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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  • samantha parks says:

    The temperature at the beginning of the recipe is 350, but then it says to bake at 325. Which one is the correct temperature?

  • samantha parks says:

    For food coloring, could gel be used?

  • Susan says:

    are you sure you didn’t mean baking soda not baking powder. My cakes came oout flat as pancakes. Other recipes I saw used baking soda.

  • Aditi Dave says:

    How can I replace cakeflour with All purpose flour; as everytime cake flour is not available?

  • Anam says:

    Hi amanda
    One of your admirer.
    Amanda i dont have cake flour could u guide me how much all purpose flour ill take to amke a lovely cake like yours.

  • Janet Ray says:

    Hi Amanda…I love I AM BAKER & try many of your fabulous recipes!!! You mentioned making red velvet brownies (vs. cake) by slightly adapting the ingredients. What size pan & how long do you cook them?

  • Brenda says:

    Yes, this is a great red velvet cake!!
    I like to make a frosting like your ding dong cake filling for a lighter taste that allows the delicate flavor of the cake to be appreciated.
    Thanks for sharing all your great recipes and techniques! ❤️

  • Pesamie says:

    I love you!!! Thank you for sharing… I’m Pesamie from Philippines….

  • Eve says:

    Hi, Amanda l love Your recipes and with your videos they are so easy to follow. I’m not a very good baker but with your recipes l think I’m going to enjoy learning , thank you .
    Your Red Velvet cake is so good and it’s my daughter’s
    Favorite .

  • Dar says:

    July 14, 2019 – Came out flat and bland. Should have followed my instincts and used baking soda + baking powder, doubled the vanilla and added salt.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Bummer! I will remake the recipe and see if I can replicate your results. If I do, I might need to make some changes!

  • MaryBeth says:

    If I wanted to convert this into a cupcake recipe–any advice or tips for what might needs to be changed?

    Thanks, I absolutely LOVE your page!

  • Ngahiti Faulkner says:

    L O V E Red Velvet Cake
    which was my birthday cake… your recipes are so so easy to follow n make! Lemon pie ditto….

  • Glenda Downs says:

    I made a lots of your recipes. I love them. Making this red velvet cake for my granddaughter birthday and my son wedding.
    Need Christmas cookies recipes

  • Mary says:

    Dear Amanda,
    Good morning,I am going to bake the Red Velvet Cake for my Husband’s Office for Christmas Time. I will be using a Buttercream frosting. My question to you when I read the cake recipe I noticed that I am to add Vinegar to the cake batter. I have never heard of this can you please explain to me why I need to add this? Thank you,Mary

  • Mary says:

    Dear Amanda,
    Hello,It is Mary again I watched your video on the Red Velvet Cake. Can you let me know by email what type of Vinegar to use? Do I use the Organic Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar or do I use Distilled White Vinegar? I need to bake on Dec.22 to go to the office on 23rd. Please either email me or can you post the answer here on the cake page of your posting? Thank you,Mary

  • Krista says:

    like other mentioned, my three layers were flat as pancakes. I followed the directions exactly as listed and tried not to over mix. My batter seemed way too thick. Confused and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  • Margaree Lee-Gibson says:

    I’m giving a 4, because my experience with baking a red velvet cake 1/4 cup cocoa is too much.

  • Jean White says:

    Thank You First of all for being I AM Baker. I have a friend that uses beet juice instead of red food coloring because of allergies. Have you ever tried this in any recipe.

  • Natalia says:

    I followed this recipe to a T. Watched the video, did everything in the right order, used 8” baking pans…these layers are flat as a pancake like the above comments. I feel like something wasn’t right here.

  • Kathy Lortz says:

    Can I use this recipe to make cupcakes and how many will it make?

  • Sarah says:

    I just did your carrot cake and let me say… I am so impressed!!! I have NEVER baked a cake from scratch, really easy to follow and it turned out absolutely amazing! THANK YOU! I think I’ll be trying the red velvet next! ❤️

  • Kelli says:

    I’ve used a lot of your recipes in the past, so when I needed a red velvet cake I came straight here. I have to say, this cake turned out very poorly, despite following all the directions. The taste is very bland, bordering on unpleasant, and it has a strange texture. Not light at all. Unfortunately, I think I am going to have to buy a box mix in order to finish my cake creation in time for my son’s birthday.

  • Lynn Chriss says:

    I made the recipe and it was a flat pancake, barely an inch high.
    I did it again except I added 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
    Turned out much better

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Thank you for that feedback, I will re-test this recipe!

  • Caitlin F. says:

    Cakes were very dense. Had to cook forever because the middle was still raw which made the cakes dry with hard edges. Made both cupcakes and 6″ squares and had the same problem with baking.

  • Darlena Moore says:

    Do you have a jar recipe for red velvet cake?