Blue velvet cupcakes

Ohai, cupcakes.

I’m kind of at a loss for words with these. Can you imagine how good they were by looking at the pictures? Because let me assure you… they were BETTER than whatever you’re thinking.

Kiddo and I wanted to do something lovely for our local police force because they are awesome. They always take the time to say hi to Kiddo and all the other kids when they’re cruising our neighborhood, they do all they can to help with the issue of our neighbor’s dog that will. not. quit. barking. ever. and they solved both lame crimes of which we’ve been a victim in the last year. They’re awesome. So what better for the boys in blue than blue velvet cupcakes?

I found this recipe at the incredible Sprinkle Bakes. Aren’t those great? She was SO helpful in helping me adapt the recipe to the food coloring I had to that perfect Cookie Monster shade of blue she showcases. It’s exactly what I wanted them to look like! She adapted her cupcake recipe from Paula Deen’s recipe; I adapted it with Sprinkle Bake’s help only to use all gel food coloring. The frosting is all Sprinkle Bakes.

A note on gel food coloring: this Wilton gel is what I used; I got mine at Joann, and I believe I’ve seen it at Michael’s as well. The ready to use gel icing for cookie and cake decorating (like this) is not the same thing, and will not get you the color you’re looking for.

Blue velvet cupcakes

Yield: I got 26 cupcakes out of this


For the cupcakes
    • 2 cups sugar
    • Β½ pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
    • 1 Tbsp Wilton royal blue gel food coloring
    • 1 small dab of violet gel food coloring (I dipped in a toothpick and used that much)
    • 2 Β½ cups cake flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • Β½ teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 tablespoon vinegar
For the frosting
  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (I hate sifting; I whir it up in the food processor instead to aerate and get lumps out)


Make the cupcakes
    1. Preheat your oven to 350 F and line cupcake pans with liners
    2. Cream sugar and butter in mixing bowl till light and fluffy, then add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg
    3. Mix cocoa and food coloring together to make a paste — this took a while to mix thoroughly with all gel, but it came together nicely; add this paste to sugar mixture and mix well again
    4. Sift (or buzz in food processor) flour and salt, and add to creamed mixture a bit at a time, alternating with buttermilk, then mix in vanilla
    5. Combine baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl and add to cake batter; mix just to combine
    6. Scoop thick batter into cupcake liners, filling about 2/3 full, and bake for probably 25-30 minutes, but start checking at 20 — mine were done at about the 22/23 minute mark; watch for toothpick inserted in center to come out clean
    7. Remove cupcakes from oven and allow cool completely on a wire rack
Now make frosting!
  1. Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla with electric mixer until nice and smooth

Frosting time! I use a giant star tip from Bake it Pretty, or The Place I Could Spend All My Monies (and the stardust). I dusted on a little edible blue glitter on top because hey, why not.

186 thoughts on “Blue velvet cupcakes

  1. My two sons would love Blue Velvet Cupcakes! I’m sure my daughter would too, lol. But blue is so cool for boys! Such a good idea to make them for your local police force! Love the last pic as well.

  2. That last photo is simply stunning. LOVE the black and white background that contrasts the color of the cupcake so well. And that is the PERFECT shade of blue!

  3. I had never thought about making blue cupcakes, but these look so fun will have to give it a try some time.

    This would be awesome for a school bake sale…I can just hear little kids gasping and oohing and awing over them.

    Thanks for sharing them with us!

  4. Wow, what a beautiful blue. Think it would work with green food coloring? I’m thinking Green Velvet cupcakes for Saint Patty’s day…

  5. And so ..
    How about a deep purple? Turquoise? Stark white?
    Is there a black cake? One that did not take so long in the oven and burnt? I hope to see more colors! πŸ™‚

  6. These made me chuckle. When I was about 7 years old, on an overnight at my grandmother’s house I baked a cake and colored it liberally with blue food coloring, cake as well as frosting. I thought it was absolutely beautiful. My grandma soon set me straight, however. She just looked at that cake, shook her head and said, “Oh Honey, people don’t eat blue food.” I believed her and to this day, over 50 years later, I still can’t bring myself to eat blue food. These cupcakes are so pretty they could almost (but not quite) change my ways!

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  8. I made these AWESOME cupcakes last night. My daughter took one to a friend a school this morning and her friend actcually sang a song to the cupcake. YUM!

