Red Velvet Rose Water Cupcakes

I came up with this recipe while competing on Food Network's Cupcake Wars: Battle of the Champions "Rose Parade" episode in season 2, after my WIN on the series premiere show! The theme of the show was to create cupcakes for the 2011 Tournament of Roses. I knew I wanted to top my cupcake with the iconic red rose in their logo, so I thought it would be perfect to make my fluffy, moist red velvet cupcakes. To really tie the theme into my cupcakes, I added a fragrant touch of rose water into the frosting!

While my cupcakes were on the judges table, one of the judges stated he normally is not a fan of the red velvet cupcakes, but with my addition of rose water, he loved it and told me all red velvet cupcakes should be made this way!  

Click here to watch the rose topper video on youtube

"Lindsay created a trio fit for a queen and I dubbed her the master of detail. Her fondant decorations were gorgeous and her flower pot cupcake was ingenious. Florian and I were also both impressed at how well the rosewater frosting paired with her red velvet cupcake." -Candace Nelson, Founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes/Cupcake Wars Judge

Rose water can be found at cake supply or restaurant supply stores as well as online.

This recipe is virtually fool proof and yields the perfect dozen red velvet cupcakes with rose scented cream cheese frosting!

The batter is so simple to prepare, in just one bowl, and makes the most perfect, fluffy. moist cupcakes with that perfect deep red hue and hint of cocoa.

Look at that perfect, ultra rich, smooth, creamy, dreamy, cream cheese frosting!

love, love, love

I love getting creative with this recipe to created themed cupcakes for different celebrations. How about adding some cinnamon with my Red Hot Red Velvet Cupcakes for Valentine's Day?

For winter, you can add some peppermint extract to the frosting for a cool creamy topping that is superb, with my Peppermint Red Velvet Cupcakes!

...Or even use eggnog in the cupcake, for my Christmas Eggnog Red Velvet Cupcakes.

How cute are these little red white and blue cupcakes for the 4th?! Even fill them with some blueberry or apple pie filling for an extra special touch, with my Patriotic American Pie Red Velvet Cupcakes.

Red Velvet Rose Water Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes 


  • 1 1/4 (140g) cup cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon (10g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 3/4 cup (144g) granulated white sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature 
  • 1 tablespoon (.5oz) red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

Vanilla Rose Water Cream Cheese Frosting:
    • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 4oz cream cheese (1/2 an 8oz block), room temperature
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon rose water extract
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 2 cups (1/2lb) powdered sugar, sifted 


    For the cupcakes:
    Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a cupcake pan with baking cups.

    In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. With an electric mixer, beat together the sugar, oil and egg on medium-high speed about 2 minutes until pale and fluffy. Beat in sour cream, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar. Slowly add flour mixture, on low speed, until just incorporated.
    Distribute the batter between the baking cups, filling about 3/4 full. Bake for 16-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. (About 10 minutes for mini cupcakes). Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

    For the frosting:
    With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until smooth. Beat in cream cheese (make sure they are both at room temperature so you do not get lumps in your frosting). Add vanilla, rose water and salt. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until incorporated. Beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Pipe or spread on top of cooled cupcakes.

    Want more red velvet recipes?!: