Red Velvet Cupcakes with Piped Cream Cheese Frosting

from 4 votes

Moist cupcakes are topped with the fluffiest frosting ever in this recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes with Piped Cream Cheese Frosting. Perfect for Valentine’s Day or just about any celebration, these bakery-style cupcakes are sure to impress.

A red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting in a polka-dotted cupcake paper, with another cupcake in the background.

Who doesn’t love red velvet cake? With its dramatic hue, moist texture, and just-chocolatey-enough flavor, this cake is a favorite among kids and adults alike. However, it’s really just a platform for its classic partner, cream cheese frosting. The tangy flavor of the frosting is the perfect complement for the sweet cake.

I wanted to create a red velvet cupcake recipe that would have beautifully piped frosting, so I tested a variety of cream cheese frosting recipes to find one that would be light enough to be piped into swirls, flowers and other fancy decorations.

When I came across Joy of Cooking’s tutorial for red velvet cupcakes, I knew I’d found the secret ingredient to fluffy cream cheese frosting: Heavy cream. After trying out the recipe and making a few adjustments, I was able to create the perfect balance of sturdiness and fluffiness that’s also easy to pipe. This is hands-down the best cream cheese frosting for red velvet cupcakes!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Polished, bakery-quality look. Piping the icing onto the cakes instead of slathering it on with a spatula is an easy way to get a professional look, perfect for special occasions or bake sales.
  • Moist and tender.
  • Great for Valentine’s Day. If you’re looking for a treat to celebrate that day of love, these are the perfect Valentine’s Day cupcakes. 
  • The fluffiest frosting. Follow my instructions for frosting that has tangy cream cheese flavor but with an irresistibly light, creamy texture. 
A polka-dotted cupcake paper is partially peeled away from a red velvet cupcake topped with a swirl of cream cheese frosting.


Like my recipes for red velvet pancakes and red velvet cinnamon rolls, this recipe relies on cocoa powder and red food coloring to make its signature dramatic color.

For the red velvet cake you’ll need:

  • Vegetable oil: Using oil instead of butter in cake yields a moister cake since oil has a higher fat content. Canola, vegetable or any neutral oil can be used interchangeably. 
  • Buttermilk: The lactic acid in buttermilk activates the leavening power of the baking soda and contributes to a tangy flavor and tender, moist crumb. If you don’t have buttermilk, there are several buttermilk substitutes you can use to make your own.
  • Eggs: Help emulsify the batter, provide structure as the cake rises, and add moisture and richness. 
  • White vinegar: Baking soda needs acid as a catalyst to help cake batter rise, and a teaspoon of white vinegar helps boost the acidity to ensure the leavener can do its job.
  • Vanilla extract: Imitation vanilla is fine to use in baked goods, but I recommend using pure vanilla in the frosting where the vanilla notes are more pronounced. 
  • Food coloring: Red velvet cake gets its distinctive hue from red food coloring. In recipes where I want really vibrant colors, such as my Unicorn Banana Bread, I always opt for gel food coloring, which is more concentrated and requires a smaller amount to get bright results.
  • All-purpose flour: In baking, precise measurements are essential for consistent results. Use my scoop-and-sweep method for the best method to accurately measure flour without using a scale.
  • Sugar: In addition to sweetening baked goods, granulated sugar binds with liquid to keep baked goods moist for longer and it slows the production of gluten to keep the texture soft and tender.
  • Baking soda: Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, interacts with acid in a recipe to create carbon dioxide, which helps the batter expand and rise for a fluffy, tender baked good. In the case of this red velvet cake, the buttermilk, cocoa powder and vinegar provide the acidity needed for the baking soda to react.
  • Salt: Table salt or kosher salt is needed in nearly every cake recipe to enhance the flavor and balance the sweetness. It also acts as a preservative, helping the baked goods stay fresher for longer.
  • Cocoa powder: This recipe uses unsweetened natural cocoa powder rather than Dutch-process cocoa powder. Natural cocoa powder is lighter and redder in color and is more acidic than Dutch-process. The acid is needed to interact with the baking soda so the cake rises properly.

For the cream cheese frosting you’ll need:

  • Cream cheese: Use full-fat cream cheese for the proper silky texture and richness, and let it come to room temperature so that it’s soft. This will minimize lumps in the frosting.
  • Powdered sugar: As with my recipe for buttercream frosting, I always sift powdered sugar for frosting. Powdered sugar can get clumpy when it’s stored and sifting it breaks up lumps for a smoother frosting.
  • Vanilla extract: Use pure vanilla extract, which has a more complex and rich flavor than imitation vanilla. This is a great recipe to showcase homemade vanilla extract.
  • Whipping cream: When beaten, the cream aerates the frosting for a fluffy texture. It’s important to keep the whipping cream cold until it’s used. Use heavy whipping cream that has at least 35 percent milk fat content, not light whipping cream.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to Make Red Velvet Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven. With the oven rack in the center position, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, add the oil, buttermilk, eggs, white vinegar and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Add enough red coloring to reach your desired color.
Red velvet cake batter drips from a paddle attachment into a glass stand mixer bowl.
  1. Sift the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.
  2. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Add the flour mixture to the stand mixer bowl, ½ cup at a time and mix between each addition to prevent lumps, until fully combined.
  3. Bake the cupcakes. Fill each cupcake liner about ¾ full of batter. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  4. Cool the cupcakes. Cool the cupcakes completely on a cooling rack before frosting.

How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting for Piping

While most cream cheese frostings include butter, this fluffy version relies on whipped cream for its airy texture. Follow my instructions and tips exactly for the best results.

