Red Velvet Cake Recipe is so easy to make from scratch. Each bite is moist and heavenly and the cream cheese frosting makes it amazing. This southern recipe does not disappoint and is meant to be enjoyed year round.

Red Velvet Cake on a cake stand with a slice being served
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This delicious recipe is super easy to make but the results are so delicious. Easy Red Velvet Cake recipe will become your new favorite holiday cake recipe. It looks fancy enough to be from a bakery.

Make sure to check out Gingerbread Cake Recipe, Christmas Dirt Cake or Christmas Cranberry Cake for other holiday cakes recipes.

Why we love this Red Velvet Cake Recipe:

  • Taste – We love the way red velvet taste. The cream cheese frosting really brings the flavors of the chocolate and vanilla together.
  • Easy to Make – We love how simple this recipe is to make. Anyone can make this even if you are not a baker.
  • Simple Ingredient – The ingredients are simple and can be easily found at the store.
  • Appearance – We love the deep red color of this cake. Topped with the white frosting it is so eye pleasing and perfect holiday cake.

What is Red Velvet Cake made of?

Red Velvet cake is a heavenly dessert that you will love. Once you make this homemade cake, you will skip the store bought mixes. This recipe is SO much better.

This cake is typically a chocolate layer cake that is tinted red.  The chocolate flavor is not as strong as a normal chocolate cake. 

This Red Velvet Cake is perfect to serve for Christmas or for Valentine’s Day.

Red velvet cake on a cake stand with a slice being served

Is a Red Velvet Cake just a Chocolate Cake?

While both cakes definitely have similarities, they are not the same thing. Classic Red Velvet typically has buttermilk or some recipes call for vinegar. Whereas chocolate cake does not call for these. The flavor is not the same in the cakes and they do taste different.

I know many people that are not huge chocolate cake fans but they love red velvet cake. The flavor is less intense and really just has its own unique flavor. Red velvet cake is amazing.

Ingredients:

Ingredients needed for Red Velvet Cake - Cake Flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, butter, sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla extract, red food coloring, buttermilk
  • Cake Flour
  • Cocoa Powder 
  • Baking Soda 
  • Salt 
  • Butter, Softened 
  • Sugar 
  • Vegetable Oil 
  • Large Eggs 
  • Vanilla Extract 
  • Red Food Coloring 
  • Buttermilk 

For the full list of ingredients and recipe, scroll to the bottom for the recipe card.

Step by Step Instructions:

  • Step 1 – Prepare the Oven – Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Step 2 – Grease the Pans – Grease and flour 2 9-in cake pans.  I prefer to flour as the cakes come out easier once they are cooked. 
Combining the dry ingredients in a bowl

Step 3 – Whisk the flour, baking soda, natural cocoa powder and salt together in a large bowl.

Beating the butter and sugar with a hand mixer in a bowl

Step 4 – Using either a stand up or electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar until thoroughly mix together. We add on the paddle attachment for easy mixing on medium speed.

Adding the oil, egg and vanilla together in a bowl with a hand mixer

Step 5 – Then add in the oil, egg yolks (save the egg whites) and vanilla extract.  Mix until these ingredients are combined and use a spatula to scrape the edge of the bowl as well. 

Combining the dry and wet ingredients in a clear bowl with a mixer

Step 6 – Then slowly add in the dry ingredients and the buttermilk. Mix until both are thoroughly combined into the wet ingredients.  

Adding the red food coloring to the cake batter

Step 7 – Then add approximately 2 tsp of red gel food coloring until the batter is the color that you desire for your cake. 

Beating the egg whites in a bowl with a hand mixer

Step 8 – Next in a separate mixing bowl. Beat the egg whites until they are light and fluffy and form peaks. Gently stir in the eggs white until the red cake batter until they are combined.  Do not over mix.

Pouring the red velvet cake batter into round cake pans

Step 9 – Pour the batter evenly into the 2 9-inch pans. Then bake for 30 minutes to 33 minute until a tooth pick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Bake time will vary based on your oven.

