Red Velvet Cake

Sorry I’m posting late, but here’s another recipe for red velvet cake.   I got this one from a local cake store, but have seen it used by many Southern bakers as well.  If you or the people you are baking for are looking for a moist cake, this is it!  Just be careful not to overbeat or you risk toughening up the gluten in the flour and making the cake kind of rubbery.

red velvet cake

Red Velvet Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A very simple and moist red velvet cake. Great for beginners.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, not dark
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon red gel paste food color or 1 ounce of red color
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Icing
  • 16 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and two 9 inch round pans with parchment or line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners.
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa. You want to remove any lumps, because this batter just gets stirred rather than beaten. Stir in the sugar.
  3. In a second bowl, mix the buttermilk, oil, and eggs with a handheld or stand mixer until well mixed. Stir in the food coloring, vinegar and vanilla.
  4. Add the dry ingredients slowly and mix until fully incorporated. Don’t over-beat or you’ll risk toughening up the gluten in the flour.
  5. Split batter between the pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cakes spring back when touched. If baking cupcakes, start checking for doneness at 20 minutes. Allow to
  6. cool in the pan. Once cool, turn cake out of pan. Slice off any rounded top to level the 9. cakes.
  7. Have cream cheese and butter at room temperature. With paddle attachment of a stand mixer or hand
  8. mixer, mix butter and cream cheese together. Slowly add confectioners; sugar. Add vanilla last and mix until fluffy.


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  1. PhillyGirl says

    Wow, your cake looks delish. I made a RV cake Sat eve but used a boxed mix and canned frosting. Not bad for a pinch when you don’t have time for a from-scratch cake. I think Paula Deen’s recipe is the best but this one may change my mind.

  2. says

    I gave my mom a piece of this cake too. She remarked that it was much better than the H.E.B. red velvet cake (the one I like because I remember it from childhood) and that she tasted a lot of different flavors in the cake. So that was a great review! The point of red velvet is not to be a chocolate cake, but to be a tangy and weird-yet-delicious cake.

    This cake seemed to improve with age, so it’s a good make-ahead.

  3. Jannine says

    Thanks Anna, you have fantastic timing! My niece asked me to make her a Red Velvet Cake for her birthday this coming weekend and I was going to look on the web for a good recipe but now I don’t need to look any further. As always, you have come through! Any idea if you can substitute liquid food coloring for the gel paste type? Not sure if the extra liquid would affect the finished cake or not. Thanks again!

  4. says

    This cake was FANTASTIC! Thanks so much for the recipe. I’ll definitely be keeping it around. And yes – it was great 2 and 3 days afterward!

  5. Kelly Ann says

    This cake was awesome! I made red velvet mini cupcakes (so cute!). I like the minimal use but high impact of red food coloring in this recipe too; there are other rv recipes out there with way more red food coloring and the exact same color results.

  6. Jen says

    I have never made a Red Velvet cake, but would like to for my husband’s birthday at the end of the month. Do you think this is the best (& easiest) recipe you have posted for it? I like that it does not call for cake flour, which I never have on hand.

  7. says

    Hi Jen,

    I think if you’ve never made a red velvet cake, then this is a great recipe to start with. It’s easy, always moist, and people love it.

  8. Sarah says

    Hi Anna, if I use cake flour instead, will it turn out different (ie : softer, lighter)? I made this and it was good, it tasted great compared to a couple more red velvet recipe I tried but its a bit dense, the guys loved it. But I think I’d like it a bit lighter. Can that be possible if I change it to cake flour or self-raising flour?

  9. says

    Hi Sarah,

    This cake is pretty dense and heavy. Some people seem to love that texture, but it’s not my favorite either. I actually like my red velvet cake to be a little bit tighter crumbed and lighter, and it sounds like that’s what you prefer as well. Given that, you might want to just switch recipes. Using cake flour in this one (you’d have to adjust the amount and use more) might make it softer, but I don’t think you’d get what you are looking for. Here’s another one you may like better. I haven’t made this exact recipe, but I’ve made cakes with similar proportions and they were very good. You just have to follow the recipe precisely and not make any substitutions. This one is called Aunt Mildred’s Red Velvet Cake. I may try to make it this week.

  10. Sarah says

    I tried the Aunt Mildred’s recipe. Its definitely lighter! Just how I like it. I cut the cocoa into half to achieve a brighter red and added equal amount of flour to compensate. Thanks Anna for the link! the next time I make this I’ll probably make one and a half batch to get a bigger cake.

  11. Becca says

    Hi Anna,

    I’m a long time follower on your site and have made many of your recipes, but this is my first time writing. This sounds like a great cake for Red Velvet first timers. Any advice on brands of food coloring? Does the Wilton gel taste okay? Any advice would be great.


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