  9. I was VERY excited to try the blue velvet. My dad’s 90th (yes, 9-0!) birthday celebration will be open to the whole world (or at least his small town!). We decided to do about 300 cupcakes for the celebration. I absolutely refused to anything red, especially with white icing, because my dad (like most of my family) graduated from Auburn University and we are orange and blue. Our cross-state rivals are red and white. One problem… blue velvet turned out more turquoise. Any idea what happened?
    Wait, you made 300 of these cupcakes? You are a SUPERSTAR!!! Not sure about the turquoise issue — did you add the little drop of violet coloring? ~Erin

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  11. I made these cupcakes! Color was AWESOME, taste was great. (I frosted them with regular buttercream.) But I have officially renamed them the “Blue Poo” cupcakes. Just to warn you πŸ™‚

  12. Oh my word! I love these!!!! And the fact you made them for your local police warms my heart! My hubby is a police officer and it is so nice to see people who actually appreciate them! Going to have to make a batch to send with him to work!
    Oh do it! They made perfect copcakes. πŸ˜‰ It’s about time for us to make another batch over here too! ~ Erin

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  15. Beautiful! We made these tonight and alas they came out tasting like muffins, not cupcakes. I am sure we must have done something wrong, we are not experts. Wondering though if anyone else had this issue and if they know what we did wrong?

  16. These turned out perfect!! I accidentally added the coco powder and food coloring directly into the batter instead of mixing the two and then adding it, but it didn’t seem to make a difference. And I used malt vinegar because I was out of any kind of white vinegar. Blue is my favorite color so I HAD to try these. The whole family loves them!!

  17. I found you today at Remodelholic. These cupcakes are so funny and cute. They would be perfect for Chanakah. I’m not Jewish but I’d love to share this in my blog in Early December. If that is ok with you (I’ll give you credit).
    Well sure! thanks for asking! πŸ™‚ ~Erin

    • Katherine–OMG! you are soooo right! they would be GREAT for Chanukah! i WILL be making these! thank you for the great suggestion.

  18. Oh my gosh! I am a high school teacher, and our school colors are blue & white. We have a cupcake club that raises money for wonderful charities and local organizations benefits. I am TOTALLY going to bake these this school year to sell at our bake sales! Thanks so much ❀

  19. I am so glad that I came across this! These are beautiful and the blue color is an absolutely PERFECT match to my best friend’s wedding color! I’m her MOH and baking her wedding & bridal shower cakes and I would love to make the inside of her bridal shower cake this color! Thank you!

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  22. OMG! I love this… I will definitely try and make some, very soon.
    This is a red velvet recipe, right? but used blue coloring instead? I have a different recipe with oil added, would that make a difference with the blue coloring?

  23. Cant wait to try these. I am making them for my daughters baby shower and yes its a boy, her 4th boy. so heres hoping they are as amazing in taste as the picture projects them to be. ill let you know. glow

  24. I’m actually making these for my friend’s 20th birthday.

    I have a question…
    In step to you say “Cream sugar and butter…” what do you mean by cream? Do you mean the buttermilk? Because further down you talk about the butter milk. Also, I see no cream in your recipe, so what do you mean?

  25. It’s my friend’s 20th birthday and I’m trying to make these cupcakes a little last minute. I was wondering, on step 2 you say “Cream sugar and butter…” what is the cream? I don’t see it in your recipe, and it’s not the butter milk because that’s not until step 4.

    Also, I had a hard time finding food coloring. My aunt ended up just picking up normal food coloring. It’s liquid not gel will this still work?

  26. Oh, thank you very much. I feel a little like an idiot. I’ve just recently got into baking, so I’m very newb, and this is the first time I’m doing it from scratch.

  27. I’m using your recipe this week to make my best friend’s bridal shower cake. I’m guilty of only ever using boxed cake mixes and this will be the first time I’ve made one from scratch. Will it make a huge difference if I use all-purpose flour rather than cake flour? I’m honestly not really sure what the difference is. Please help!

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    • Ooh what a fun idea! I would definitely use gel food coloring for that because it would probably take quite a bit to get a good, vibrant color. Do you have a Joann, Michael’s or Hobby Lobby near you where you can find Wilton gel coloring? I’d start with a Tbsp. or orange and go from there, adding more if you need it.

