Red Velvet Cake

filed under: Chocolate Cakes on December 7, 2017

This red velvet cake is moist and flavorful and always a show stopper! If you have never made a red velvet cake from scratch, now is the time! Give this One Bowl Pink Velvet Cake a try next!

NO-FAIL Red Velvet Cake! Always delicious! #cake #redvelvetcake #redvelvet #iambaker

I love this cake for a number of reasons, but mostly because of the taste. It’s just darn delicious! A really good Red Velvet Cake.

What is Red Velvet Cake?

This cake has been around forever and started out with simple ingredients like cocoa, buttermilk, and vinegar.The redd color was added later, resulting in the vibrant colors we see today. It is traditionally paired with cream cheese frosting, but red velvet cake purists often prefer an ermine (what I call cake gravy) frosting.

Obsessed with the EXTRA rich cream cheese frosting on a red velvet cake!

What Does Red Velvet Cake Taste Like?

These days (in most recipes) it tastes like a chocolate cake. But it shouldn’t taste AS rich as a traditional chocolate cake because of the addition of buttermilk and vinegar, which cut into the richness of the cocoa. However, all of that depends on the quality and selection of the ingredients. You could use a special dark cocoa or apple cider vinegar or extra rich vanilla which would all impact the flavor. I recommend making your own homemade buttermilk for this recipe!

I walked the middle road with my red velvet cake recipe, using buttermilk and vinegar, but also food color. I also paired it with my favorite cream cheese frosting and think it’s all quite magical!


The Only red velvet cake recipe you will ever need!

How do You Decorate a Red Velvet Cake?

I decorated this cake with a few simple tools.

First was a piping bag fitted with a 2A (large open round) tip. I used this tip to create the dollops around the edged of the cake. It is not essential to use a 2A tip, you can achieve a similar effect by just cutting off the tip of the piping bag. It IS important to use a piping bag to control the flow of frosting when piping the dollops.

Next is the large offset spatula. This was used to create the pattern on top of the cake where I simply pressed the tip of the spatula down into the dollop and dragged towards the center of the cake. It’s so simple and forgiving yet a really beautiful way to decorate.

Seriously moist and rich red velvet cake! #redvelvet #redvelvetcake #cake #iambaker

Tips, Tricks, and Variations for Red Velvet Cake

You can make your cream cheese frosting in advance, just make sure it comes to room temperature before you spread it on the cake.

When cutting this cake use a long sharp knife. I like to cut cake chilled for more precise pieces, but for this cake specifically, I prefer to serve it at room temperature. At room temperature it is soft and using a sharp knife will help ensure your pieces stay together and look beautiful.

Want to turn this recipe into brownies? Add an additional egg (so 3 total) and remove the baking powder. It’s dense and fudgy red velvet brownie fabulousness!

Super moist and crazy delicious red velvet cake!

3.2 from 10 votes
Seriously moist and rich red velvet cake! #redvelvet #redvelvetcake #cake #iambaker
Red Velvet Cake
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
29 mins
Total Time
39 mins

This red velvet cake is moist and flavorful and always a show stopper! If you have never made a red velvet cake from scratch, now is the time!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Red Velvet Cake
Servings: 8 SERVING
Author: Amanda Rettke
  • 1 cup (240g) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. McCormick vanilla
  • 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 1 oz red food color
  • 2 cups (450g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cups (224g) vegetable oil (can use olive oil)
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups (320g) cake flour
  • 1/4 cup (32g) good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8-inch round baking pans by spraying with baking and lining with parchment or spreading GOOP and lining with parchment.

  2. In a 2 cup measuring cup (or medium bowl) pour buttermilk.
  3. Add the vanilla, vinegar, and red food color to buttermilk and whisk to fully combine. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl add sugar, oil, and eggs and whisk together by hand until it is smooth and light yellow.
  5. Add cake flour, cocoa, and baking powder to the sugar mixture and whisk until just combined.
  6. Now add the buttermilk mixture and whisk until just combined. You do not want any lumps, but I do recommend being gentle with this batter.

  7. Pour about 1 3/4 cup batter into each pan and bake for 22-32 minutes. When using my convection oven I will bake these at 325°F for 22 minutes. The cake is done when it does not appear wet on the top and if you press your finger gently in the center of the cake it feels firm.

  8. Allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack. Chill cakes until ready to assemble.

Recipe Video

3.2 from 10 votes
The BEST Cream Cheese frosting!
Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: cream cheese frosting
Author: Amanda Rettke
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened and cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 c 1 stick, 113g unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
  • 2 tsp. McCormick vanilla extract
  • 5 c confectioner’s sugar
  1. Combine all ingredients except the sugar into the bowl of stand mixer and mix on medium speed until smooth, about 3 to 4 minutes.

  2. Reduce the mixer speed to medium low and add the confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl often.

  3. Once all sugar is added, beat until fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes.

This is one SUPER moist red velvet cake! I couldn’t stop taking pictures of it. Well, I did actually because then I got to eat it. 🙂

After additional testing, this recipe has been updated to use CAKE FLOUR instead of all-purpose.