  1. Beat the cream cheese. In the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. 
  2. Add the sugar. Sift the powdered sugar into the bowl and beat to combine. Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine.
  3. Add the heavy cream. Remove the paddle attachment, scraping off any excess cream cheese mixture with a spatula, and attach the whisk attachment. Scrape down cream cheese from the sides of the bowl. At medium-high speed, pour the chilled heavy cream in a steady stream and beat just until the frosting is thick enough to pipe, 2 to 3 minutes. Do not overmix or the mixture will deflate and become runny.
Fluffy cream cheese frosting is in a glass stand mixer bowl, with a teal spatula.
  1. Pipe the frosting. Scoop the frosting into a piping bag fitted with your desired pastry tip. Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and serve immediately.

Pro Tip: If you don’t have a baking buddy to hold the pastry bag open as you fill it, place the bag inside a pint glass and fold the top over the rim of the glass to hold it open. The glass will hold the bag open and upright as you fill it. 

Kelly’s Recipe Tips

  • Use gel-based food coloring. Gel-based food coloring is more concentrated than regular water-based food colorings, so less can be used to achieve a rich, deep red color. If you’re using gel-based food coloring, start with 4 to 5 drops and add more as needed. If you’re using water-based food coloring, you’ll need about 3 tablespoons for the cake to be dark enough.
  • Use a brand of heavy cream that whips easily into stiff peaks. If you’re uncertain your heavy cream whips easily, whip the heavy cream separate from the cream cheese (until it reaches stiff peaks) and then fold it into the cream cheese.
  • Choose the right pastry tip. For the textured swirls, I used the Ateco #828 star-shaped pastry tip. For a smoother swirl, use a large round pastry tip. 
  • Make the perfect swirls. Start by piping along the outside of the top of the cupcake and use an inward spiral motion to pipe slightly overlapping concentric circles until you reach the middle.  Pull the bag straight up to get the center peak.

Here is some of the cooking equipment you’ll need to make these cupcakes:

  • Stand mixer: A stand mixer is the best appliance to mix the batter and whip the cream in the frosting to the fluffiest texture. You’ll need both the paddle attachment and the whisk attachment.
  • Sifter or fine mesh sieve: Sifting the flour and other dry ingredients together ensures that they’re combined thoroughly, and sifting the powdered sugar removes any lumps. If you don’t have a sifter, a fine mesh sieve works just as well.
  • Cupcake wrappers: Lining the cupcake pan with paper cupcake wrappers makes it easier to remove the baked cakes from the pan and keeps the cake fresher for longer. In this recipe, I used foil-lined cupcake wrappers, which keep their bright pattern even after baking plus, they peel easily from the cupcake.
  • Cupcake pan: I used a standard-sized cupcake pan for this recipe. The recipe makes 24 cupcakes so you’ll need two 12-cup pans, or you can bake them in batches.
  • Baking rack: A wire baking rack lets air circulate completely around baked goods so they cool completely. 
  • Pastry bag: For a professional-style frosting job, a pastry bag will let you pipe beautiful swirls of frosting onto the cupcakes. I prefer disposable pastry bags because they’re so convenient. Or, learn how to make homemade piping bags with parchment paper.
  • Pastry tips: A metal pastry tip fitted into the pastry bag can give the piped frosting a different look. A large round tip will give smooth piped swirls, while an open star tip will make grooved swirls. 

Storage Tips

Store cupcakes in the refrigerator until they’re served. The cupcakes are best enjoyed the day they’re made.

Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen in an airtight container or freezer bag for two to three months. Thaw cupcakes completely before frosting. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How far in advance can I frost red velvet cupcakes?

Because of the whipped cream in the frosting, these cupcakes are best if they are served shortly after frosting. If necessary, they can be frosted several hours ahead of time and refrigerated until serving.

What’s the difference between using butter and oil in red velvet cupcakes?

Butter has a water content of as much as 18 percent, which evaporates during baking. Cupcakes made with oil, which has a higher fat content, will have a moister texture and will taste fresh for longer.

Can I freeze the cupcakes?

While the cupcakes taste best the day they’re made and frosted, unfrosted cupcakes can be baked ahead of time and frozen. Store them in an airtight container or freezer bag and defrost completely before frosting.

How can I prevent cream cheese frosting from becoming too runny?

Three things will ensure thick, fluffy frosting. First, use heavy whipping cream that contains at least 35 percent milk fat. Second, ensure the heavy cream is very cold before using. Third, don’t overmix. The moment the whipping cream thickens, stop the mixer.

Can I use natural cocoa powder instead of Dutch-processed cocoa powder?

Yes. Natural cocoa powder has a lighter hue and more acidity, so it is the best cocoa powder to use in this recipe. 

Red velvet cupcakes in polka-dotted cupcake papers, with swirls of cream cheese, are lined up in rows on a wood surface.

Valentine’s Day Treats

Skip the store-bought sweets in favor of easy Valentine’s Day dessert recipes, including these reader-favorites:

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Red Velvet Cupcakes with Piped Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Piped Cream Cheese Frosting are the perfect treat! Extra-moist red velvet cupcakes topped with tangy cream cheese frosting.
Author: Kelly Senyei
4.75 from 4 votes
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Piped Cream Cheese Frosting from #recipe
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 24 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Red food coloring (See Kelly’s Notes)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

For the frosting:

  • 2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups cold heavy whipping cream (See Kelly’s Notes)


Make the cupcakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a cupcake pan with liners.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, white vinegar, vanilla extract and enough red food coloring until the mixture is well combined and reaches your desired color.
  • In a separate medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, ½ a cup at a time, mixing between each addition to avoid any lumps in the batter.
  • Fill each cupcake liner about ¾ full with batter and bake for 18 to 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack to cool completely while you make the frosting.

