Spelt Red Velvet Cupcakes with cream cheese icing

Spelt Red Velvet Cupcakes with cream cheese icing

Spelt red velvet cupcakes are a classic British treat that is light and fluffy with a cream cheese frosting. My spelt red velvet cupcakes are slightly healthier than using wheat flour, and they are not too sweet, made with spelt flour and topped with a simple not too sweet cream cheese icing. In my video tutorial, I bake the same recipe with real buttermilk and soured oat milk. I would say both tasted good, both with a velvet-like texture. However, real buttermilk does improve the taste and texture marginally. You can only tell by doing a taste test side by side. If you can't get hold of buttermilk or prefer non-dairy milk, then use the alternative homemade buttermilk version; you will still enjoy red velvet cupcakes. I have also successfully made this recipe vegan. I replaced the eggs with flax eggs, the butter with non-dairy butter and using my homemade oat buttermilk. Red velvet cupcakes are always super impressive, yet they are simple to make in 20 minutes and only 20 minutes to bake.

Takes = 20 minutes
Bakes = 15 to 20 minutes
Makes = 12 to 16 cupcakes

Fun Facts about the History of the Red Velvet Cake

  • Red velvet cake is in the top ten of the worlds most popular cakes.
  • Originally beetroot was used to turn the cake red instead of food colouring.
  • Is the Red Velvet cake British or American? The true origin is unknown. Some reports say it was the Waldorf Astoria Hotel that made it famous in the 1930s. Southern Americans claim it hailed from their area. It has gained popularity in the 20th century.
  • The reason it is called Red Velvet Cake is that the texture of the cake is smooth and soft like velvet
  • Some shops that sell red velvet cupcakes, cookies, layered cakes, pancakes, ice cream and even lattes.
  • What is the secret tips behind making the Red Velvet cake moist? From my tests, I believe it is the combination of buttermilk and vinegar. Real buttermilk does give the cake a better taste and texture.
  • What gives the velvety and smooth texture. Not over beating the batter.


  • Sifted White Spelt Flour (or your choice) – 165g (about 1.25  cups)
  • Sifted Cocoa powder – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – 1/8 tsp
  • Red food gel (*pro gel brand) – 1-2 tsp
  • Unsalted butter (dairy free for vegan) – 150g
  • Caster sugar – 150g (3/4 cup)
  • Baking Soda/ bicarbonate of soda – 1 tsp
  • Vanilla extract – 3/4 tsp
  • White vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar – 1/2 tsp
  • Eggs  – 2
  • Buttermilk or Homemade Buttermilk*  – 125ml (about 1/2 cup) + 1/2 tbsp lemon juice (leave this out if using real buttermilk)

Cream Cheese Icing (don't have this too soft)

  • Cream cheese – 180g
  • Maple Syrup or agave, honey or brown rice syrup – 1 teaspoon
  • Sifted Icing Sugar (optional) – 3-4 tbsp


Step 1
PREHEAT oven 160˚C fan, 180˚C, and add paper liners to your 12 cup muffin tray

Step 2 (skip this if you can buy fresh buttermilk)
ADD vinegar or lemon juice to milk (oat milk works too) and rest for 10 minutes or use fresh buttermilk.

Step 3 reverse creaming method
WHISK flour, cocoa, sugar, butter, baking soda, salt and red food gel. Mix until fully incorporated. Then add in vinegar and vanilla. Then add eggs 1 x 1.

Step 4
ADD half of the buttermilk, then scrape and then the other half. Mix on medium for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Combine until smooth but do not over mix.

Step 5
SCOOP out 1/4 cup or 1 ice cream scoop approx. of batter prepared paper liners.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the skewer comes out clean.
Cool for 45 minutes before icing.

Cream Cheese Icing Method

  1. WHISK all ingredients until smooth and fluffy
  2. USE a spatula to add onto a slightly cooled cupcakes. If your cakes have risen a little you could slice off the top and use that to crumble on top of the icing for decoration.

Sue Maree P Baking Tips

  • BUTTERMILK – to make your own buttermilk at home add 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice, white vinegar or apple cider vinegar to milk. Regular milk tends to coagulate more than oat milk, but if I don't have regular milk I swap it for oat milk (I often use this)
  • *RED FOOD COLOURING – I prefer 'pro gel' or a very strong red food gel. I only used 1 tsp and achieved a vibrant red colour. I tried Dr Oetker with the same amount and the cake turned out brown. In my video I had another brand I had bought on Amazon, I needed more red food colouring to achieve the perfect red colour. I still prefer Pro Gel.
  • FLOUR – no spelt flour it will work perfectly with plain flour. I haven't tried this recipe with self-raising flour.  
  • VEGAN – I have adapted this recipe to make it vegan as well. Replace eggs with 2 flax eggs, replace the butter with a non-dairy butter and make homemade buttermilk with oat milk.