Perfect Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Perfect Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is the ideal cake for your next celebration! This easy and delicious cake recipe is moist and flavorful and can be made as red velvet cupcakes if you prefer! Wonderful for Valentine’s Day and Christmas! Check out these showstoppers too: The Best Strawberry Shortcake CakeChocolate Malt Cake, and Chocolate Raspberry Cake!

slice of red velvet cake with fondant rose on white plate with text overlay

Red Velvet Cake

Last week I posted some Red Velvet Cupcakes with fondant ribbon roses… here is the cake version.  When I post cupcakes I’m often asked if the recipe would work well for a cake as well… so I figured I’d try both and you can choose your favorite!  This red velvet cake recipe is moist and flavorful and worked beautifully for both the cake and cupcakes.

 Here is the link for the Red Velvet Cupcakes.

top down view of whole red velvet cake

What Is Red Velvet Cake

Many people think that red velvet cake is simple a chocolate cake with red food coloring. And while that is in part true, that’s not the whole story.

Red velvet and chocolate cake are similar in that they both have cocoa, but it’s really the buttermilk and vinegar addition to red velvet cake that gives it it’s signature, distinct flavor. 

Also, red velvet cakes should always be frosted with cream cheese frosting – it’s a must!

Cream Cheese Frosting

This cake is frosted with my favorite Cream Cheese frosting (also included in the recipe linked above).  I frosted the outside as smooth as reasonably possible, added a few swirls of texture on the top, and finished the cake with some red fondant roses. 

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting

  • butter – set at room temp about 10 minutes, but should still be cool
  • cream cheese – directly from fridge
  • vanilla extract – always use pure vanilla extract if possible
  • powdered confectioners sugar
  • heavy cream or milk– although I do like the richness that cream adds

whole red velvet cake recipe on white cake stand decorated with red ribbon

What You’ll Need To Make The Cake

  • cake flour – cake flour is really an essential ingredient in this recipe. It gives the cake a really light texture with a finer crumb. If you can’t find cake flour, you can always make cake flour substitute using all purpose flour and cornstarch.
  • unsweetened cocoa powder – gives the cake that light chocolate cake flavor, just don’t use Dutch process cocoa
  • salt
  • oil
  • granulated sugar
  • eggs
  • liquid red food coloring or concentrated food coloring– I used Americolor super red – this is what gives the red velvet cake it’s bold, red color
  • vanilla extract – use the real stuff 
  • buttermilk – a key ingredient that makes this cake extra moist and delicoius. It’s also the acidity in the buttermilk that activates the baking soda. You can also make buttermilk with powdered buttermilk.
  • baking soda
  • white vinegar – another ingredient that you won’t find in a lot of cake recipes but shows up in red velvet cake!

How To Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
  2. Butter and flour cake pans and line bottoms with parchment. (You can use (3) 6 inch cake pans or 8 inch pans or (2) 9 inch pans.)
  3. Whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer (fitted with the whisk attachment), beat oil and sugar until well blended.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, and continue beating.
  6. Next add food coloring and vanilla and mix well.
  7. Finally, add flour and buttermilk alternately, in two batches.
  8. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix just enough to combine.
  9. Place baking soda in a bowl or cup, add vinegar and stir (it will foam and expand). Add to cake batter and beat for 10 seconds.
  10. Divide batter between cake pans. Bake cake layers 25-40 minutes depending on the size of the pans. An inserted toothpick should come out with a few moist crumbs when the cakes are done.
  11. Remove cakes from pans and let cool on a cooling rack. Don’t frost until the cakes are completely cooled.

Decorating a Red Velvet Cake

I have a full tutorial for How to make Fondant Ribbon Roses (here).  The outside of the cake is also adorned with a thin red ribbon. 

After the cake was frosted and chilled, I simply attached a piece of ribbon to the back of the cake with a dab of icing, wrapped it around a couple times and ended in the back again.

two slices of red velvet cake with fondant rose on white plate

Share this cake with someone you love this week!

If you’re still looking for some sweet Valentine’s Day ideas, you can easily search all my Valentine’s Day posts HERE.

