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This homemade red velvet cake recipe is what my family begs me to make for every special occasion. The kids’ birthdays. My husband’s birthday. Easter. Any holiday or event, you name it! And I know it might sound intimidating but I’ll walk you through this step by step and you’ll see why it’s worth chucking out that box mix and making it yourself.

Best red velvet cake recipe

What is Red Velvet Cake?

No, there’s no velvet here. If you’re from the South, then you likely know this treasured cake. It’s actually a vanilla cake that has cocoa powder and then red food coloring which is what gives it that luscious red color. It’s vinegar and buttermilk that gives it a signature tang and on top, a sweet cream cheese frosting that brings it all together in the most delicious of ways.

red velvet cake ingredients

What is red velvet cake made of? (Red Velvet Cake ingredients)

  • Cake flour – This is the base of our cake.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder – Make sure it’s unsweetened (we’ll be adding plenty of sugar, trust me!).
  • Baking soda – Helps our cake rise up.
  • Unsalted butter – You’ll want to have this softened to room temperature first.
  • Sugar – See? I told you so!
  • Salt – For balance.
  • Vegetable oil – This helps our cake stay nice and moist
  • Vanilla extract – Adds that alluring warmth and sweetness.
  • Eggs – Binds our cake batter together.
  • Vinegar – Creates a tangy taste.
  • Buttermilk – Helps make the batter consistency just right and also adds more tang.
  • Red food coloring – A little of this liquid is what gives us that red color.
  • Cream cheese frosting – No cans here! You’ll make this from softened cream cheese, salted butter, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar.

Easy red velvet cake recipe

Best Red Velvet Cake Recipe

This is the best red velvet cake recipe you’ll find because we’re using simple and wholesome ingredients to make it. No boxes, no canned frosting. Just pure and delicious things to bake up a truly wow-worthy cake that everyone is going to love.

How do you make red velvet cake from scratch

Easy Red Velvet Cake Recipe

Yes, this red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting is easy, I promise. Don’t let the ingredient list scare you, or the amount of prep time. True that this is not a cake to bake on a busy weeknight, you will see that it’s a snap to put together when you’ve got free time.

Tips and tricks to making red velvet cake

You’re only humane. You live once and life is wonderful, so eat the d**n red velvet cupcake.
Emma Stone

How long do you bake red velvet cake recipe

How do you Make Red Velvet Cake from Scratch?

You’ll start by getting your oven preheated to 350F and prepping two 9-inch cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and parchment paper. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large mixing bowl, sifting first to get rid of lumps. In another bowl, cream your butter and sugar on medium for 5 minutes. Add in the eggs gradually, then add the oil, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar, scraping down as needed. Mix the dry ingredients and the buttermilk 1/3 at a time and alternate between adding 1/3 of dry ingredients and 1/3 of buttermilk until it is all combined. Distribute this batter between the 2 pans, then bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Let them cool for 20 minutes in the pans before removing and cooling on a wire rack. As the cakes cool, make the frosting using your electric mixer to beat the cream cheese smooth, then add butter until well combined. Next, add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Once cakes are cool, assemble them and frost.

What goes well with red velvet cake recipe

Expert Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Red Velvet Cake Every Time

  • Let your eggs get to room temperature. Doing so will give you better volume.
  • Fluffier frosting hack…make sure both the cream cheese and the butter (the salted one you’re using for the frosting) come to room temperature first.
  • Use a cake leveler. This will help you evenly cut the tops of the cakes for a beautiful presentation, though a serrated knife can work too.
  • Take those crumbs from the leveling of the layers and use them to decorate the top if you like!

How long does red velvet cake recipe last

What flavor is red velvet cake?

Red velvet cake tastes like chocolate in a way due to the cocoa powder but with the vinegar and buttermilk, it has a contrasting tartness that makes it unique compared to chocolate.

Is a red velvet cake just a chocolate cake?

Red velvet cake has cocoa powder in it, but it contains much less of that than a chocolate cake so, it isn’t just a chocolate cake with red food coloring.

Can you freeze red velvet cake

How to Make Red Velvet Cake

Red velvet cake is easiest when you have a mixer to bring everything together. Once that batter is prepared, you bake it in your oven.

How to thaw red velvet cake

What is red velvet cake batter made of?

In red velvet cake batter, you have cake flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, unsalted butter, sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, white vinegar, liquid red food coloring, and buttermilk.

What is the secret of red velvet cake

What is the secret of red velvet cake?

