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Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes

Updated on November 10, 2014

Luscious Wheat-Free / Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cupcakes for Valentine's Day, Christmas or Any Time!

Been craving cupcakes? Here's a gluten-free recipe for red velvet cupcakes that tastes just as good as the 'regular' one. Serve them to your non-GF friends, and they'll never know the difference.

These festive red cupcakes are a perfect Valentine's Day treat for your gluten-free loved one. Imagine how their eyes will light up! Or, with their cream cheese icing, they're a heavenly Christmas cupcake too. Or bake them as a birthday cupcake for a child who needs to eat wheat-free. Of course, there's no need for a holiday or even a birthday to enjoy the lusciousness of red velvet cupcakes. They're a yummy indulgence any time.

Here's how to bake and frost these lovely, delicious cupcakes, appropriate for those with celiac disease and/or wheat allergies, as well as those on a gluten-free diet. You'll also learn some tips for gluten-free baking and some background on red velvet cake.



The Story on Red Velvet Cake

More about this lightly chocolate-tasting cake with tender crumbs

A red velvet cake is one with a pronounced red or red-brown color, usually as a result of red food coloring. In the past, a chemical reaction of the vinegar and buttermilk (found in most recipes) brought out a reddish color in the cocoa. During World War II's food rationing, beets were also used to color the cakes, and some recipes still call for boiled grated beets or beet baby food. Personally, I'll stick with the food coloring. The dramatic hue of a red velvet is accented by a snowy-white frosting. Cream cheese icing is most traditional, but a white buttercream is common as well. Any white frosting can be used, but my personal favorite is cream cheese which I think best accents the richness of the cake.

There's no definite location for the origin of the red velvet cake. The northern regions of the USA claim it, and Eaton's department store in Canada has had the luscious red cake for sale since the 1940s. However, the American South at least seems to have a hold on the cake's current popularity. It adorns many a Southern table at Christmas with its festive colors. Red velvet was highlighted in the popular 1989 movie Steel Magnolias as the blood-red center of an armadillo-shaped groom's cake.

Photo credit:

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 35 min
Yields: approx. 24 -- 1 cupcake per serving


  • 2 1/2 cups Pamela's All-Purpose Baking Mix
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine-grained salt
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring (1/2 ounce)
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • recipe follows


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put cupcake papers in standard size muffin tin, or lightly oil and flour the muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
  3. Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.
  4. Fill cupcake papers 3/4 of the way full. Place the pan(s) in the oven evenly spaced apart. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 18 - 22 minutes.
  5. Cool thoroughly, then ice with cream cheese frosting.
  6. Credit: This cupcake recipe is modified from this red velvet cake recipe on
Cast your vote for Wheat-Free / Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cupcakes

Pamela's Wheat-Free Baking and Pancake Mix - The most versatile and delicious gluten-free baking mix out there

If you've done any gluten-free baking, you know how tough it can be to get your baked goods to taste, well, normal. Texture is one of the big challenges, but having something taste good too can be a larger feat than you'd think. Back in the day (1998) when I was diagnosed with a wheat allergy, you'd be hard-pressed to find alternative flours, let alone recipes that could even resemble their 'regular' counterparts. I'm thrilled to say that things have changed drastically in the past decade or so, and there are now a wide variety of alternative flours and baking mixes to choose from.

Enter Pamela's Products. The baking mix stands head and shoulders over any other alternative flour or baking mix that I've tried (and I've tried a lot in my wheat-free/gluten-free journey). It's incredibly versatile...not only does it do red velvet cupcakes well, I've used it very successfully in several types of muffins, pancakes, waffles, biscuits, recipes that call for Bisquick, coffee cakes, banana bread, etc., etc. The texture, density and flavor can't be beat in the gluten-free baking world, in my opinion. Try for yourself.

Don't Overmix

As with baking regular cupcakes, don't overmix the batter or your cupcakes will be caved in. (This can also happen if your oven isn't quite up to temp) It doesn't look pretty on an un-iced cupcake, but you can also see a caved-in cupcake as an opportunity to add more icing. That is, of course, if you like icing.

The Cupcake Batter Workhorse - Kitchenaide. Gotta love their mixers

KitchenAid K45SSWH K45SS Classic 275-Watt 4-1/2-Quart Stand Mixer, White
KitchenAid K45SSWH K45SS Classic 275-Watt 4-1/2-Quart Stand Mixer, White

This heavy-duty stand mixer does wonders on so many tasks from creaming butter to mixing cupcake batter to whisking egg whites into a fluffy froth. Don't know what I'd do without it. This version is on the smaller, less fancy end of the Kitchenaide line, but it still does the job well and is more affordable than its larger counterparts.