Make the frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Sift the powdered sugar into the bowl, beating to combine, then add the vanilla extract.
  • Remove the paddle attachment and attach the whisk attachment. Scrape down any cream cheese from the sides of the bowl, and then with the whisk beating at medium-high speed, stream in the cold heavy cream until the frosting is thick enough to pipe. Please watch the video from Joy of Baking, which features the frosting recipe and addresses potential issues to prevent the frosting from being too thin.
  • Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with your desired pastry tip. Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and serve immediately.

Kelly’s Notes

  • Use gel-based food coloring, which is more concentrated than regular water-based food colorings are not as concentrated, so less can be used to achieve a rich, deep red color. Start with 4 to 5 drops and add more as needed. If you’re using water-based food coloring, you’ll need about 3 tablespoons.
  • You must use a brand of heavy cream that whips easily into stiff peaks. If you’re uncertain your heavy cream whips easily, whip the heavy cream separate from the cream cheese (until it reaches stiff peaks) and then fold it into the cream cheese.
  • Use a star-shaped pastry tip for textured swirls and a large round pastry tip for a smoother swirl.
  • To make the perfect swirls, start by piping along the outside of the top of the cupcake and use an inward spiral motion to pipe slightly overlapping concentric circles until you reach the middle.  Pull the bag straight up to get the center peak.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!


Calories: 193kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 32mg, Sodium: 139mg, Potassium: 45mg, Sugar: 20g, Vitamin A: 230IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 24mg, Iron: 0.7mg


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Cupcake recipe adapted from Kiss My Bundt. Frosting recipe adapted from Joy of Baking.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I was looking for a cream cheese icing recipe that could be piped as every other one I’d tried was too runny. With only a cup of icing sugar this was not very sweet so I added an extra cup (which is still way lower than the 3 to 4 cups in other recipes). It piped well and I was able to create flowers, although those were piped onto parchment then frozen so I could transfer them. The recipe made enough to cover and fill a two layer cake, with some left over to eat from the bowl

    1. Hi Charlotte! This recipe will definitely work as a cake, however I’m not sure the size and the baking time.

  2. Hi, how long would these cupcakes be good in an air tight container? I need to make 150 and I need to do it at least 3 days prior to my event so I can have time…

  3. 5 stars
    I love the recipe for the icing! ( I have never made the cake yet)
    Can I make the icing tonight, refrigerate and then pipe and serve tomorrow? Or would the icing get to hard?

    1. Hi Sierra! That should work. You may just need to whip the icing a little bit after you remove it from the fridge.

  4. 4 stars
    I made these and my icing just came out too runny, I let it sit for about 15 minutes but it never hardened up!

  5. I gave putting it in the fridge overnight a shot! They do keep their shape, and are still very good the next day :) Love the icing, it’s not overly sweet unlike most cream cheese icings.

  6. Hi. How long do you think the piped frosting shape would last in the fridge? Would like to make this for work, and I would have to make them the night before as I wouldn’t have time in the morning…

    1. Hi there, Ihsan! I’ve never tested serving this frosting the next day, so I’m not certain how it’d hold up in the fridge. Would love to hear your results if you give it a shot!

  7. I tried this recipe just as written and it turned out horrible. Not sure where I went wrong. I felt like 18min was too long in the oven because they came out dry and the icing was too runny.

  8. Will this frosting hold its shape if it is at room temp for 3-4 hours? I want to make these for a bridal shower where there is no fridge

    1. Hi Becky! I wouldn’t recommend leaving the cupcakes out for more than an hour, as they are best served right away or refrigerated. The piped shape will last, but I’d rather be overly cautious on having dairy sit out.

  9. I’m from Guatemala and most of time is hard to find the right ingredients, but I decided to do it anyways and ir was JUST PERFECT. My dad is my biggest fan and he wants me to bake these cupcakes every time!!!

  10. This is the best red velvet cake recipe I have tried.I don’t make any other since I tried this.Perfect every time.Thank you for this fab recipe.So

  11. I also followed this recipe exactly and it was a disaster! Once the cream was added, it was all over! I even tried to add another package of cream cheese and 4 cups MORE of icing sugar and nothing worked!! It was the most stressful experience I’ve had in the kitchen, desperately trying to get this to work in time for the birthday party. It all looked like a great piping consistency before I added the cream. I officially give up on piping-quality frosting!

  12. I have made the frosting recipe twice and both times it was too runny. The first time I did use a great value brand of heavy whipping cream so I bought land o’lakes brand for the second go round. I measured the ingredients exactly and did exactly as the recipe said. I even put my heavy whipping cream in the freezer for a few mins so it would be super cold. I’m so disappointed, not sure what else to do other than maybe use less heavy whipping cream next time.

    1. Hi Andrea – Did you have the stand mixer going at medium-high speed while you slowly whisked in the heavy cream? You may find this link to Joy of Cooking, which shows the frosting recipe being made, helpful: Please note how slowly it’s also added to the bowl.
      I hope this helps clarify the technique on the frosting recipe!

      1. Please for the love of God correct the mistake in the recipe! The recipe written above says 1 1/3 cup whipping cream while in the video she says 2/3 (which is half!). THIS is why everyone is having problems. Please correct the discrepancy for the next poor soul who tries to make this.

      2. Hi Carla – This frosting recipe has been doubled, which is why it calls for 1 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream. You’ll notice that all of the other ingredients have also been doubled.

  13. This is a great recipe. The first time ever making red velvet cupcakes and I knocked it out the park. Thanks for the recipe.

  14. Hi giving this recipe a go since i still have not found the perfect red velvet cake! But i do not have white vinegar at home, is it ok to use malt vinegar?
    Tia xx

  15. I wanted to know what weight the powdered sugar should be for the frosting, as powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar) is only accurately measured by weight due to its high compression value

  16. I used the frosting recipe on my gf carrot cake cupcakes and it turned out perfect!!! A half batch was exactly enough for twelve cupcakes pilled high and a well basted beater to lick. This is my go to cream cheese frosting from now on. Delicious and beautiful!

