Red Velvet/Cheesecake Marbled Cupcakes

red velvet and cheesecake cupcake

We did the taste test of all taste tests yesterday. I made Red Velvet cupcakes twice, once with beets for the red color and once with the red dye. I used the same recipe both times, with the exception of the beets vs. the dye.

I was “rooting” for the beets. Get it? Rooting?

red velvet comparison

The beet option was not better. It was awful. I had made red velvet cake with both items before but never at the same time, with the same recipe. The beets made the chocolate more brown but it was drier. The red food dye did what it was supposed to do. For both of the recipes I adapted the Red Velvet Cake recipe in the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.  So, much as I want to say that natural is better… I can’t. If you want red velvet cake, and you want it to be red and are going to need to do the old fashioned thing and go with dye.

Now, the rest of it…imagine biting into rich red velvet cupcake and finding orange cheesecake. The combination of chocolate and orange is fantastic anyway, and the tangy citrus and cream cheese cuts the sweetness of the cream cheese frosting and red velvet cake perfectly. I loved these. My family loved these. You are going to love these!

Be careful not to overbake. You want the cheesecake to remain creamy…and it will cook for a little bit as it cools.

red velvet cupcakes unfrosted

I usually use silicone baking cups, but since I was doing a double batch I didn’t have enough. I used paper ones…but I turned the water off when I brushed my teeth and  I didn’t rinse…so it evens out.


The list of directions looks long, but it is really quick and easy. These are so awesome and they take no more time than a regular cupcake. Yum!

5 from 1 reviews
Red Velvet/Cheesecake Marbled Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Intense red velvet cake is combined with fresh and tangy orange cheesecake in these cupcakes. Once cooled they are covered in the richest cream cheese icing ever. It is important that all ingredients be at room temperature when you mix these cupcakes!
Serves: 12 servings
Orange Cheesecake
  • 1 4-oz package of cream cheese, room temperature (not low fat)
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly grated orange peel
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla
Red Velvet Cake
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
  • 4 oz food grade red food color
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons white vinegar (it has less flavor than any other type)
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese
Before Mixing
  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Add cupcake liners to pans
Orange Cheesecake
  1. Beat together until creamy and well blended.
  2. Do not whip because you don't want to incorporate air.
Red Velvet Cake
  1. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well.
  3. Use a rubber scraper to pull any remaining butter mixture off the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl.
  4. Mix again until well blended.
  5. In a separate bowl mix the food color and the cocoa until it makes a paste.
  6. Add the cocoa mixture to the butter mixture and mix until it is evenly blended.
  7. Spoon through to check for streaks.
  8. Add ¼ cup of the buttermilk and beat on low speed until blended.
  9. Add half of the flour and blend.
  10. Add the remaining buttermilk, blend and then add the remaining flour.
  11. Now stir in the baking soda and vinegar
  1. Fill muffin cups about ¾ the way with the red velvet batter.
  2. Add a tablespoon or so of cheesecake batter to the top.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until cupcakes are firm to the touch. Don't overbake.
  4. Cool completely.
  5. Cover with frosting
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Mix butter, salt, and confectioners sugar until crumbly.
  2. Add the cream cheese and beat until creamy, add a little cream if you need to to get the right consistency.
  3. Swirl a good layer atop the cooled cupcakes.
  4. Sprinkle with cocoa, edible glitter, or orange zest.
  5. Keep any remaining cupcakes (as if!) in the refrigerator.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: Carbs: 76.1 Calories: 493 Fat: 20.0


images:marye audet

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  1. Bea. says

    Thank you Marye, for getting back to me so quickly.

    I am trying them out tonight, keeping my fingers crossed. XX I am hosting a Cancer Charity, coffee and cake morning tomorrow, so am hoping they will work out. Wish me luck!

    Thanks again for you advice.

    B x

  2. Bea. says

    This might be a stupid question, but how long do you leave the cream cheese out for to get to “room temp”?, and what should I look out for to know, that it is the right temp to use?

    Thank you and apologies again, if this is a silly question.

    • says

      No such thing as a silly question. There is no set amount of time to leave it out. Sometimes in the winter when the house is cold it may never get warm enough and in the summer it usually only takes 15 minutes or so. A few seconds in the microwave will sometimes do it. Saying that, you want it to be warm enough that it blends easily and is creamy – maybe even a little “melty”

  3. Yoli Rodriguez says

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I finally baked these last night and although I need to sharpen my frosting abilities, I must say that these are the most delicious cupcakes. All my ingredients were at room temperature, as indicated and my cupcakes are decilious. Thank you again.

