This silky red velvet cake recipe is tender, moist, and perfectly chocolatey. Sandwiched together with the creamiest cream cheese frosting, this classic red velvet cake is a recipe you’ll make for years to come!
Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
This homemade red velvet cake is perfectly chocolatey with a velvety crumb that melts in your mouth. You’re going to love it. Plus it’s sandwiched together with thick layers of cream cheese frosting which you know is a win in my book.
What is red velvet cake?
Red velvet cake is what I like to call a “mild” chocolate cake. It’s not vanilla, but it’s also not chocolate. I know that doesn’t sound good, but it’s the perfect balanced, velvety soft cake you’ll ever eat! Made with a healthy dose of red food coloring to keep things fun and festive, red velvet cake is a class cake that deserves a spot up there right next to the vanilla cake and carrot cake.
Ingredients for Red Velvet Cake
Homemade cakes aren’t quite as simple as a cookie recipe, but this homemade cake doesn’t call for any specialty ingredients. you probably already have all of these in your cupboard right now!
All-purpose flour: No need for cake flour here! Regular old all-purpose flour will produce a tender and velvety crumb.
Cocoa powder: You’ll only need a little bit of cocoa powder to make that perfect hint of chocolate flavor.
Baking soda: Baking soda will work as the perfect leavener for this cake recipe! The buttermilk and vinegar give it a little extra oompf for the perfect rise.
Vegetable oil: We often like to bake our cakes with a combination of oil and butter, but when it comes to velvet cakes, the oil will produce the silkiest texture!
Granulated sugar: Granulated sugar will sweeten your cake perfectly!
Eggs: Make sure your eggs are at room temperature to ensure they incorporate seamlessly into the batter! You’ll need 4 large eggs to create that perfect cakey, yet fudgy crumb.
Vanilla extract: Never skimp on vanilla extract. This is a chocolatey vanilla cake, after all so you’ll need a healthy dose of pure vanilla extract.
Vinegar: I know you don’t usually see this on your ingredient list for homemade cake, but the vinegar will give your cake a little extra tang for that perfect southern red velvet cake.
Buttermilk: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can always make your own! Check out our homemade buttermilk recipe here!
Red food coloring: You can’t have red velvet cake without red food coloring! We used gel food coloring, but you can use whatever you have on hand and just adjust the quantities accordingly.
Tips for Red Velvet Cake
The homemade cake might seem intimidating, but this recipe is super easy to follow! Follow these 4 easy tips and you’ll have tender red velvet cake mastered in no time!
Sift the dry ingredients: I am not a devout sifter. I’m really not, but when it comes to homemade cake it’s a must. To get that soft and velvety crumb it’s crucial to distribute your leavening agent and make sure no clumps of flour remain in your dry ingredients!
Don’t overbake: The last thing you want is a dry cake. Take the cakes out when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean and they are just starting to spring back. Remember that your cakes will continue to bake as they cool, so better to have them a little underdone than overdone.
Don’t forget the cream cheese frosting: Classic red velvet cake is just as much about the frosting as it is the cake. Eating red velvet cake with anything other than dream cream cheese icing is simply wrong.
Use a crumb coat: The red velvet cake is so red that we recommend using a crumb coat on your cake to prevent any pesky red crumbs from getting into your snowy white cream cheese frosting!
1 9 x 13-inch sheet cake: Bake the cake for ~35 minutes! You’ll know it’s done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean and it springs back to the touch.
2 8 or 9-inch rounds: Follow the directions as stated and you’ll end up with a cake just as it’s pictured here!
3 6 inch rounds: Divide the batter evenly between 3 6 inch cake rounds and bake for 25ish minutes!
28 cupcakes: Use a large cookie scoop or a 1/3 cup measurement to make cupcakes! Bake for about 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean!
We hope you enjoy this delicious red velvet cake recipe just as much as we do!
For The Cake
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons red food coloring*
4 eggs, room temperature
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 1/3 cup buttermilk
For The Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
8 oz butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 cups powdered sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two 8 or 9 inch round pans with parchment paper on the bottom. Butter and grease the sides. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, beat together the oil and sugar until combined, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs in one at a time, beating until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and food coloring and mix well.
4. Stir together the buttermilk and vinegar and set aside.
5. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk and vinegar mixture in 4 different additions, making sure you end with the flour. Do not over mix.
6. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
7. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract, salt, and powdered sugar and whip to combine, about 2 minutes more.
8. Place the first cake on a plate, then top with a large dollop of frosting. Layer the second and third layers, frosting in between each. Finish with frosting the outside of the cake with the remaining frosting!