Red Velvet cake is a classic cake with a light chocolate flavor and a rich cream cheese frosting.
What is Red Velvet Cake?
This red velvet cake is nice and tender with just a mild chocolate flavor. And my favorite part is the frosting. Yummy and smooth cream cheese frosting is the perfect compliment to the red velvet cake.
For a little history on Red Velvet Cakes check out my post for Red Velvet Cupcakes.
Red Velvet Cake Color Variations
Red Velvet cake is just too pretty and delicious to only be served at Valentine’s Day. It would be a fun St. Patrick’s Day cake by using green food coloring instead of red food coloring. I have made it using pink food coloring for a fun cake to serve at a baby shower for a girl. You could get fancy and do half the batter red and half the batter blue and serve it for the 4th of July.
Do I have to Use Food Coloring in Red Velvet Cake?
I know some people are allergic to food coloring or prefer not to use it. You can totally leave the food coloring out of this recipe and it won’t affect the taste at all, it will just look like a chocolate cake. Most Red Velvet Cake recipes call for an entire 1 oz. bottle of food coloring but that’s just way to much for me and I don’t like my teeth turning red after eating a piece. I used half that amount or about 4 teaspoons. My cake is a little more pink than red.
How to Make Red Velvet Cake
Prepare Pans and Preheat Oven
Use two nine inch round cake pans. Spray them with a non stick cooking spray and flour them. I also cut a piece paper the size of the bottom of the pan and place that on the bottom of the pan after spraying and flouring.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix Cake Batter
- In a bowl, combine dry ingredients including flour and salt.
- Use your stand mixer or a had mixer to cream together sugar and butter.
- In another bowl combine eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, vinegar and baking soda. Watch a little chemical reaction take place! It will get foamy!
- Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the butter and sugar mixture. Start and end with the flour mixture.
- Mix together the cocoa powder and the desired amount of food coloring. Add that mixture to cake batter and stir to combine.
- Fill your prepared cake pans, dividing the batter evenly between the two cake pans.
Bake Cake and Cool
Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 – 28 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- 9 x 13 cake will bake for 30-35 minutes.
- Cupcakes will bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Bundt Cake will bake for 50-60 minutes.
After cake has cooled completely it is ready to frost.
Make Ahead Instructions
I like to bake my cake several days ahead or even a week ahead. After it has cooled, wrap each individual layer tightly in several layers of plastic wrap and freeze.
When you are ready to frost the cake, remove from freezer and frost frozen cake. Freezing the cake makes frosting a lot easier and reduces the amount of crumb that ends up in your frosting.
Allow cake to come to room temperature before serving but I also loved chilled cake.
Cream Cheese Frosting for Red Velvet Cake
Traditionally Red Velvet Cake is served with cream cheese frosting but if you prefer you can use buttercream frosting.
After frosting the cake I used a decorating bag and a star tip to add a fancy edge to my cake.
Because I was making the cake for Valentine’s Day I added some heart shaped sprinkles.
Do I Need To Refrigerate Red Velvet Cake?
Cream cheese frosting the cake should be refrigerated. It can sit out at room temperature for several hours so it does not need to be served cold.
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Red Velvet Cake Recipe
Red Velvet Cake
- 1 cup butter
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp vinegar
- 1 ounce food coloring I used half this amount.
- 1 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
Cream Cheese Icing
- 12 oz. cream cheese room temperature
- 3/4 cup butter softened
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Spray two round 9 inch cake pans (2"deep) with non stick spray
- Blend together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl
- Mix together the flour and salt.
- Mix the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, baking soda and vinegar in a separate bowl
- Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the butter mixture in the bowl Mix after each addition
- In a small bowl, mix the red food coloring and cocoa powder and add into the batter
- Don’t over beat
- Pour the batter evenly into the cake pans and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
Make the icing:
- Place the cream cheese and butter in a bowl and whip until smooth
- Add the salt and powdered sugar a cup at a time to butter mixture.
- Add vanilla and mix until smooth
- Spread one third of icing on one of the cake layers, get icing all the way to edges
- Place the other cake layer on top, face down
- Ice the top and then ice the sides with the remaining icing being careful not to loosen crumbs as you go
- Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before cutting
- Refrigerate any leftovers – if there are any!