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Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake

A red velvet cake recipe adapted from The Complete Cook's Country TV Show Cookbook. Make sure to use natural (as opposed to Dutch or dark) cocoa so the cake will have the proper color and rise.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Cook's Country, Red Velvet Cupcakes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Cooling 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 12
Author America's Test Kitchen via Cookie Madness


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour** (315 grams)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt I used a generous pinch
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature (240 ml)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder do not use Dutch or Dark
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened (170 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar ( 300 grams)


  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks and softened (240 grams)
  • 1 pound 3 ¾-4 cups confectioner’s sugar (448 grams)
  • 1 pound cream cheese (449 grams)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat to 350 degrees. Grease two 9 inch round cake pans, line with parchment paper, grease parchment, then line pans (Note: I was out of parchment, so I just greased the pan with shortening and dusted it with flour). Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla extract together in a 4 cup liquid measure. Mix the 2 tablespoons of the cocoa and red food coloring together in a small bowl to form a smooth paste.
  • Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in flour mixture in three parts, alternating with egg mixture and scraping sides of bowl as needed. Add cocoa mixture and beat on medium speed until completely incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed. Give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, about 25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge of the cakes, then flip them out onto a wire rack. Peel off the parchment paper (if using), flip the cakes right side up, and let cool completely before frosting.
  • For the Frosting: Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, 1 piece at a time, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Beat in vanilla and salt. If making ahead, keep chilled until ready to use (Bring to room temperature before using).
  • When cakes are ready, line the edges of a cake platter with stripes of parchment or wax paper to keep the platter clean while you assemble the cake. Place one of the cake layers on the platter. Spread 2 cups of the frosting evenly over the top, right to the edge of the cake. Place the other cake layer on top and press gently to adhere. Frost the cake with the remaining frosting


America's Test Kitchen uses 5 ounces/140 of flour per cup. I thought I'd mention that since I typically use 4.5 ounces of flour per cup.