Red Velvet Protein Cupcakes (Vegan Gluten-Free)

These Red Velvet Protein Cupcakes are light, fluffy and so moreish made with vegan, egg-free and easily gluten-free ingredients. Made lighter with yoghurt cream cheese protein frosting, they’re the best cupcake to try.

If you love all things red velvet then these are perfect for you, when looking for a more wholesome, higher protein and vegan bake. They are great for gifting loved ones as well as baking for family, friends or for yourself. They are just as light, fluffy and tender as regular cupcakes, yet they’re full of plant-based vanilla protein powder to add some goodness, fibre and antioxidants into this much-loved classic. The frosting is also better-for-you with vegan cream cheese and fermented coconut yoghurt, make these your new favourite cupcake.

A few Red Velvet Protein Cupcakes
Red Velvet Protein Cupcakes

Why will I love these cupcakes?

These cupcakes are amazing:

  • Light, fluffy, tender and squidgy
  • Slightly chocolatey and naturally red
  • Ideal for baking for loved ones or for friends and family
  • Made in one bowl
  • Comes together in 10 minutes or less
  • Naturally vegan, egg-free and dairy-free
  • Easily gluten-free and nut-free
  • Topped with healthier cream cheese yoghurt frosting (no butter)
  • Refined sugar-free
  • Made with higher protein ingredients
  • Even better than the much-loved classic American cake

If you already love the sound of these cupcakes then skip ahead to the recipe card below. Or, first let’s discuss the recipe in more detail.

What ingredients do I need?

You can see the ingredients by weight in the recipe card below and see my favourites in the “shop the recipe” section.

For the cupcakes:

  • Plant-based milk and apple cider vinegar: when mixed together, this curdles to form a buttermilk which helps to bind this egg-free batter.
  • Coconut sugar: this is for sweetness and adds a rich caramel-like flavour. You can use light brown or caster sugar, too.
  • Light olive oil: this is great for making the cupcakes really moist, and you can use other light oils like avocado, walnut or sunflower oil.
  • Self-raising flour: or you can use gluten-free self-raising flour and make sure it contains xanthan gum (or add ½ tsp of your own xanthan to this recipe).
  • Vanilla protein powder: I use the Form performance vanilla protein which is me go-to for all recipes and baking. It’s smooth, blends well into the batter and adds a subtle sweet vanilla flavour while adding a variety of vitamins and minerals from ingredients like turmeric powder and pumpkin seeds. My code NourishingAmy10 saves you 10% off the Form website (not Amazon).
  • Cocoa powder: to make these cupcakes slightly chocolatey.
  • Bicarbonate of soda: for the rise.
  • Red food colouring or powder: you can find more natural red food gels (rather than colouring which is quite watery and often not vegan) or you can use beetroot powder. Note that the red colour is stronger when using a food gel rather than powder.

For the frosting:

  • Thick coconut yoghurt: this is key to the best frosting and adds the creamy tang that is classic to a red velvet frosting. I use the Cocos Organic natural yoghurt, and make sure it’s really thick and creamy.
  • Vegan cream cheese: there are a few in the shops, so make sure you get the best one in terms of ingredients, where you can. I like the NUSH one.
  • Vegan vanilla protein powder: as above.
  • Grated chocolate: to decorate.

Are these gluten-free and nut-free?

These are easily gluten-free as long as your flour contains no gluten. Choose a blend that you usually bake with for best results and one that contains xanthan gum to bind the mix. To keep these nut-free, make sure that your dairy-free milk, yoghurt and cream cheese do not contain nuts.

How do I make them?

These cupcakes are easy to make in a few steps:

  • Mix the milk and vinegar together: and allow the mix to curdle.
  • Whisk together all of the wet ingredients: until smooth.
  • Sift in the dry ingredients: and begin to whisk again.
  • Add in the red food gel: and whisk until smooth.
  • Scoop the mixture into cupcake cases: filling ¾ full.
  • Bake for 17 minutes or until well-risen: and smelling amazing.
  • Remove from the trays: and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  • Whisk together the frosting ingredients: until thick and creamy.
  • Pipe or spread on the frosting: and decorate with cake crumbs and grated chocolate.

How long will they last?

These cupcakes will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge in a sealed container (best enjoyed at room temperature) or you can freeze the cupcakes without the frosting for 1 month. Allow them to defrost before decorating.

A few Red Velvet Protein Cupcakes on a plate
Red Velvet Protein Cupcakes

What else can I try?

If you are looking for more cupcakes and muffins:

A few Red Velvet Protein Cupcakes on a plate

Red Velvet Protein Cupcakes (Vegan Gluten-Free)

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 17 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes

These Red Velvet Protein Cupcakes are light, fluffy and so moreish made with vegan, egg-free and easily gluten-free ingredients. Made lighter with yoghurt cream cheese protein frosting, they’re the best cupcake to try.


For the Cupcakes:

  • 240ml plant-based milk
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 140g coconut sugar
  • 80ml light olive oil
  • 175g self-raising or gluten-free SF flour
  • 30g vegan vanilla protein powder
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • Few drops of natural red food colouring (or 1-2 tsp beetroot powder)

For the Frosting:

  • 160g thick coconut yoghurt
  • 100g vegan cream cheese
  • 30g vegan vanilla protein powder
  • Grated chocolate


  1. Preheat the oven to 160Fan/180ºC and line a cupcake tray with 10 cases.
  2. Stir together the milk and vinegar and leave for 5 minutes to curdle.
  3. For the batter: into a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk mix, coconut sugar, olive oil and whisk until smooth. Now sift in the flour, protein powder, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda. Add the salt and whisk until almost smooth. Now add the red food gel and continue to whisk until it’s fully combined.
  4. Scoop the batter into the cases, filling ¾ full.
  5. Bake in the oven for 17-18 minutes, until well-risen and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Carefully remove from the tray and allow to cool fully on a wire rack.
  6. For the frosting: add the yoghurt and cream cheese to a bowl and beat or whisk until smooth. Add in the protein powder and continue to whisk until fluffy. Place in a piping bag.
  7. If desired, break up one of the cupcakes for the crumbs.
  8. Pipe the frosting over the cupcakes and top with cake crumbs and chocolate.
  9. Enjoy straight away or keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can make the cupcakes ahead of time, and freeze them in a container for 1 month. Allow to defrost before frosting.

Shop the recipe

Stay in touch

I look forward to hearing what you think of these Red Velvet Protein Cupcakes so please let me know in the comments below and leave a star review above. If you do make these, I’d love to see so please tag me, I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy. I’m also on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest  – please say hello!

With red velvet love x

p.s. this recipe was first made for Form Nutrition but all opinions are my own and this blog post is not sponsored.

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