    • The only food/icing colors I have or use is Americolor. Thats what I use for my cakes that I make. Can I use those? I am an hour away from Michaels or Hobby Lobby…Live in a small town…

    • The orange coloring has turned out great! I hope they taste as good as they look. I still have to ice them but not too bad for my first non-cakemix cupcake! Oh I picked up some fall sprinkles to have on top to give it the right Thanksgiving look!
      Thanks for the idea!

  29. I made these today for my sons Superhero party BUT the tops were hard as a rock. I cooked them for 20 minutes and the cake was super dense. Any thoughts. They were a bit time consuming (I have 3 kids so most things are time consuming for me lol) but I think if they weren’t so hard they would be awesome!

  30. These look awesome…and so is the reason for coming up w/ this recipe!! Thank you for thinking of those that protect and serve. I have just started a small home baking business and will be donating a part of my profits to the local chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors, married to a retired officer and have family in law enforcement. I will be using this recipe, that is, if it is ok w/ you!

  31. This cake worked well for my son’s Thomas the Train cake for his birthday. I did make some changes which made it better. I only used 1.5 C of sugar, increased cocoa power to 2T, increased the bakin soda form 1/2tsp to 2tsp(it made it rise up better), I added 1/2tsp of coconut flavor and I added 1/2 cup more of flour. This made it have more flavor and the kids liked it much better.

  32. I made them last tuesday for a birthdayparty, and they where yummy!! everyone loved them!! I wil definitely be making these again:)

  33. I made these last year and they were well enjoyed amongst friends. The shade of blue was the quintessential cookie monster blue and made it so much fun to put together from start to finish. The cream cheese frosting went really well with the cake and it was an experience to eat them.

  34. IDK what I did wrong on the frosting but it is not “frosting like” I have made cream cheese frosting before and it was stiff like frosting but mine turned out like a batter. Maybe the butter? I used salted sweet cream butter. It still tastes great just doesn’t look like frosting and its off white.

  35. How many does this make? I am helping out with a boy baby shower this weekend and wanted to make these. The theme is Blue Green and Brown so Blue Velvet Cupcakes will be perfect.

  36. Is this recipe the same as a boxed cake mix? I am interested in making a tiered cake for a baby shower. Would I have to double the recipe?

  37. I will use your tip to get the color blue that you show. I make these for Penn State tailgating in the fall – blue velvet cupcakes with White Out icing!

  38. You say Wilton royal blue gel food coloring…just got home with all the ingredients and the gel says “decorating gel”. Is that the same thing or does it need to say food coloring? It does say royal blue!

  39. I’d like to use this recipe to make cookie monster cupcakes, thing is, I need the cupcake to “puff up” so I can make a cm head and stick a cookie in it. If I fill the liners higher will they get a nice dome on top that I can cut into and stick a cookie in?

  40. Hi Erin

    I dont have the wilton colouring gel can i use the wilton icing colour instead. For your kind advise please. Thanks!

  41. Thanks for ur reply. Is it the same measurement as 1 Tbsp coloring gel and 1 dap of violet? or i have to add lesser for the wilton icing colour? sorry for my ignorance question. Rgds

  42. what i mean is should i use the same amount for the colouring gel 1 TBsp coz what i have is wilton icing colours Royal blue concentrated paste – should i follow exactly the recipe call for coz it concentrated paste. sorry to make you confused

  43. Thanks Erin! I made this BV cupcakes it turns out well taste is perfect the texture of the CC is moist colour is vibrant. Love it!

  44. Where do you find the coloring gel? I would love to try and make these for our wedding rehearsal dinner but live in a small town and am not quite sure where to find it. You help would be greatly appreciated!

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  46. Wow, amazing color, and so delicious!! I made these for my own birthday, since blue is my favorite color and our Vancouver Canucks were playing that night. I used green sprinkles on top and called them Canuck-cakes; they were a hit with my kids and family–shocked everyone with the color when you bite into them, awesome!!

  47. OMG! These look amazing.
    I attempted and it was a disaster. Not only are they not blue, they are more like muffins. And sunk in the middle!! I am by no means a professional, but I do bake from scratch. I used a whole tube of blue icing, and dab of violet, an they came out tan?!?! I did use AP flour instead of Cake flour, can that account for all of my problems? I saw your post to use cornstarch. I will try again, because I really want to make these. Thanks!