    1. Hi there! There are many brands depending on where you live. Any brand of heavy whipping cream will work great :)

  17. This recipe was awful for me. I bake cupcakes constantly for people and events and have never had a batter turn out so badly. I followed everything exactly as stated and it smelt and tasted just like play dough. They were super dense I had to throw away the whole batch and all the extra batter. Really don’t understand what happened with mine!

  18. Why is butter not needed? I’m going to try this recipe, but I want to make sure I have all the ingredients in place.

  19. Hi Kelly,

    I never write comments but I had to this time. Your frosting recipe just save my life! I had to bring cupcakes for an event at work and tried two other cream cheese frosting and they were both a disaster when it came time for piping. Yours was just perfect! Thank you so much.

  20. Hi there Kelly
    I have made these cupcakes and were absolutely delicious, thank you for the recipe.
    I want to make a red velvet cake now, can I use this recipe as is or are there changes?

    1. So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Bonita! This recipe will definitely work as a cake, however I’m not sure the size and the baking time.

  21. I have this recipe but cannot find it. I am so glad you posted it. I never thought of whipping the heavy cream separately. I ruined a whole batch and had to go buy more ingredients once. I am going to make this, beating the whipped cream separately. I use this on a chocolate cake. I chop a few maraschino cherries and with just a little juice and beat into the icing that will go between the layers. Then I use the remainder of the cherries on top of the cake. This is my version of a cake my husband described his mother making when he was young. He said mine reminds him of her cake and that was my goal.

  22. The wet ingredients were yellow before I added the food coloring, and so when I added the red (I used gel btw) it became pink, even after adding quite a bit. How can I get the rich red color for the batter?

    1. Hi Huebie! I have not tried making the frosting with dairy-free alternatives to the ingredients so I’m not sure how it would turn out.

  23. Kelly, if I wanted to make this velvet recipe but achieve a dark brown chocolate colour for the cupcakes rather than the red, how would I do that? I have made this recipe a few times before (and LOVE it – by far my absolute favourite, so I don’t want to make any other kind of cupcake), and have accidentally put too little red colouring once, which made it turn out a pound-cake brown colour, so removing the red isn’t a solution either. I want either a dark brown chocolate cupcake colour or a vanilla cupcake colour, but I want this delicious velvet taste!!! I want to top it with turquoise icing, that’s why I want to avoid the red colour. Any suggestions? A quick response would be SUPER appreciated.

  24. I wish I had believed the reviews about the frosting turning out runny. My is so runny that it is un-usable. I carefully followed the directions, even watched the video of the frosting being made. Adding more powdered sugar made no difference. Oh, well, off to the store at 10:20 PM to buy more cream cheese and look for another recipe to frost my cupcakes. :(

  25. Hi, i have a question. I don’t a paddle attachment, can i still whip the cream cheese using a whisk?

    Thanks! :)

  26. I forgot the point I was making about the frosting hehehe…as I was saying, I find cream cheese frosting overly sweet, but this frosting is just perfect! Thanks for a really lovely recipe:-)

  27. Hi Kelly

    I’m not a big fan of cream cheese frosting; I’ve always found it too sweet. My work colleague’s daughter makes these for the office and we devour them – they’re so moist and light. Unfortunately, she hasn’t wanted to share the recipe with us so I did some snooping on her Pinterest account and I found the recipe which she pinned from your blog! I’m super thrilled and can’t wait to make them!

  28. This looks amazing Kelly! Red Velvet Cupcakes are my absolute favorite cake creation! I’m going to try this new one now and I think I will be converting as well!!

  29. Hey, I just made these today. I’m in the UK and used plain flour, double cream for the whipped cream. It’s the first time I’ve had perfect pipeable cream cheese frosting. I’m incredibly pleased I stumbled upon your page. My husband bought me a stand mixer and this is the first thing I’ve baked with it. The cream cheese is absolutely stunning, tastes like the regular runny one. Awesome. Job done. Thanks!

    1. Hi Kim! I’ve never tried that substitution so I can’t say for certainty how the cupcakes would turn out.

    1. Hi Sara – You’d have to scale back all of the ingredients to reduce the serving size to 1 dozen.

  30. Hi, it may taste like oil for one of 2 reasons: Check to make sure you measured everything correctly and if this is not the case, check the oil you’re using. I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but I tried another one very similar and I tasted oil as soon as I bit into it. Turn out, Publix brand oil has a very heavy taste compared to a name brand oil. Hope this helps!

  31. How does the frosting hold up in heat? Will they melt if the cupcakes are outside? Should I refrigerate them at all?

    1. You’ll want to keep these cupcakes refrigerated until ready to serve, as it’ll melt in warm weather.

  32. Hey! I’m thinking about trying this frosting for a (carrot) wedding cake I’m making this week. Will it hold up for that? I noticed that it said serve immediately, does does that imply that it cannot be kept longer/overnight?

    1. Hi Melody – I’ve never tested serving this frosting the next day, so I’m not certain how it’d hold up in the fridge.

  33. I’m a little disappointed as well. I put the heavy whipping cream in the freezer about an hr before using. Still too liquidity. I think I should have whipped the cream first and then folded it in. Too runny to pipe, but tastes good. I’m freezing the cake with the icing. I’ll serve it really cold on a hot day ;)

  34. So, so glad I came across this recipe! I only made the frosting and it worked perfectly for me and tastes great. Thanks so much!

  35. You’re great, Kelly! It look very attractive, colourful and appetizing. I will do it at this weekend.
    Many thanks.