  4. Ashley says

    A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! I’m bringing these to a cupcake party and I’m pretty sure they might win! Although my decorating skills didnt come through as I hoped, they are delicious and I topped them with some candied orange peels. We have to come up with a creative name and I’ve decided to name these bad boys “Supreme Dream”. Thanks so much for the recipe!!

  5. Consuelo says

    U an searching in the internet for the most appealing cupcakes upon my teenager daughter’s request. Saw this recipe and said, this is it. And yes, this cupcake is simply delicious though I am not quite sure of the food grade red food color, is it the regular liquid food color of old times, or the gel type???4 tablespoon of the gel would be much, I used a whole small container maybe 2 tsp. the most and flavor was too strong… I do not leave in the USA and the gel type is imported and of course expensive and is sold just in a specialized store… Thanks for your reply

  6. Janine Stonehouse says

    We had a Cupcake Challenge at work today with the proceeds going to the United Way. I made your Red Velvet & Cheesecake Marbled Cupcakes and I won first prize! It was a unanimous decision of the 4 judges. People loved them and said they were very moist.

  7. Lexi says

    Hey marye thanks for the recipe. Today is my 11th birthday!!!! Im bringing some of these to my class. it is now my favorite cupcake.

  8. Marie says

    I just made these and sadly it was a complete disaster. I followed the recipe exactly and everything looked fine until i put them in the oven. First they bubbeld over, dripped everywhere and would not set, even after i baked them for 40 minutes and when i took them out of the oven they compeletely deflated. Too bad, I was really looking forward to this :s

    • marye says

      I am sorry Marie. I have tried to figure out why some commentors have trouble while others have no trouble at all. You might want to review the comments to see if your problem was addressed in them.

      • Marie says

        So, I decided to make them again today, because when it comes to baking I simply refuse to give on a recipe, especially one as yummy as this. I reduced the amount of butter and flour a little bit, increased the cheesecake batter (about 1/3 more), divided the batter into 16 cupcakes and voila – perfection! I think the main reason that it didn’t work the first time was, that I overfilled the cupcake molds, too much batter for 12 but just right for 16 cupcakes. Will definitely be making them again.

  9. Judy palomar says

    I’m a very good cook, but have never mastered my cheesecake in the humid, below sea level south. Nor did these cupcakes come out. What a disaster! They were just a total mess. I’ve made cakes with vinegar and baking soda…a success even in the south, so I’m assuming it is the cheesecake parts. Southern Cooks, beware!

    • marye says

      I am in the south.Never had a problem… Seems like somd people get it easily abd ithers have problems… Everything myst be at room temp and there can be no substitutionsY

  10. Aileen says

    I made these cupcakes this morning and it turned out amazing! Now that I read the comments, the cheesecake part did sink in the bottom and it was a bit chunky and runny when I was mixing it. I used Philadelphia cream cheese but did not wait for the temp to go down to room temp even with the butter, something I’ll make sure I do next time. Overall the cupcake was delicious! I made it for a dessert party at work and I received so many compliments.
    Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    • marye says

      Oh Thank you for letting me know! Yes, you do have to let the cream cheese come to room temp so it gets blended right.

    • marye says

      I haven’t frozen it.. the cake part would freeze fine but the cream cheese may get just a little grainy…

  11. Sarah says

    I’m just wondering, but if I’m not a big fan of citrus, would the cupcake still be amazing without it?

  12. Aya Ritchie says

    I just made this cupcake and it turned out amazing!!! It is super crucial to make sure the creamcheese is at room temperature! If you try to mix it while it’s still hard, it will not mix well and become lumpy! Plan ahead and be patient! Also, for the orange creamcheese, I used extra large eggs, and it did become runny. It didn’t ruin my cupcake overall, but I would use small or medium eggs. That should make it a bit creamier! Also, I’m not a big fan of food colouring. I doubled this batch, and thus require 8 TABLESPOONS of red food dye. I only put in about a teaspoon of it, and it turned out nice and red.
    Thanks for the recipe! Can’t wait to share it with my colleagues!!!

  13. Annie says

    “I usually use silicone baking cups, but since I was doing a double batch I didnt have enough. I used paper ones…but I turned the water off when I brushed my teeth and  I didn’t rinse…so it evens out.”

    You lost me after “I turned off the water…” what does that have to do with the baking cups? Haha sorry it’s prob me reading this late at night, but I am confused :3

    • marye says

      it was a joke… environment… saving paper… silicone baking cups… saving extra water. ::::awkward silence:::

  14. Gordon Trahan says

    I just made these cupcakes and they were absolutely phenomenal, followed the recipe exactly except for the food coloring, The bottle i got was only 3 tablespoons but worked just fine anyways. Everyone loved them and I wanted to thank you, your recipe is amazing!