    • Oh no! I’m so sorry it was a disaster. The cake flour/cornstarch bit will definitely help the texture be more cake-ey than muffin-ey. I’m not sure what to tell you about the color — did you use gel? As far as the falling in the middle, it could be caused by the heavier AP flour, could be over-mixing the batter, or could be that your oven runs cooler than it thinks; those are the usual culprits. I hope the second time’s the charm! Please let me know. πŸ™‚

    • I had the same problem as Melissa. My cupcakes came out Tan and sank in the middle. I used all of the correct ingredients i.e.1 tube Wiltons decorating gel mixed with 1 tbs of Hershey cocoa powder with a dab of velvet…also gel…Cake flour, I specifically purchased all the correct ingredients to make these. I hand sifted/ mixed everything. Is the recipe missing steps that maybe some of us don’t realize that we are supposed to be doing? I have a very pregnant woman flying in to visit for the weekend and I want her to be greeted with blue cupcakes to commemorate her baby boy. They taste good but are not blue.

      I am going to try again tomorrow. I don’t know what to do differently. I followed the steps exactly as they are written. I feel like i am either performing or not performing an unwritten step in this recipe. Probably due to my ignorance in baking from scratch. At what point should I see blue batter? As soon as i mix the gel into the sugar mix? Is the gel/cocoa mix supposed to be blue?

      Please help.

    • Hi there! When you say a tube of food coloring gel, I’m wondering if you have the wrong thing. Did you see β€œA note on gel food coloring” at the end of the post? Follow those links and see what I mean β€” you’re looking for a little jar of food coloring, not the tube of ready to use gel. That should fix your issues!

  48. Hi, I actually got this from sprinkle bakes. I just got a kitchaid stand mixer today and wanted to try and make these. I bake from scratch all the time but I’ve never used a stand mixer before. I was def a little slow getting it together. I baked in two batched the first batch was sunk in. I watched the 2nd batch. They raised up beautifully and then one by one fell. 😦 I followed the sprinkle recipe which only calls for 2 cups of the flour instead of 2 1/2 but for the life of me idk what I did wrong.

    • Hi there! My immediate guess is over-mixing with that shiny new mixer! πŸ™‚ Those Kitchenaid mixers are crazy efficient and you may have over-beaten the batter. As SOON as everything is combined in the end cut off the mixer — see if that helps?

  49. Wow I was just thinking about this, decided to Google and I found this!! Brilliant.. I am going to try them out tonight!! To answer someone else’s question.. yes u can use black food coloring and a bit of licorice flavor and u have divine licorice cupcakes!!!

  50. So glad I found these on Pinterest! I am throwing a surprise Doctor Who party and these look TARDIS blue. MUCH easier than trying to make a TARDIS cake.
    Had trouble finding gel food coloring. Wilton does not make it anymore that I can see. Will try the decorating gel someone else mentioned. Thanks!

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  52. Hi!! =) My school is having a cupcake war and I want to make these for the fundraiser, but I don’t have a standmixer, do you think I can mix it well enough by hand? Thanks. =)

  53. Erin,
    I made these last April for my granddaughter. She wanted blue cupcakes with orange frosting and after scouring the internet, I found this recipe. They turned out great and with the orange frosting looked awesome. I am making them again and couldn’t fine the Wilton color and bought Americolor. Would you reccomend on cutting back a little on the buttermilk? Americolor is not as liquidy(is that a word?haha) as the kind you get in the grocery store but it is definitely not a gel. Also, your frosting looks beautiful in the picture. Is it holding its shape so well because you chilled it in the fridge first? If so, does that mean after frosting these the will need to be refridgerated? I fear this because I don’t want the cake to be hard(I always feel that cake is it’s softest when at room temperature). Thank you so much for this great recipe!

    • Hi Cindy! Yes, I declare liquidy a word (my spell check is arguing that with me). πŸ™‚ I would maybe cut the buttermilk by a Tbsp. or so, but shouldn’t be much. Thank you, re: the frosting! I actually think it’s holding its shape so well because of the awesome decorating tips I use — I didn’t chill the frosting first.
      I hear that cream cheese frosting does have to be refrigerated, and better safe than sorry and all. When I made these for a bake sale I made the cupcakes, wrapped them snugly in saran wrap and then foil and froze them. The day of the bake sale I thawed them still wrapped at room temperature, then frosted them, and they tasted great. Could you maybe frost them at the last minute?
      ~ Erin

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  57. These look so nice! I am going to make them for my husbands Air Force retirement ceremony. I wanted blue cupcakes with white icing. This is perfect!