While it comes in a rainbow of colors, I'll always have soft spot for the white one because my husband got it for me as a wedding gift. Love that man!


Gluten-Free Baking Tip

When modifying 'regular' recipes to gluten-free, you can substitute Pamela's Baking Mix cup-for-cup for regular flour.

However, you'll need to remember to decrease or eliminate the amount of baking powder and/or baking soda in the recipe or your baked good will not rise properly. It'll also be mushy. Not good.

Personally, I just guess (gasp!) at how much baking powder and/or baking soda to put in; usually just a pinch of whichever one the recipe calls for instead of the full amount.


Cream Cheese Frosting - This is my favorite cream cheese frosting of all time. It's gluten-free, too!

This recipe is a great balance of cream cheese and sweetness that complements many types of cake from red velvet (for which is was originally intended), to carrot cake to regular vanilla. From Southern Living, December 2004.

Prep time: 15 min
Ready in: 15 min
Yields: Makes around 5 cups


  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
  • softened
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • softened
  • 2 (16 ounce) packages powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla extract.
  2. Ice cupcakes, and decorate to your heart's content. Or, just leave plain!

Are You Going to Make These Cupcakes?

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Decorating Your Cupcakes - Leave 'Em Plain or Dress Them Up for the Occasion


The color scheme of red velvet cake makes it a natural for Valentine's Day. While the traditional decoration, at least in the southern United States, is crushed pecans on the sides of the cake, you can stray from that with cupcakes to make adorable festive creations of your own. I made a batch for my birthday which is right after Valentine's Day and gave my cupcakes some whimsy with some red, pink and white sprinkles.

Some other ideas for Valentine's Day:

conversation hearts

red and pink M&M's

red or pink hearts drawn on with decorator icing

a luscious strawberry

a chocolate kiss

For Christmas, you can go with just the red and white, or add some green to your cupcake decorating for added festivity:

green sprinkles

sparkling sugar for a snowy effect

trees or stars drawn on with decorator icing

Have You Used a Gluten-Free or Wheat-Free Baking Mix Before? - Which one did you use? What did you think of it?

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    • capritaylor profile image


      4 years ago from Oklahoma, United States

      I would like to try your recipe using pureed raspberries instead of dye. And a little beet juice with a little help from my juicing machine. Thanks for sharing they look amazing!

    • JessicaBreeze profile image


      5 years ago

      I will so make this and test it out on my southern friend :)

    • emilysmaids profile image


      5 years ago

      "Or bake them as a birthday cupcake for a child who needs to eat wheat-free." This was exactly what I was looking for, thank you so much for sharing!!

    • emilysmaids profile image


      5 years ago

      "Or bake them as a birthday cupcake for a child who needs to eat wheat-free." This was exactly what I was looking for, thank you so much for sharing!!

    • beaworkathomemom profile image


      5 years ago

      Lovely lens.

    • profile image

      ellies lm 

      6 years ago

      Thanks! You've made looking for gluten free recipes for sweets a little easier. Gave you a lens like too. Stop by "Ellies" lenses anytime and give a holler. Happy July 4th to ya!

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 

      6 years ago from Jersey Shore

      My daughter suffers from celiac disease and I am so glad to find this red velvet recipe that is gluten free-can't wait to bake it! ~~blessed~~

    • BunnyFabulous profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Central Florida

      @anonymous: Thanks for the feedback, Elaine. Good thoughts on tweaking this recipe. I'm going to try it again myself with the changes you suggest, then I'll update it on the site. Appreciate it!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I baked theabove recipe for red velvet cupcakes /Pamelas Bak Mix for Easter. Moist but not enough cocoa & too much red food coloring. Too make again I would double the cocoa & cut back 1/2 food coloring. Elaine

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      6 years ago from United States

      Sounds like a fabulous recipe and a definite "must try." Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • AlisonMeacham profile image


      7 years ago

      I have been eating Gluten Free for the past 2 years. I will definitely try these recipes. Squid Angel Blessings to you

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 

      7 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      No I haven't but that seems extra special.

    • spritequeen lm profile image

      spritequeen lm 

      7 years ago

      Yes, I've tried the mixes before, and to be perfectly honest, haven't been overly impressed. I usually prefer to make my own mixes. This looks like a great recipe & I look forward to trying it! Thanks for sharing :-)

    • annieangel1 profile image


      7 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      I haven't tried them yet but this looks so tempting, I will have a go. Angel blessed


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