    • Gordon Trahan says

      ….also we only have low fat buttermilk at the local store so thats what I used, which worked perfectly fine

    • marye says

      Glad you liked it…. :) The skim buttermilk will work o.k…. it is much better with full fat… be sure to check out how to make buttermilk at home on my site, published 2/27/12

  15. Emily says

    I was wondering if i could use this recipe to make a cake ? i made the cupcakes and they were wonderful but a family member requested this kind of cake for their birthday

  16. Anna says

    I treid making these a couple of days ago, but the cream cheese mixture was far too runny and weighed down the rest of the cupcake. It also got crunchy and sticky. Any suggestions?

    • marye says

      Anna, I am not sure. It seems that people either have great success or great failure with these. I use philadelphia cream cheese, do not use low or nonfat. Don’t substitute anything. follow the directions carefully. If they still don’t come out then I have no clues. Sorry.

  17. Dicakes says

    Just came across these yesterday and they look delicious. Started making them today and I can’t imagine how 1/4 cup butter and 1 cup sugar can get “creamy”. My butter’s at room temp but no way that much sugar in that little butter is going to cream! What am I doing wrong?

  18. rosaline says

    Hello. I tried making these this morning but my cupcakes came out a bit dry. What could I have done wrong? I really wanted to try them too. They looked so tasty. :(

    • marye says

      Several possibilities. You could have over mixed them, overcooked them (there is always a variance in actual baking time by a few minutes), or the dry ingredients may not have been measured accurately. Those are the usual reasons for cupcakes that are dry.

  19. Jessica says

    I am making these cupcakes right now. I could not wait until tomorrow because the pic looks delish. Hope they come out as good as yours!

      • Jessica says

        Ok, so I doubled the recipe, and the first dozen came out only ok. I have seen complaints about the cheesecake sinking, but mine was the opposite. It stayed on top, and didn’t incorporate at all into the cake. I didn’t like it because the top of the cupcake was flat and not “cheesecakey” enough. Second batch, I put in layers. Mix, cheesecake, the a dollop of mix on top of that. Perfect! Delish! Is there anyway to post a pic?? BTW, I made sure everything was at room temp.

  20. BethR says

    I made these last night after having one that my son had made. They taste absolutely wonderful but came out flat as pancakes. I’ll fix the shape a little bit with some extra frosting but Im wondering if it has to do with using a convection oven. The first few pans I baked on convection, and then switched to regular bake…..which seemed to help.
    Anyway, love the flavors!!

  21. Bryanna says

    Just finished making these, and put then into the oven! they looks so good, i cant wait till they come out ;D For the orange cream cheese bater, i added a little flour and baking soda, it was too runny.. hopely they come out good! thank you for this amazing recipe!

  22. says

    I believe the problem some of you are having with the cream cheese being chunky is that you are beating it cold.? The cream cheese needs to come to room temp before using it. I have not tried this recipe yet…it is now on my to-do list! :) I make cheesecakes and cupcakes professionally and have used this basic method before. Never had a problem with the cheesecake falling to the bottom. Don’t know how to help you there. Good Luck everyone! And Marye, Thanks for the recipes! I am enjoying your site!!

    • marye says

      That may be the problem.. I do allow everything to come to room temperature, thought I had stated that in the recipe – need to go back and check….. I never have problems with these. Thanks!

  23. CiCi says

    these tasted really good, i really liked the flavor! i will say mine turned out too dark, my roommate thought they were blueberry or something. the cheesecake in mine also sunk to the bottom of most of the cupcakes and was pretty messy. like i said, they tasted really really good tho!!

  24. Haily and Carly says

    We tried too make these and the cheesecake part was chunky and lumpy and sunk into the red velvet and didnt have much flavor. We are professional cupcake makers so im not sure where the problem was we followed it exactly

    • marye says

      If the cheesecake part was chunky it wasn’t blended enough. Be sure to use AP flour and not cake flour. Other than that I have no idea. You are the first that I know of that have had an issue with them.

      • Amal Fayad says

        I just made them and the same thing happened, I used AP flour and the cheesecake part was horribly chunky no matter what I did to blend it.
        Did you use a blender or a mixer for it or did you mix it by hand.

        I’m so bummed out I was looking forward to these cupcakes.

        • marye says

          I mixed them in my kitchen aid. O.k.. now I am going to make them again and see what the problem is. :( Up to this point everyone has had great success with them.

    • cupcakemaddness says

      Where your ingredients room temp that may have been your problem for the chunky and lumpy”s or did you not use name brand cream cheese ??No brand cream cheese is always lumpy to me ……

  25. says

    Oh Marye, I’m going to my sister’s next month and my niece love red-velvet cupcakes. I WILL make these. My sis still has all the unused baking stuff I bought while I was there over Christmas!
    I love the color on these…so pretty.

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