  58. My daughter’s All star softball team’s colors are blue white and silver. I was trying to fond some blue cupcakes to make for the girls tournament tonight because when I have attempted blue cupcakes before, the blue just wasn’t what I was looking for. Your tip for the violet in the blue, GENIUS!!! Got the right hue of blue I was looking for. I love them! Thank you so much. I am adding some silver luster dust to the frosting to give them the extra special touch and they will hopefully be a hit with the kids and the parents! Thank you again.

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  63. Hello! I made these cupcakes this morning to “practice” before I make them for my sisters baby shower. We’ll the icing was great, but the cupcakes needed some help. I don’t typically bake from scratch so I’m sure it’s something I did…they didn’t rise like I would’ve hoped, and where it did rise above the liner it ended up touching the pan and became very hard on the edges (I only baked for 22 mins at 350). I admit I didn’t use cake flour (I will next time), should I try either adding more baking soda or perhaps even some baking powder. Or any other tips would be appreciated especially about how to avoid the hard edges. Thank you!!

    • Hi Leslie! I think that just using the cake flour will make a huge difference for you — it makes the batter so much lighter that it’s easier to rise. The only other thing I can think of is to make sure your oven is well preheated (mine always takes longer than it says!).

      Let me know if that helps, and congrats on your upcoming niece or nephew!

  64. Hi I am going to try and make your cakes for a friends baby shower just wondered when you put sugar in the ingredients is that caster sugar thanks x

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  67. I just baked these, and followed the instructions. Except I used apple cider vinegar instead, since I didn’t have white vinegar. Everything looked right, until I baked them. It took longer to finish. And they didn’t rise like a regular cupcake, are they supposed to? When I took them out of the oven, they collapsed.

  68. Hi. I’ve been meaning to make something blue ever since I bought a bottle of bright blue food coloring. It’s liquid. So can you please tell me how exactly to adjust the recipe for liquid food color. And how much of color to use?
    Also, can I use this recipe to make a cake?

    • I haven’t tried it with liquid, so I’m not totally sure! With traditional red velvet cakes, recipes typically call for the whole bottle of food coloring (seriously). You might want to take out some of the buttermilk to adjust for the liquid, but not much — a couple tablespoons maybe?. You might just have to go all mad scientist in the kitchen and do some experimenting!

      For making it a cake, just use two round cake pans. Bake at 350F still, and start checking them around 25 minutes in to see if they’re done. Good luck!

  69. My batter came out tan as well! When you say to use gel coloring- do you mean the small tubes of “decorating gel” or is it coloring in a jar?
    I used the tubes and never got a blue color. Can I add something more to it to fix?

  70. This is my go to recipe for every birthday cake/cupcake I make for ‘red velvet’. I either change the color or omit it for a great cake that everyone loves… Love it!

  71. I tried this recipe last night! I used half of everything because its my first time and all I can say is that this recipe is AMAZEBALLS! I added an ounce of rum to the frosting and it came out divine! Thank you for sharing. Now I am goog to check out your site since I found the recipe on Pinterest!

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  74. Hi, my name is Jeanne Rose from Dubai and I am fun of velvet cupcakes. When I came across your blog I was so amazed with your Blue velvet cupcake. I wanna try this at my home but the thing is when I checked this in the supermarket this one item wasn’t available here (Wilton royal blue gel food coloring). Could advise if I can use some other brand of food coloring. I would love to try this! Thank you.

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  76. Hi,

    First time I attempted to make these cupcakes and I don’t know what I did wrong? Baking tips would be greatly appreciated, my cupcakes came out dense, hard, and a bit raw after 30 min in the oven. I did use all ingredients listed (cake flour – yes). When creaming the butter and sugar, are you supposed to cream the sugar alone first until it’s fluffy then slowly add in the sugar? I didn’t do that but read you’re supposed to. I creamed them together and it came out really textured like mashed potatoes lol. I used granulated sugar and left the butter out for a few hours before creaming. And I used a hand mixer.

  77. I made these cupcakes on more than one occasion. I would strongly recommend cutting back on how much Wilton’s food dye is used. A whole tablespoon is A LOT! The tiny jars only hold about 3 tablespoons and to dye a pound of fondant only takes a few drops.

    The result when I used the recommended 1 tablespoon….

    Let’s just say the toilet water wasn’t blue because of a 2000 Flushes tablet.

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