Cake design from

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  • Gillian says:

    HI! I AM SO HAPPY I GOT TO FOLLOW YOUR VLOG! THANKS SO MUCH for sharing your expertise! However I have no idea how i can get buttermilk because we don’t sell it here in Norway. Any ideas,suggestions with replacemewnt for it? I tried googling however it would be BEST to hear it from an expert like you! Again,thanks and hoping to hear from you!

    • Amanda says:

      Hi! Yes, you can make your own buttermilk! Take 1 cup of whole milk and add 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Let sit for about 5 minutes and you have buttermilk! 🙂

  • Thasneem sameer says:

    Thank u for ur recipe .i love ur chocolate cake recipe its really superb .i’ll try this tooo

  • Nida Espina says:

    How to make butter topping. What are the ingredients aside from butter.

  • Tiphanie says:

    Looked delicious! If I use gel food coloring instead of the red liquid, would it change the way the recipe turns out? I already have the gel type, and would prefer to use what I have on hand. Thanks for the recipe!

  • KC says:

    Made this and the layers came out as the smallest cake layers ever. Not impressed whatsoever.

    • Amanda says:

      Did you use 9-inch pans? That would result in a thinner layer and not be as visually appealing.

  • Lori says:

    I am ready to make this beautiful cake but just realized I only have 9 inch pans. Snowed in so I can’t go buy them. I suppose I can make only two layers unless anyone has another suggestion?

    • Amanda says:

      Yup, I would make 2 layers. 🙂

      • Lori says:

        I just did and the 2 layers look amazing! I can’t wait to serve for Xmas eve dessert. I will be sure to buy 8 inch pans for next time around. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Erin says:

    Does this recipe call for regular or dutch cocoa powder?

    • Megan says:

      I used regular unsweetened cocoa 😀

    • Amanda says:

      Natural (regular) cocoa. 🙂

  • Rebecca says:

    Hello! I love th recipes you share. I try and share almost all of them.

    I ❤️❤️❤️ Red velvet cake, but had never made one from scratch, so I was excited to try this recipe. I’m not sure what happened, but my cake layers didn’t rise; they are very dense and skimpy. They are a little dry too. Otherwise, the flavor is excellent.

    Does the type of cocoa matter? Could that be what made it dry? I’m definitely trying the recipe again and see if it what some fluke.

    • Amanda says:

      If you used Dutch Process cocoa, that could make a minor difference, but not enough to make the cake skimpy and dense.
      My apologies for the dryness, I never ran into that in all my testing of this recipe. I’m at a loss as to why there were any issues. This recipe was tested and tested… always with great results. I will do some research and see if I can determine why you had these specific issues.

  • Stacwy Kelley says:

    Can tbisbrexioe be doubled or even tripled? I need to make a half sheet cake.

  • Jessica says:

    How many cupcakes do you suppose this recipe would make?

    • Katlyn says:

      I just made this recipe with cupcakes and it made 24 as is. Very impressed!! Beautiful color and they have a pretty domed top instead of pancake flat like other cupcake recipes turn out.

      • Amanda says:

        Great to know, thank you!!

  • Pearl says:

    This cake is amazing! I made it for New Year’s Eve and it was a big hit. Thank you for the recipe! I used 9-inch pans but it still looked very professional.

  • mandy says:

    when you said CAKE FLOUR, it can be any flour? or it should be a specific cake flour
    thsnks 🙂

  • laura says:

    Looking forward to trying this one. Very pretty as well!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Nice one

  • Robbie says:

    Can you use butter instead of oil?

  • Juliet C. Jacutin says:

    I love baking and would like to try new recipes.

  • Naznin Hajee says:

    Hi all i had a question about the variation to make it into a brownie mixture.

    My question is what size cake tin would you use if you were to make brownies??


    • Amanda says:

      I would use a 9×13 pan

  • Patty says:

    I’m not sure what went wrong, but it turned out dry and tasteless. Disappointed.

    • Zoe Read says:

      Do you need to add anything for high altitude ?

  • Yanira says:

    Im making this cake this week but wanted to clarify….is the Mccormick vanilla in the cake recipe also vanilla extract? Thanks!

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Yanira! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. Yes, it is vanilla extract. Have a great day!

  • yuliana says:

    I have never liked red velvet cake. It is usually too crumbly and just a red cake. However, my daughter requested one, and I tried yours. It is truly delicious, and perfect with the frosting. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Amanda says:

      So happy to hear! <3

  • Dee says:

    Can you use all purpose flour instead of cake flour

  • Lori says:

    Just finished baking the cakes. I used three 8” round pans and my cakes are much thinner than those in your video. My baking powder is new but could it be bad? I did not use a convection oven, could that make a difference? My eggs were not room temp. Could that make a difference? I was excited about your recipe because the thick cakes are so pretty. Still very excited to assemble and taste.

  • pat hughes says:

    recipe looks great

  • Esther says:

    Hey.i love watching your videos.i live in Nairobi Kenya and i love baking.i will try the red velvet cake.Thanks for making it simple.

  • Harriette says:

    Hi, I was just wondering if you might have a really good chocolate pound cake recipe.

    Thank you regardless!