  36. I was so looking forward to these, but they were a disaster! I carefully followed the directions and the batter looked lovely and light, but in the oven they boiled up and ran over everywhere! We do live at high altitude, and added the extra tbsp. of flour that most recipes call for, but they were still awful! I am so disappointed…

  37. Hi, I just made the frosting and it turned out beautifully! After reading the comments, I did take the suggestion to whip the heavy cream separately in a chilled metal bowl and then fold it into the cream cheese/sugar mixture.

    But I have an important question. I made the frosting ahead on Tuesday night for a Friday night party for 60. I covered and stored it in the metal bowl. Do you think there will be any problem if I wait to pipe onto my cupcakes on Friday afternoon? I wish I would have waited but it’s too late now! :(

  38. I Must Say I’m Not A Lover Of Cream Cheese Frosting ~ Well I Wasn’t Until We Tried This! My Daughter Made A Carrot Cake For Her Boyfriends 21st And Used This Recipe And It Was Perfect! Thank You So Very Much! It Certainly Is A Winner In Our House!
    I Love Love Love This Frosting So Much!

  39. I just made these cupcakes yesterday and have 2 comments. First – the frosting is beyond delicious, its almost like eating light and fluffy icecream. However I made it yesterday and am waiting to pipe it til tomorrow and have a feeling I’ll have problems with its stability.
    Second, for anyone who says the recipe is too oily you can easily swap half the oil for unsweetened applesauce (as I did) and the cupcakes are absolutely moist and perfect.

  40. I’ve been searching for a fluffy, tasty cream cheese frosting and finally I’ve found it!! Thank you so much, the cupcake recipe is also fantastic and super easy. I will be making this recipe a lot :)

  41. The first time I made this frosting it turned out perfectly. I just made it again and ended up with the runny consistency that others mentioned. There is no doubt in my mind that I let the cream cheese become too warm. I have it in the freezer right now and hopefully I can get it to fluff up once it gets good and cold.

  42. We have made this recipe numerous times, and it is nothing short of spectacular!! Either as cupcakes or a layered cake, you can’t beat (haha) your whipped frosting. Thank you from my entire family.

  43. This so called frosting recipe looked more like cake batter. I followed the recipe but ended up with runny frosting that I can’t pipe at all :-( so disappointed

    1. Hi Amy – If the frosting was too runny, it was likely overmixed. You can view the video I linked to in the recipe for further instructions.

  44. Just made the frosting for lemon/blueberry cupcakes and chocolate/chocolate chip cupcakes. It is divine and it pipes perfectly. My cupcakes look professional for once without the frosting tasting like pure sugar.

  45. I made these cupcakes yesterday, the taste and the consistency of the is good, but they are too oily!!! I like to eat my cupcakes with my hands, so when I finished it my fingers were too greasy. I didn’t like them :/

  46. Terrible recipe. I’ve made cupcakes before and therefore am not a novice to the concept. The batter looked and tasted great, but once in the oven, the cupcakes started burning in the first five minutes. I pulled them out a bit earlier than the suggested time, and they were slightly burned around the edges and turned to charcoal on the bottom. I had to cut off the burnt outside before even attempting to serve to guests.
    I am not even going to try making the cream cheese frosting from this website, since most of the reviewers found it runny. Would definitely not recommend this recipe to anyone. Waste of time and ingredients.

  47. This cupcake recipe turned out really bad for me!! The cupcakes turned out dry and hard and the frosting was like water! I hope someone will make an improvement to these cupcakes!!!

    1. Hi Cristi – I’m not sure why you had those results. I’ve never had these cupcakes turn out dry, as they are oil-based and should be very moist.

  48. Can i use craft spread cheese on this frosting of red velvet cake.can it work out good or what kind of cheese can i use pls

  49. I made these today. They were fantastic. I love the icing; however, I think next time I’ll adjust the cream cheese to whipping cream ratio so that there is more cream cheese. I don’t pipe the frosting, so it shouldn’t affect anything other than the taste. The sweetness is perfect, and I can’t believe how little powder sugar it uses, compared to other cream cheese frosting recipes. Thanks so much for sharing.

  50. I leave out the cocoa powder & food coloring and this is the best vanilla cake recipe EVER! Frosting is amazing too!

    1. Hi Cindy – I wouldn’t recommend freezing them, as it’ll negatively impact the texture. They’re definitely best served fresh!

  51. I tried this recipe and the cupcakes came out horrible! It was too oily and it seems like the center was dropping. I don’t know what went wrong when I followed the directions perfectly

    1. Hi Candy – I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the recipe. I have never experienced an oily texture when making this cupcake recipe before so I can’t say with certainty what may have gone wrong.

    1. Hi Sam – I wouldn’t recommend leaving the frosting out, as it’s best served right away or refrigerated.

  52. Hello!
    I want to do a cake with this recipe and i am wondering if i must change the ingredients quantity. I have a 24 cm spring form. If the batter stays in the mixer’s bowl(i need to bake the layers one by one becouse i only have one springform) will it rise in the oven? I worry about the second, the third and the last layer.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi there! I’ve never tried making this recipe in the pans you’ve specified so I can’t say with certainty how the recipe would turn out.

    1. Hi Regeena – I’ve never tried this recipe without the white vinegar, so I can’t guarantee what results you’ll get.

  53. I just tried this frosting on my husband’s birthday carrot cake and it is amazing!!! I have struggled for years trying to get a pipable cream cheese frosting and thanks to this recipe I nailed it! I followed the recipe exactly (including waiting two hours to get the cream cheese to room temp.), but don’t have a standing mixer with a paddle attachment. I followed the above suggestion using dough hooks on my hand held mixer, and that clearly worked. Also since I was a little nervous about my skills whipping double cream, I whipped it separately and then folded into the cream cheese mixture. Viola! Beautiful, thick, piped frosting. Thank you!!!!

