These red velvet cheesecake cupcakes have a cheesecake filling and a decadent cream cheese frosting. They are quick and easy to make and are the perfect Valentine’s Day treat!
Topped with sprinkles and a swirl of cream cheese frosting, this Red Velvet Cheesecake Cupcake recipe has a creamy cheesecake surprise filling.
After some grueling research (LOL) and taste testing, I have some answers for you.
What is a red velvet cake?
Ok so before when I asked if it was chocolate or vanilla- the answer is its both. There is cocoa powder and vanilla extract in all red velvet cake recipes.
The reason it’s so special or different is because it has a combination of ingredients in it that most other cakes don’t- buttermilk and vinegar.
When buttermilk and vinegar react in a red velvet cake batter it brings out the redness of the cocoa- and that’s why they call it red velvet cake. To make the color brighter and more saturated, most recipes call for an additional red food coloring. You don’t actually need it for taste, it’s just there to sit still and look pretty.
With valentines day coming up, I immediately thought about making something red velvet but wanted to make it a little more fun. So I came up with these cheesecake filled red velvet cupcakes.
Ingredients you will need:
For the cupcake batter:
- all purpose flour
- cocoa powder
- kosher salt
- baking soda
- vegetable or canola oil
- white granulated sugar
- vanilla extract
- red food coloring
- white vinegar
For the cream cheese filling:
- cream cheese
- sour cream
- white granulated sugar
- all purpose flour
- kosher salt
For the cream cheese frosting:
- more cream cheese
- confectioner sugar
- vanilla extract
How to make Red Velvet Cheesecake Cupcakes:
Firstly, it’s best if your ingredients are all at room temperature. It makes the ingredients easier to combine and will make for a fluffier cupcake. Also its kind of hard to cream cream cheese if you have just taken it out of the fridge. Trust me I’ve tried it haha.
You can either make this recipe by hand or with a stand mixer. First measure and whisk your dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda) in a medium sized bowl.
Next either in another bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer- add the oil and sugar and whisk or mix for two minutes until the mixture is pale yellow and frothy. Add in the eggs, vanilla extract, and red food coloring and mix away again.
Now time to alternate between adding in the flour and buttermilk and ending with that little bit of vinegar.
The batter should be smooth and really red!
Fill 2 cupcake pans with 18 cupcake liners and fill 1/2 of the way full. I used a tablespoon for this part. Then set them aside to make the cheesecake filling.
How to make the cheesecake filling:
In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, flour, and salt and mix. It’s totally fine if its a little lumpy!
Now fill your cupcakes:
Take 1/2 teaspoon and place a dollop (hehe I love that word I don’t know why!) of cheesecake filling on top and in the center of the cupcake filling. Try to keep it in the middle, so that the cupcake bakes around the filling. If it gets on the side, thats fine, they will still be good but they just won’t look as pretty.
Cover the filling with a little more red velvet batter, just enough to cover the filling so you can’t see it anymore.
Bake at 350° for 16 minutes.
While the cupcakes are baking, make the cream cheese frosting.
How to make cream cheese frosting:
You will need a mixer for this. Combine the cream cheese, butter, and confectioners sugar in the bowl of a mixer. Mix on low at first so that the confectioners sugar doesn’t blow up in your face. Also talking from experience here. Gradually bring it up in speed, and add in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the bowl if you see its not mixing well, then continue to mix.
Usually frosting recipes call for milk or half n half to thin it out, but in this case I left it out so that the cream cheese frosting would be able to pipe. Because the cream cheese is the main component here and because it has the tendency to melt a little, its hard to find a pipeable cream cheese frosting but I have some tips on how to make it work!
Tips on making pipeable cream cheese frosting:
- Refrigerate the frosting after you make it
- Pipe it when it’s cold
- To retain the shape, refrigerate the cupcakes until it’s time to serve
- I used a 1M wilton tip to pipe these cupcakes
Cupcake decorating ideas:
- If you don’t want or don’t know how to pipe these, you can always spread some frosting on them and then dip them in sprinkles.
- Top with frosting, crumble up a cupcake and use the crumbs as decoration!
- Pipe them with a different tip and then sprinkle!
Making ahead and storing the cupcakes:
You can totally make these cupcakes completely a day or two in advance, or you can make the cupcakes and frosting separately in advance and pipe them the day you need them.
Store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you leave them out at room temperature the frosting will lose their shape a little but it won’t melt completely down, So as long as they are not outside they should be fine.
If you would rather a different frosting you can try this classic American buttercream frosting which is great for piping, or you can try this chocolate buttercream. Oooh or try this white chocolate buttercream– any of these would be great on these red velvet cheesecake cupcakes!
Red Velvet Cheesecake Cupcakes
- 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs large
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon red food coloring
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
Cream Cheese Filling
- ½ cup or 4 oz cream cheese softened
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ tablespoon all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 8 oz package cream cheese softened
- ½ cup butter softened
- 3 cups confectioner sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350° F and line two cupcake tins with 18 cupcake liners.
- In a medium sized bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda and whisk to combine.
- In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, add the oil and sugar, and whisk to combine or mix on low until frothy about 30 seconds.
- Add in the eggs one at a time, and continue to mix until frothy and light yellow in color. Add the vanilla extract and food coloring and mix till evenly combined.
- Next alternate adding in the dry ingredients with the buttermilk starting with 1/3rd of the dry ingredients, then half of the buttermilk, alternating and ending with the dry ingredients.
- Add in the white vinegar, mix to combine evenly and fill the cupcake liners up halfway. A tablespoon helps here!
- Set the cupcake tin aside and make the cheesecake filling.
- Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, flour, and salt in a small bowl and mix until combined. It’s ok if there are lumps! Add ½ teaspoon of filling to the center of each cupcake and then top with a little extra batter just to cover the filling.
- Bake the cupcakes for 16-18 minutes. They are done when the tops are springy and no longer jiggle.
- Now make the cream cheese frosting- In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the cream cheese, butter, and confectioners sugar. Turn the mixer on low, scraping down the sides as needed. Gradually pick up the speed as the sugar gets mixed in.
- Add in the vanilla extract and beat on medium to high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy.
- Pipe onto cool cupcakes or store them in the fridge!