Red velvet holds a few secrets. It has cocoa powder to give it a chocolatey taste. It has vinegar to give it a tang. And it also has buttermilk to give it tanginess and more richness in flavor.

How do you make the perfect red velvet cake

How do you moisten dry red velvet cake?

If you follow this recipe, that shouldn’t happen to you because vinegar is used in the batter. This gives it a better crumb. But if something went awry, time in the fridge could moisten it up.

Does red velvet cake need buttermilk?

Yes, but if you don’t have it and don’t want to run to the store, you can take your regular cup of milk and add one tablespoon of either white vinegar or lemon juice. Stir that together a minute and then add it to the recipe.

What is red velvet cake batter made of

What can I add to a red velvet cake mix to make it better?

If you want to use a red velvet cake mix you have in your pantry, you can make it better by doing a few different things. You can add another egg beyond what is called for on the box, swap the water with buttermilk, or add some vanilla extract to jazz it up.

How do you moisten dry red velvet cake

How Long do you bake Red Velvet Cake?

At 350F, it will be between 25 and 30 minutes. Set it for 25 and check with a toothpick. You don’t want them to be overdone.

What flavor is red velvet cake

How do you make the perfect red velvet cake?

If you follow this recipe, you will make the perfect red velvet cake. The steps are clearly laid out for you to walk you through it so even if you’ve never made a cake yourself, you’ll have the perfect outcome.

Is red velvet cake just a chocolate cake

What goes well with Red Velvet Cake?

Red velvet cake is a showstopper in and of itself, but you can round out your dessert table with brownies, banana pudding, or even a tray of Oreos. Serve quality coffee and tea options, and for the kids, milk is always a great pairing with this cake.

Does red velvet cake need buttermilk

How to Store Red Velvet Cake?

You should take any leftover red velvet cake you have and put it in an airtight container. Do not leave it on the counter! Put it in the fridge!

How Long Does Red Velvet Cake Last?

In the fridge, you have 3 days to finish up that red velvet cake. With each day, it will lose it’s sparkle, so if you think you can’t polish it off by then, put it in the freezer.

What can I add to red velvet cake mix to make it better

Can You Freeze Red Velvet Cake?

Oh yes, this is one cake that freezes quite well. Be sure you store it properly and it will last in your freezer for up to 3 months.

How to Reheat Red Velvet Cake?

No reheating required here…simply thaw your red velvet cake out overnight in the fridge. If it’s the day after first serving it and it’s in the fridge, put it out on the counter for about 30 minutes prior to serving.

Watch How To Make Red Velvet Cake (Video)

Classic Red Velvet Cake Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 655
This classic red velvet cake is so much more than just vanilla cake with red food coloring. The blend of vanilla, buttermilk, cocoa, and butter makes this cake exceptional. This recipe makes a deliciously moist and smooth red velvet cake that everyone LOVES!


  • 2 2/3 cups cake flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cups unsalted butter (softened at room temp)
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs (room temp)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 1oz liquid red food coloring
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (room temp)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 12 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 3/4 cup salted butter (melted)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare 2 9-inch cake pans with a nonstick cooking spray and place a layer of parchment paper on the bottoms of the pan.
  • Whisk together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Sift the dry ingredients to remove any lumps.
  • In a separate large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar on medium for about 5minutes with an electric mixer. Gradually add in the eggs until fully combined,then add the oil, food coloring, vanilla extract, and vinegar. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  • Mix in the dry ingredients and buttermilk 1/3 at a time. Alternate between 1/3 of dry ingredients, then 1/3 of the buttermilk, etc. Mix until just combined.
  • Distribute the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and tap against the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for about 20 minutes before removing them and cooling them on a wire rack.
  • While the cakes cool, prepare the cream cheese frosting. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese until smooth then add in the butter and beat until well combined. Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined, scraping down the sides as required.
  • Once the cakes have completely cooled, it is time to assemble. Level the tops of each cake with a knife. Place the first layer on a cake stand and frost evenly. Place the second layer on top and use the remaining frosting to frost the entire cake in an even layer. It’s also optional to place some cream cheese in a piping bag and add piping around the edges of the cake. Slice and serve.
Calories: 655kcal
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American


Calories: 655kcal | Carbohydrates: 88g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 510mg | Potassium: 152mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 66g | Vitamin A: 1061IU | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 1mg

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I’m a mom of two, food and wine lover, and recipe creation enthusiast. Good food brings families together. Which is why I’m devoted to sharing my best recipes that are simple enough for even the beginner cook that your family will love!

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