  54. Hello! I’m super excited to try out this recipe for a surprise birthday party coming up! I just had one question. Can I make the frosting the night before and frost the following day? or will the frosting become too hard in the fridge?



  55. My husband absolutely loves this!! It has now became my tradition to make this for special occasions. I think with a bit less sugar, it would truly be delicious and taste the cream cheese flavor more. Getting ready to try this again! Thanks Kelly!!

  56. I’ve been using your pipe-able cream cheese recipe since last winter and it is by far a favourite. I had great success with getting a thick, stable frosting the very first time I made it, but since then have ended up with thin, running icing (though we eat it anyway!). I finally figured out what my problem was – I was overbeating the frosting after adding in the whipping cream. I saw the comment that said not to mix more than 5-7 minutes, but I had great success yesterday with only about 2 minutes of whipping. Hope that helps some others:)

  57. I made this today to top a carrot cake – best cream cheese frosting I’ve ever made thank you!! Followed your instructions exactly and turned out really thick and beautiful. I think the responses saying just to whip cream I on high for max 2 minutes are spot on

  58. The frosting worked perfectly for me I put my kitchen aid stand mixer on the highest speed for 3 minutes. Also I just dump all of the heavy whipping cream in at once. These cupcakes are very good!!!!!!!!!!

  59. Just tried the cream cheese frosting recipe…it was good. I had no trouble getting it to thicken up (be sure you are using 35% fat content or higher). The only thing I would say is that the cream cheese flavor in this recipe is a little bit overpowering for the delicate flavor of a red velvet cupcake. I will definitely use this recipe for other baked goods but will keep looking for the perfect cream cheese recipe for my cupcakes. Thanks for sharing!

  60. Does this frosting keep in the fridge? I need frosting for cupcakes for my brothers wedding and I want to make it a couple of days before. Thanks :)

    1. Hi Suzana! I’ve never kept it in the fridge for several days before using. It’ll definitely help firm it up, but you’ll want to test this all out prior to the wedding, of course!

  61. I was looking for a cream cheese frosting recipe that wasn’t over-loaded with sugar and this one was great! I frosted one of my sister’s wedding cakes with it and I got quite a few compliments about how delicious the frosting was!

  62. Thank you for posting this frosting recipe – it’s now a family favorite! The frosting whips right up on high (with a kitchenaid mixer using the whisk attachment) in about 2 minutes. I think it would “break” if I mixed it any longer than 5 minutes at the max. I also watched the video on Joy of Baking, which really helped.

  63. Hi Kelly, I very rarely leave negative/critical comments on recipes, but I do feel the need to chime in here. I tried this frosting recipe over the weekend and like many other commenters, my frosting wouldn’t firm up. I followed all the steps precisely, but it was still very runny. Luckily I had all the ingredients on hand for my normal vanilla buttercream, so the cupcakes for my baby’s first birthday still turned out great. PHEW. I did want to comment for a couple reasons. 1) Let this be a lesson to everyone – DON’T try a brand-new recipe for an important event 3 hours before the event! Stick with a tried-and-true recipe OR test the new recipe a couple days beforehand. 2) I’m a fellow foodblogger and pretty experienced cook/baker, and I still couldn’t get the frosting to firm up. I don’t think it’s necessarily the fault of Kelly’s recipe (and I’ve in fact had a ton of success with many of her other recipes, so I trust her in the kitchen) but rather can be particular to your individual brand of heavy cream, the humidity in the house, etc. Bummed that it didn’t turn out for me (because I’m now still on the search for an easily pipe-able cream cheese frosting), but I do think I’ll try it again in the future. I live in super humid Nashville, so I do wonder if the humidity may have played a part in it?

  64. I made these cakes they look very delicious, however when i made them they turned out very dry:( and not to my taste at all! Not impressed at all, expected way better. I followed the recipe exactly how it had been said in the method but not impressed at all. Too soggy, dry and not to my taste, because i didn’t enjoy the cake at all i didn’t bother with the frosting!

  65. This frosting looked so perfect, I had to try it, but I was nervous after seeing so many commenters having problems. The ONLY. Problem with this frosting is that is the most delicious concoction ever and I didn’t wanna put it on my cupcakes… I wanted to pipe it straight into my mouth! Thanks for the recipe! :-)

  66. Really interested in making these, but need it in grams do you know the conversion measurements?

  67. Hi Kelly, i tried this recipe for the cupcakes yesterday and it was amazing! Very most and just the right amount of sweetness.

    However, i tried the frosting today but it turned out runny. The whipping cream i used is the same cream i use when making whipped cream icing. I stream the cream and whip for 15 minutes and some more til i just gave up. :(

    But thank u for sharing this wonderful recipe!

    1. Hi Sydney! Thanks so much for your note. I think you may have whipped it too long. Was the heavy cream very cold and your mixer going at medium-high speed?

  68. Ive made this twice. The first time, the icing came out perfect – piped like a dream to puffy mounds of deliciousness. The next time, using the same brand of whipping cream, it didnt set. Luck of the draw with the whipping cream, I think.

  69. Hi Kelly..can I make a cake instead of cupcakes using the same recipe..if yes..then what should be the size of the mould? I have already tried making these cupcakes and they turned out really good…and the cream cheese frosting was just perfect…the swirls were intact for a week till they finally got over..thanks for this awesome recipe.

    1. Hi Manali – I’ve never tried making this recipe as a cake, so I can’t say for certain what size molds you should use. Two 9-inch layers may work best, with frosting spread in between and on top of the cake. So glad you enjoyed the frosting recipe!

