use the frosting, then give it a thorough stir to smooth and combine any settled ingredients. You can spread the frosting directly on the cupcakes with a knife if you want or use a decorating tip. I like to use a pastry bag (or a plastic bag with the corner cut off) with a 1m decorating tip. Here is the set I use. This tip makes beautiful large swirls perfect for cupcakes. Add any additional sprinkles or decorations as desired!

cream cheese frosting for red velvet cupcakes being prepared in mixer

Storing your Cupcakes:

Red velvet cupcakes can be made in advance. If you are planning on using them right away, then they can be stored, before frosting, at room temperature. You can store them unfrosted for up to 2 days, covered at room temperature.

If you are wanting to freeze the cupcakes, then allow them to fully cool. Once they are fully cooled, wrap each cupcake, unfrosted individually in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to one month.

Let thaw before frosting and serving the cupcakes.

The red velvet cupcakes that have been frosted with cream cheese frosting should be kept, covered in the fridge for up to 2 days.

gluten free red velvet cupcakes displayed on marble surface ready for eating

Trouble shooting:

Why are my red velvet cupcakes dry?

The biggest culprit of dry cupcakes is not measuring the flour correctly. The best option is to weigh your flour, otherwise be sure to follow the above mentioned directions for measuring your flour without a scale. 

Every brand of flour varies a bit, if you are not using the same brand I use, then try cutting the recipe back by a couple tablespoons.

The next biggest culprit of dry cupcakes is over-baking them. These cupcakes took 20 minutes in my oven, but every oven varies slightly. These cupcakes are done when a tooth-pick inserted in the center has a few dry crumbs on it. The tooth-pick should not have gummy batter on it, but if it comes out very clean and the cupcakes have much noticeable browning on them, then they are probably over-baked.

If you’re interested in more great dessert recipes then try these!

Yield: 12

Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes

Recipe Card Image of a bite taken out of a ready to eat gluten free red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting

These gluten free red velvet cupcakes are a show stopping, easy mix dessert that everyone will love. Top with cream cheese frosting for a melt in your mouth flavor that keeps these cupcakes from being too sweet!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 Cups + 1TBSP. (6.5 Ounces) Gluten Free Flour Blend*
  • 4 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 2/3 Cup Sour Cream
  • 1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Red Food Coloring
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 12 ounces Cream Cheese, Softened
  • 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 2 Tablespoons Sour Cream
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 1/2 Cups Powder Sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat Oven to 350° F, and line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
  2. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, sour cream, oil, oil, eggs, food coloring and vanilla. Using a mixer with whisk attachment, beat until thoroughly combined and smooth.
  4. Dump dry ingredient flour mix into the red liquid batter and continue to whisk on medium speed until thoroughly incorporated, scraping down the sides if needed.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 cupcake tin, about 1/3 cup of batter per cupcake.
  6. Place in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few, non-doughy crumbs.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool in muffin tin about 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to completely cool before frosting, about 1 hour.
  8. Make the frosting and set aside in fridge until ready to use.

Cream Cheese Frosting Instructions:

  1. Using the whisk attachment for your mixer, combine the cream cheese, butter, sour cream, vanilla and salt in a large bowl and whip until smooth and creamy about 2 minutes.
  2. Turn the mixer off and add in the powder sugar. Slowly increase the speed of the mixer to throughly incorporate the sugar and whip until light and fluffy 3-5 minutes.
  3. The key to this cream cheese frosting recipe is to throughly whip the frosting for the best consistency!
  4. Place the frosting covered, in the fridge until ready to use.
  5. When ready to decorate the cupcakes, give the frosting a thorough stir to re-mix any ingredients that may have settled.
  6. Spread the cream cheese frosting onto the cupcakes with a knife, or use a pastry bag, fitted with a 1M piping tip, to swirl the frosting on top. Decorate as desired.
  7. Store Frosted Cupcakes in the fridge for 1-2 days.

Notes

*For this recipe you will want to use a 1 to 1 flour blend that includes xanthan gum. If your recipe does not include xanthan gum then be sure to add ¼ teaspoon. my personal flour of choice for all my baking is the Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Blend. if you don’t have a scale to weigh the flour, then begin by fluffing the flour with a fork, then, using a spoon, gently scoop the flour into your measuring cup. Lastly, use a knife to scrape off the overflow and brush the flour level with your measuring cup.

• See blog post for storage tips if you want to make these in advance or trouble-shooting this recipe!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 456Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 84mgSodium: 290mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 1gSugar: 39gProtein: 5g

*Nutrition information is automatically calculated and may not always be accurate.

Did you make this recipe?

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10 thoughts on “Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes”

  1. I’ve recently been experimenting with gluten-free red velvet cupcakes myself, and it’s been a tricky recipe to master! The addition of sour cream in yours is so smart! I love all the tips you suggested for perfecting these.

    1. I’ve definitely found that most gluten free baked goods can’t support or fully absorb typical liquids like wheat flour can but plain, whole milk, yogurt or sour cream works so well in pastries and quick breads!

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