Cooling red velvet cakes on a cooling rack

Step 10 – Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes and then remove the cake from the pans to a cooling rack. When toothpick comes out clean, cakes are done.

Assemble Red Velvet Cake:

Beating the softened cream cheese in a mixing bowl

Step 1 – In a large mixing bowl add cream cheese and beat until smooth with a hand held or stand up mixer. 

Adding butter to the cream cheese mixture

Step 2 – Add in butter and beat butter until smooth.

Combining the frosting ingredients together

Step 3 – Gradually add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing in between each cup until combined. Mix in the vanilla extract until the frosting is smooth. 

Placing the red velvet cake on a cake stand

Step 4 – Cut the round portion off of the tops of each of the cooled cakes with a serrated knife to make the cakes live.

Frosted the bottom layer of the cake

Step 5 – Put 1 of the cakes on a serving platter or cake stand.  Top the cake with the cream cheese frosting.

Frosting the red velvet cake

Step 6 – Then carefully stack the other cake on top of the 1st cake. Frost the top of the cake and the sides of the cake. Frost with the remaining cream cheese frosting (reserve some of the frosting to decorate the cake).  

Expert Tips:

  • Round Cake Pans – We used a set of round 9″ cake pans to make this cake. This gives you the pretty layers that red velvet is known for. This is just an option though as this recipe is very versatile.
  • Make CupcakesAnother idea to try is cupcakes. This option would be perfect for parties and more. Use cupcake holders for an easy clean up for your muffin pan.
  • Mixer – You certainly can use a hand mixer but we love our stand mixer. It gets a ton of use and to this day is such a good investment. We bake a lot so it is so handy and we love our mixer. 
  • Cool Cakes – Make sure the cake is cool completely before icing. I use a set of these baking racks and they are great! This prevents crumbs getting in the frosting.
  • Leveling Cakes – After baking your cakes, they may have a dome on the top. I like to slice off the top so that the cakes stack evenly. This makes it easy to frost and looks so beautiful displayed.
  • Room Temperature Ingredients – Before planning on making this cake. We like to set out the ingredients to bring them to room temperature. The ingredients mix better when they are at room temperature.
  • Laying Cake – When placing your cakes on top of each, make sure you are gentle with them. They can break easily as the cakes bake up soft and moist.

What is the Flavor of Red Velvet Cake?

Red Velvet Cake combines the wonderful flavors of chocolate and vanilla thanks to the buttermilk that is added. When making a red velvet cake the main taste you get is from the cream cheese frosting.

Making a red velvet cake it must be topped with a homemade cream cheese frosting. Combining the flavors of the cream cheese frosting and the fluffy, light texture of the cake make it the best flavor.

Whole Red Velvet Cake frosted on a cake stand

How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting:

We love making homemade frosting for our cakes and cupcakes. This Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe is simple to make with only four ingredients. You will love making it so much that you will never buy store bought again.

Ingredients needed:

  • Cream Cheese
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Vanilla Extract

Make sure that cream cheese is softened and beat in a stand mixer until smooth. Add in butter and combine thoroughly. Then slowly add in powdered sugar continue mixing until smooth and creamy.

Add in vanilla then top the Red Velvet Cake with this amazing frosting.

You can use store bought frosting. But making cream cheese from scratch allows you to know exactly the ingredients you are adding and adjust accordingly.

Can I Make this Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can make this Red Velvet Cake ahead of time. If I am planning ahead and make the cakes, I recommend placing in the refrigerator. I don’t frost the cake until I am ready to serve.

Make sure to cover the cakes with plastic wrap to keep the cake from drying out.

Can I Freeze Red Velvet Cake?

Yes, you can freeze red velvet cake. You can freeze the cake as a whole cake or in individual slices. We like to double wrap the cake with plastic wrap and then foil. If stored properly, the cake will last up to 3 months in the freezer.

