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Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes

Makes 12 large cupcakes or 48 mini cupcakes

– It is really important you don’t use liquid food colouring as it will add too much liquid to your batter. Most liquid food colourings are made using E120 (cochineal) which is neither vegan nor vegetarian.
– Gluten-free? Use a gluten-free, self-raising flour blend with ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum added.

Ms. Cupcake says “If you like a red cake, use the food colouring; if not, just leave it out. You will find it’s the taste of this cupcake and NOT the appearance that proves its worth”.


For the Cupcake

  1. 200ml soya milk
  2. 20ml cider vinegar
  3. 200g self-raising flour
  4. 200g caster sugar
  5. 20g cocoa powder
  6. ¼ tsp salt
  7. ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  8. ¼ tsp baking powder
  9. 80ml light rapeseed or other flavourless oil
  10. 1 tbsp vanilla extract or essence
  11. ½–1 tsp red food colouring paste (not liquid)

For the Icing

  1. 25g dairy-free margarine
  2. 75g vegetable fat (shortening)
  3. 125g soya cream cheese
  4. 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  5. 750g icing sugar
  6. ¼ tsp salt
  7. about 30–40ml soya or rice milk
  8. red sweets (optional)


To make the cupcakes and the icing

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and line your muffin tray with muffin cases.
  2. Mix the soya milk and vinegar together. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl mix the flour, caster sugar, cocoa powder, salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder by hand until fully combined.
  4. Add the soya milk mixture, oil, vanilla and red food colouring paste to the bowl. Using a metal spoon, quickly mix everything together for about 10 seconds until the ingredients are just combined and the batter is still a little lumpy. Tap the bowl on to the work surface to halt the raising agents from working too quickly – you will see the bubbles pop.
  5. Spoon the batter evenly into each of the muffin cases and tap the filled muffin tray on the work surface to pop the bubbles again.
  6. Place the tray in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Cool in the tray for 10 minutes, then transfer the cupcakes in their cases to the wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Next, make the icing. Using an electric or a hand-held mixer, whip together the margarine, vegetable fat, cream cheese and vanilla until creamy (about 30 seconds). Add half of the icing sugar and 30ml (2tbsp) milk and continue mixing, slowly at first and then bringing up to speed, until combined. Add the rest of the icing sugar and mix for about a minute until you have a smooth consistency. If the icing is too firm, then mix in a bit more milk. If it is too soft, add a bit more icing sugar.
  8. Pipe loads of zingy cream cheese buttercream icing on top of your cupcakes and decorate with your favourite red sweet. Alternatively keep one of the cupcake bases aside and crumble it over the rest of the iced cupcakes.

This recipe is taken from ‘Ms Cupcake: The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes In Town’ published by Square Peg. Photography © Haraala Hamilton Photography.

10 thoughts on “Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes

  1. Hi, these cupcakes are fantastic. I’ve already made 3 batches and will definitely be making more. Thank you for the recipe!! :-)))

  2. These are amazing!! We’ve made a vegan butter cream frosting but only because soya cream cheese isn’t something we have as a staple food. Not one person thought they were vegan. In fact they tried to stop my daughter eating them “because they definitely have dairy in them.”
    Don’t know how you did it but I’m glad you did! 🙂 x

  3. Can I use beetroot powder for colour? Oh and would almond milk work instead of soya? Thanks!

    Hi Donna, i’ve asked one of our cooks to look into this for you.

    1. Hi Donna, you could definitely use almond milk, but i’m not sure beetroot powder would give the same vibrant red colour. I think if you were to use beetroot pulp that may give better effects, but you’d need to experiment a little. Have fun!

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