More Must Make Cakes

  1. Coconut Pound Cake
  2. Caramel Apple Cake
  3. Perfect Pound Cake
  4. Butter Pecan Bundt Cake
  5. Lemon Bundt Cake

How to Make Red Velvet Cake

slice of red velvet cake with fondant rose on white plate square

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

The most PERFECT Red Velvet Cake finished off with decadent cream cheese frosting is the ideal cake for your next celebration! This easy and delicious cake recipe is moist and flavorful and can be made as red velvet cupcakes if you prefer! Wonderful for Valentine's Day and Christmas!
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 9 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 slices
Calories 330 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa not Dutch process
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/3 cups oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons liquid red food coloring or 1 tablespoons concentrated food coloring- I used Americolor super red
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk can use powdered buttermilk - just follow the directions
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter 1 stick/8 tablespoons - set at room temp about 10 minutes, but should still be cool
  • 8 oz cream cheese directly from fridge
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract always use pure vanilla extract if possible
  • 4 cups powdered confectioners sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk- although I do like the richness that cream adds

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350*F. Butter and flour (3) 6 or 8 inch cake pans or (2 9 inch cake pans and line bottoms with parchment.
  • In a large bowl whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt, and set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer (fitted with the whisk attachment), beat oil and sugar until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, and continue beating. Add food coloring and vanilla and mix well.
  • Add flour and buttermilk alternately, in two batches. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix just enough to combine.
  • Place baking soda in a bowl or cup, add vinegar and stir (it will foam and expand). Add to cake batter and beat for 10 seconds.
  • Divide batter between cake pans. Bake cake layers 25-40 minutes depending on the size of the pans. An inserted toothpick should come out with a few moist crumbs when the cakes are done.
  • Remove cakes from pans and let cool on a cooling rack. Don't frost until the cakes are completely cooled.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add cream cheese and blend until fully combined, about 30 seconds.
  • Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar (one cup at a time) while mixing.  Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy.
  • Slowly add the heavy cream, a little bit at a time until desired consistency is met. (Don’t add too much if you want the frosting to stay in place when piped on cupcakes.)
  • Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.
  • Frost cake and chill until ready to serve.

Notes

Tools Needed

6 inch cake pans or 8 inch cake pans for a 3 layer cake 
9 inch cake pans for a 2 layer cake 
hand mixer or stand mixer
This recipe will yield about 24 cupcakes, 3- 6" or 8″ cake layers, or 2- 9″ cake layers.

Nutrition

Calories: 330kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 3gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 215mgPotassium: 65mgFiber: 1gSugar: 33gVitamin A: 177IUCalcium: 29mgIron: 1mg
Keyword red velvet cake
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

49 comments

  1. Hey, what an amazing recipe. I made the cupcakes and they turned out phenomenal for my fiancés birthday. It is now my mother in laws birthday and she has requested the same recipe but in cake form. For your recipe you said it could make 3, 8″ layers, but in your comments you mentioned the one pictured above is a 3, 6″ layered cake. Which one would be best? I don’t want to disappoint her and I’m a novice baker hoping to impress the in-laws again!

  2. wow, it’s beautiful red valvet 🙂
    nice

  3. Thanks for this recipe. I made it today. It was a bit dry for a red velvet, what can I add to make it a little bit moister? It was amazing though!

    • Hi Ira, Glad you gave the recipe a try and enjoyed it! If you found it a bit dry I might suggest baking it just a few minutes less, that may be the problem. Also, once you take the cakes from the oven, cool them just a bit, them remove from the pans, wrap in plastic wrap and put the in the freezer. This will help lock in the moisture while they cool, and help them firm up so they’re easier to frost. Happy baking!

  4. This looks beautiful. I want to try it for my daughters 16th and add fringing on for a 1920’s themed party. But the link does not work for me – it takes me to hydrangea biscuits??? Can ou help and send me the link to the recipe. Many thanks.

  5. also – one other question please, are the quantities the same for cupcakes and this high 3 layer cake?
    do i need to double the recipe?

    thanks,
    ELise

  6. Hi Glory,

    I have been having trouble opening the link for this velvet cake – it continually redirects me to your latest blog page. i was able to access the cupcake one, and was wondering if you gave seperate instructions on cutting the cake to make layers and what not, or if i just improvise with the cupcake instructions.

    Love your stuff by the way! Delicious and Beauitful.
    Thanks for your help,
    Elise

    • Hi Elise, Yes, the cupcake recipe is all that’s needed for this cake. The cake shown is a 6″ cake (3 layers). This recipe would work well for a 2 layer 8″ or 9″ cake.

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