When you are ready to serve, thaw the cake in the refrigerator overnight. Then frost the cake with the cream cheese frosting and serve.

Red Velvet Cake on a cake stand with a slice of cake on a plate

How to Store Red Velvet Cake

I like to keep my cake in the refrigerator in an air tight container. It will last for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Our cake never lasts that long because everyone gobbles it up. It is a favorite around here.

Before serving the Red Velvet Cake we like to bring it to room temperature.

Also see How Long Does Birthday Cake Last.

More Red Velvet Desserts

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Red Velvet Cake Recipe

4.50 from 20 votes
Red velvet cake recipe is so easy to make from scratch. Each bite is moist and heavenly and the cream cheese frosting makes it amazing.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cool 5 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 12
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Calories 942

Ingredients

For the Cake:

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 2 packages Cream Cheese (softened) 8 ounces each 
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened) 
  • 6 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

For the Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Grease and flour 2 9-in cake pans. I prefer to flour as the cakes come out easier once they are cooked.
  • Combine the flour, baking soda, cocoa and salt together in a mixing bowl.
  • Using either a stand up or hand held mixer, combine the butter and sugar until thoroughly mix together (approximately 1 minute).
  • Then add in the oil, egg yolks (save the egg whites) and vanilla extract. Mix until these ingredients are combined and use a spatula to scrape the edge of the bowl as well.
  • Slowly add in the dry ingredients and the buttermilk until both are thoroughly combined into the wet ingredients.
  • Add approximately 2 tsp of red gel food coloring until the batter is the color that you desire for your cake.
  • Next in a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until they are light and fluffy and form peaks.
  • Gently stir in the eggs white until the red batter until they are combined. Do not over mix.
  • Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and bake for 30-33 minute until a tooth pick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes and then remove the cake from the pans to a wire rack.
  • Make sure that the cakes have cooled completely before topping with frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • In a large mixing bowl add cream cheese and beat until smooth with a hand held or stand up mixer.  
  • Add in butter and beat butter until smooth.
  • Gradually add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing in between each cup until combined. 
  • Mix in the vanilla extract until the frosting is smooth. 

To Assemble the Cake: 

  • Cut the round portion off of the tops of each of the cooled cakes with a serrated knife to make the cakes live. 
  • Put 1 of the cakes on a serving platter or cake stand.  Top the cake with the cream cheese frosting.  
  • Then carefully stack the other cake on top of the 1st cake.  
  • Frost the top of the cake and the sides of the cake with the remaining cream cheese frosting (reserve some of the frosting to decorate the cake). 
  • Using the reserved frosting, pipe some swirls on top of the cake. 
  • Then the cake is ready to serve and enjoy! 

Recipe Notes

Refrigerate any leftovers, covered, for up to 5 days.  

Nutrition Facts

Calories 942kcal, Carbohydrates 120g, Protein 9g, Fat 49g, Saturated Fat 21g, Polyunsaturated Fat 12g, Monounsaturated Fat 12g, Trans Fat 1g, Cholesterol 135mg, Sodium 413mg, Potassium 149mg, Fiber 1g, Sugar 95g, Vitamin A 1091IU, Calcium 79mg, Iron 1mg

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Carrie. Welcome to Desserts on a Dime!

I’m on a mission to help you create delicious desserts on a budget and do not require a ton of time. Together, we are going to make something sweet that the entire family will love!

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  1. 5 stars
    I made this cake last weekend and it was delicious! It has always been my husband’s favorite cake. I iced it with your cream cheese frosting and added a few chopped pecans on top. Delicious!

  2. 5 stars
    I loved this Red Velvet Cake, which I recently made for my husband’s birthday in early December. I have loved Red Velvet Cake since the first time I tried it while visiting Georgia a few years back. This recipe version was so tender & delicious. I think it was the buttermilk addition that made it so perfect. I will keep this recipe in my files, or just when I feel like serving such a lovely dessert. Thank you.