My Red Velvet Cake Recipe is the perfect dessert for any cake lover! Made with the best cream cheese frosting and three layers of tender red velvet cake, this classic dessert will turn heads!
This Red Velvet Cake Recipe will have you wondering why you ever used a box cake mix to make a red velvet cake. This cake is incredibly moist & tender, and when layered with this silky cream cheese frosting you’ll have a show-stopper of a dessert on your hands. Fantastic for birthdays, holiday parties, and wonderful for a Valentine’s Day dessert with that deep red color. This cake recipe is a must-have recipe staple for any baker.
RED VELVET CAKE RECIPE
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As a kid, I had never had a morsel of red velvet cake. In fact, this classic dessert was actually something that I hadn’t tried until after I graduated college. Elusive as this dessert was for me, I was in for an amazing surprise when first tasting this gorgeous red cake. With slight chocolate flavor notes, the cake wasn’t what I expected at first. But I couldn’t resist! The classic cream cheese frosting stacked between the layers of moist, velvety cake had me hooked in an instant.
What is red velvet cake?
- Red velvet cake is traditionally a red cocoa cake layered with cream cheese or Ermine frosting. Originally the red color of the cake from the non-dutched cocoa powder used, but today red food coloring is used to color the cake. The buttermilk in the cake batter gives a slight tang, and this cake is widely considered a Southern recipe.
The baker in me instantly wanted to create this cake at home. Pulling out cookbooks, and trying multiple recipe variations I finally found a recipe that got the cake just right – moist, but with the slightest chocolate flavor. The most important variation I found was to substitute vegetable oil for butter. This seemed to help with the tender, moist consistency for the cake. Another technique I discovered was to sift the flour and cocoa powder together before adding to the batter. This helped eliminate small lumps of cocoa powder from popping up in the batter. Also, you don’t need much cocoa powder for this recipe. Just one tablespoon is all that is needed to deliver that perfect amount of chocolate flavor, without being overpowering.
As for the frosting, this may just be personal preference, but I think that cream cheese frosting is the ideal pairing for red velvet cake over a standard buttercream. Cream cheese frosting adds a complementary dimension to the cake. My best cream cheese frosting is my go-to frosting anytime I’m making a red velvet recipe.
Want more red velvet recipes?
- Red Velvet Pound Cake
- Red Velvet Waffles
- Easy Red Velvet Fudge
- Red Velvet Sweet Rolls
- Red Velvet Cookies
- More dessert recipes…
Tools used to make this Red Velvet Cake Recipe
Stand Mixer: I don’t know what I’d do without my stand mixer. I use it for just about everything…and I mean everything! Cakes, cookies, mashed potatoes, and shredding chicken!
Cake Pan: This pan is perfect for all your standard cakes. Just pour in the batter, bake, cool, and frost.
Evenbake Cake Strips: Wrap these strips around your cake pans and your cake will come out level every time! No more cutting off the cake dome!
Cooling Rack: I keep a few of these cooling racks in my kitchen so I’m ready for any recipe I want to bake.
Offset Spatula: This little spatula makes frosting cakes and cookies a breeze!
Red Velvet Cake Recipe
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 1-ounce bottle, red food coloring
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder unsweetened
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 batch Best Cream Cheese Frosting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottoms of three 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans (or three 9-inch x 2-inch pans) with waxed paper or parchment paper, and then lightly spray with non-stick baking spray. Set pans aside.
In a large mixing bowl, and with a hand or stand mixer, cream together the oil and sugar. Add in the eggs one at a time with the mixer running on the lowest speed. Continue to mix together until the eggs are completely combined. Add the food coloring and the vanilla and mix to combine.
In a separate bowl, finely sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt, making sure there are no lumps. Set aside.
In a bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and baking soda. The milk will become slightly frothy.
To the batter, begin adding in the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk mixture to the batter, stopping the mixer often to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue until all dry and wet ingredients come together as a smooth batter.
Divide the batter equally among the three prepared pans. Bake the cakes for 28-30 minutes (22-25 minutes for the 9" pans), testing with a toothpick before coming out of the oven. If the inserted toothpick comes out of the cake clean, and crumb-free the cake is done.
Let the cakes cool in the pans for approximately 10 minutes. Slide a knife around the edges of the pan, and invert the cakes, releasing them from the pan. Be sure to peel off the paper that lined the bottoms of each pan. Place on cooling racks to cool completely before frosting.
Prepare cream cheese frosting according to this recipe. Once cakes are completely cool, slice off any excess cake that may have formed a dome-shape on top, to make cakes even. Spread a generous amount of frosting on the tops of each cake, stacking in a layer. Frosting the sides and top of the cake. if desired, crumble some of the cake shavings and sprinkle them around the outer edge on top of the cake.
If refrigerating cake, make sure it comes to room temperature before slicing and serving.
If you're in a pinch, you can use store-bought cream cheese frosting, but the homemade frosting is SO much better!
Love this recipe? Try Erin’s Red Velvet Cake Parfaits here:
and Red Velvet OREO Poke Cake here:
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