  70. I just made these cupcakes. I have to say that I was disappointed. The cake was extremely dry and not very flavorful at all. The cream cheese frosting was unbelievably runny and needed much more sweetening. When I first made it according to the instructions, it was similar to the consistency of milk. I Then added more powdered sugar, and it was still very runny. Then I added two more cups of powdered sugar- and it was still extremely runny! I finally just refrigerated it for about 90 minutes, and it was slightly better. But when I went to pipe it onto the cupcakes, it all practically fell off of the cake! In the end, we ate the cupcakes that still had some frosting on them and they were mediocre. This could be a really good recipe if you modify the cake and the frosting.

  71. I get so much orders for red velvet cupcakes. I know the flavor is very popular in the states, but in Canada it has become popular just a few years ago. Cream cheese frosting is the best, but it is also good with vanilla frosting.

  72. I have never really been good with the frosting part of cupcakes, but I followed your recipe and put it on carrot cake cupcakes. It piped on great and the frosting held it’s shape for a week afterwards. (Until they were all gone lol). Everybody loved it!! I will be saving this recipe! :)

  73. I tried the frosting also. While I will admit it tastes pretty yummy, it WAS very runny, so I whipped extra cream separately then whisked it into the frosting for fluffiness. But my big disappointment is that it really doesn’t ‘save’. If you aren’t making this frosting recipe for a certain occasion, I do not recommend it. I made the cupcakes for just my family to eat, and there is no way that frosting is going to be good for more than a day or two. So pretty sure it will ruin the remaining cupcakes as it liquifies. It does have some of the classic cream cheese frosting taste to it, but…it just isn’t the same. Good for party day, not good for keeping.

    1. Thanks for your note! Because of the cream cheese in the frosting, you would need to store the frosted cupcakes in the fridge if you aren’t serving them until the next day.

  74. Mine turned out to be really thin and oily! And when I baked it it’s all lumpy and gooey and leaking out! it doesn’t look good at all! What am I supposed to do.?

    1. Hi Milly – I’m not sure why the cupcakes would turned out that way. Did you bake them at the specified temp and for the correct amount of time?

    1. Hi Zainab – I’ve never made this recipe with a hand mixer before, so you’ll just want to make sure you follow the instructions for how long to beat everything. Enjoy!

  75. These actually turned out really well for me! I had to Macgyver a little because I don’t have a functioning stand mixer so I ended up using the dough hook attachments on my hand mixer to whip up the cream cheese :D I was also a little worried since some people had said their frosting turned out runny so I actually whipped up the cream a good amount (until it was forming…I guess what would be called soft peaks) and then mixed it in with the cream cheese and sugar mix. Turned out perfect for my mothers birthday!! Thank you for the recipe!

  76. I made these cupcakes and followed the recipe exactly and the cakes came out really oily, is this normal?

    1. Hi Laura – No, the cupcake batter doesn’t result in an oily cake. It’s a very moist cupcake but it shouldn’t be oily. Did you follow the recipe exactly?

  77. Dear Kelly,
    Thank you for sharing your recipe.
    It was a hit, my girls loved the whipped cream cheese, it’s so light and the yummiest version ever. And the cupcake recipe was amazing. Thank you.

  78. Can I put food coloring in the cream cheese frosting to make it pink?
    or can I mix the cream cheese frosting & make a butter cream & mix the 2 together?
    thank you

    1. Hi Cheryl – I’ve never tried this recipe with cake flour, so I can’t say for certain if that would work.

  79. Hi everyone,

    Based on the split reviews with some people saying the frosting worked great and others saying it was too runny, I am sharing a link below to Joy of Cooking, which shows the frosting recipe being made:

    It’s important to use heavy whipping cream, rather than regular or light whipping cream, as the fat is what helps thicken the frosting. Please note how slowly it’s also added to the bowl.

    I hope this helps clarify the technique on the frosting recipe!

  80. Hello –
    I, too, followed this recipe to a ‘T’ and got a runny frosting. :-(
    I have a kitchenaid Professional 550 Stand Mixer. I whipped the very cold heavy whipping cream with my mixer in speed 10. Slowly pouring it on the side of the bowl while the whip mix at high speed.

    Do you have any idea if I can still salvage my current icing or do I just throw them away.

    One thing I want to clarify, do you beat the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar, in a separate bowl under ice until stiff and then cut and fold the creamed cream cheese?

    Really disappointed.

    1. Hi Maria – Thanks so much for your comment. Based on the split reviews on this recipe, I will be making it again this weekend and provide any updates.

  81. I’m with the others, this is unbelievably runny… I need it for tomorrow morning, not sure what I am going to do.

    1. Hi Jeri – Did you have the stand mixer going at medium-high speed while you slowly whisked in the heavy creamy? I think this may be the issue some are experiencing. The heavy cream has to whip quickly in order to hold its shape.

    1. Hi Ann – I’ve never tried this recipe with anything but heavy whipping cream, so I can’t say for certainty if that would work.

  82. Baked up a batch of these cupcakes and really looked forward to making the icing. Followed your directions to a tee. In spite of whipubg the mixture for over 12 minutes (in total) on my Kitchenaid, it just wouldn’t firm up. Tried all sorts of remedies, including adding for icing sugar and it’s still a runny messy. Even added some butter and cornstarch. Still runny. Totally unsuitable for piping. So, I’m afraid all my xpensive ingredients were wasted. And, my cupcakes are heading to the party naked.

    1. Hi Christine – I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the frosting recipe. I’ve made this recipe many times and always been able to pipe it. Did you stream the cold heavy cream in very slowly?

  83. Hi there

    This recipe sounds amazing and planning to use to make cupcakes for my little niece birthday party. Just a quick question, will the icing last if we leave it outside? I’m just imagining that this will be staying in the table and not the fridge during the day.


    1. Hi Maricar – You can leave the cupcakes out for an hour or so, but if it’s warm out, I definitely wouldn’t recommend it. The piped shape will last, but I’d rather be overly cautious on having dairy sit out, especially if little tummies are going to be eating the cupcakes :)

  84. I’ve debated posting this because I don’t want to seem unappreciative for all the hard work you do sharing your wonderful recipes with us, but the frosting didn’t work for me either. I followed the directions exactly and beat the frosting for 20 minutes before finally giving up. I piped it on the cupcakes anyway but it was liquidy and slid right off. I put them in the fridge overnight and they will be fine to serve but they didn’t hold their shape at all. I wonder if it will only work with a kitchen aid mixer?

    1. Hi Macy – I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the recipe. But you should whisk the frosting at medium-high speed for a max of 5 minutes. Was your machine at medium-high? If you whisk it too slowly, the frosting will be too thin, as the heavy cream won’t have a chance to thicken.

  85. Hi Kelly!! I followed the instructions as written. Not sure what made it so runny but I will definitely try it at least once more : ) Thx for replying!

  86. LOVED this recipe! The frosting is especially wonderful. I made it for my son and his friends for Valentine’s Day, and they had a blast sprinkling colored sugars, tiny silver balls, and other V-day sprinkles on top. Thanks for sharing that info about the cupcake liners, too. Mine bled through and looked terrible…

  87. Yes– not sure what went wrong? I switched the paddle to the whisk when I added the cold heavy whipping cream. Oh well! I always have some baking crisis when prepping for a party…

    1. That’s so odd, Angie. Not sure what the issue could’ve been but you could try increasing the speed of the mixer so the heavy cream whips/thickens faster?

  88. I also tried the icing recipe for cupcakes– after “beating with whisks” for 10 minutes, I conceded… A runny icing! I followed the recipe exactly, with cold whipping cream. I may put in fridge, but worry that I it does pipe, when I serve them for a party, the will begin to “melt”. Thoughts?

    1. Hi Angie – You can put the frosting in the fridge and it’ll definitely firm up. Did you stream in the cold heavy cream and have the whisk attachment on your stand mixer?

  89. Yes, I used heavy whipping cream and it was straight out of the fridge. I thought the “frosting” tasted too much like whipped cream and not enough like cream cheese as well.

  90. Tried these for Valentine’s Day. The frosting was more liquidy than any other recipe I’ve ever tried, despite following directions and beat at high speed for several minutes. Pretty disappointed.

    1. Hi Megan – I’m sorry you didn’t like the recipe. I’ve made this frosting many times and it’s never been runny. It’s very thick and stiff. Did you definitely use heavy cream? And was it cold?

  91. Hi I was just wondering if I were to make the frosting the same day as the cupcakes should I keep them refrigerated or could I leave them on the counter. I usually don’t refrigerate my cakes, so would you recommend just frosting them the day they will be eaten

    1. Either works! But to make sure the frosting doesn’t soften or melt at all, keep them in a cool, dry place, or just pop them in the fridge.

  92. By the comments it looks to me that you would store the cupcakes in the frig, correct?? I just don’t want spoiled cupcakes! Thanks!

  93. Does the frosting HAVE to be served immediately? I am wanting to make the frosting and cupcakes the night before and serve it the next day. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Kassidy – You can make the cupcakes and frost them but store them in the fridge overnight. Or, make the frosting, store it in the fridge and then frost the cupcakes the next day. Hope that helps!

  94. they look wonderful and I am a big butter/cream cheese icing user and would love to try your recipe, but here is my dilemma. I don’t have a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or whisk attachment :( boohoo. I do have a cheap stand mixer with beaters though!! Do you think it would still work? Thanks for all your insight!

  95. This is the love!!!
    When you say powdered sugar, do you mean icing sugar? Or just regular sugar which is finely powered. Sorry I’m fairly new at this.

  96. Loved the presentation, it helps beginners a great deal!
    Could you please tell me which brand of cream cheese and heavy cream to use? I tried couple of times with cream cheese spread but it didnt set well.

    1. Thanks, Kiran! It’s just regular ol’ cream cheese (NOT the low fat version) and I just used basic heavy cream, but make sure it’s cold. You have to whip it long enough to the point where stiff peaks form. Hope that helps!

  97. Hi, thanks for the recipt. My daughter always asks for red cake I’m gonna try this one tomm. By the way what is the exact amount of cream cheese needed for the frosting?

  98. These cupcakes are so beautiful!! I need to try your cream cheese frosting with heavy cream. That swirl is to die for :)

  99. So very pretty! These cupcakes sound amazing and the cream cheese frosting just makes it even more amazing!

  100. Made a Red Velvet Cake for my Mum last year for mothers day or her birthday its one of her favourites
    So l’ll have to try this recipe for her her special day They look so nice love the icing

  101. Look at that perfectly piped frosting! Absolutely gaw-geous, Kelly. Red velvet is my favorite… a total classic!

  102. Piped perfection, Kelly! These look delicious. Love the whipped cream ingredient in the
    frosting…who would have thought?

    1. Thanks so much, Noma! The heavy cream really does wonders and makes the tangy frosting so light and fluffy :)

  103. I made a strawberries and cream cake a few weeks ago with a similar cream cheese frosting and I was in love, so delicious. I have been yearning to make something with that frosting again and this might just be it! These cupcakes are stunning, the frosting swirls couldn’t be more perfect!!

  104. I thought I was the only one who trouble piping cream cheese frosting! This recipe looks perfect though – pinned!!

  105. The picture of the paddle attachment oozing red velvet batter looks like an episode of Dexter haha. Those cupcakes just look absolutely perfect, great recipe and tips!

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  106. Red velvet is always good, but the cream cheese frosting is always the winner in this relationships! Those wrappers are adorable!

  107. So adorable and they look delicious! Love the cupcake liner and how the cake doesn’t show through, is it foil on the inside? Do you have a good source for good quality lines?
    Thanks or sharing your tips, will be making these for Valentines day! :)