This Easy Red Velvet cake is made with buttermilk and topped with a rich and creamy cream cheese frosting. Delicious and beautiful!
This recipe was originally published 2014/01/15. It has since been updated to include clear instructions and new photos.
I once made this recipe in a baking competition. It was a Cupcake Wars style competition where I went head to head with four other crazy talented bakers.
The pressure was intense and I questioned if red velvet was the right choice. After an hour in the display kitchen, with dozens of people watching, we were ready to pass over our creations to be judged.
I got second place.
First place went to another super talented baker who killed it with the decorations. After all was said and done, each of the judges shook my hand and mentioned that if the competition was only based on flavor, I would have knocked it out of the park.
I consider that a win.
- Classic Red Velvet Flavor
- Smooth and Creamy Frosting
- Truly the BEST Homemade Red Velvet Cake
What You’ll Need:
The list for this easy red velvet cake recipe is long, so the full ingredients and measurements can be found in the recipe card below.
- Cocoa powder- Spring for a nicer quality cocoa.
- Buttermilk- Buttermilk helps to tenderize the gluten and adds a slight tang.
- Red food color- You can always skip this, but you won’t have that bold red color that is known with this recipe.
- Vanilla extract- Always use PURE vanilla.
- Vinegar- Regular white distilled vinegar.
Want another quick and easy Valentine’s treat? Try making your own chocolate covered strawberries!
Step by Step Instructions:
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of three 8 inch cake pans with parchment and grease the sides.
- In the bowl of your electric mixer whisk together your flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, corn starch and salt. Grab a large measuring cup and combine the oil, eggs, buttermilk, food color, extract, and vinegar. Slowly mix into the dry ingredients.
- Divide your batter evenly between your prepared pans. Bake 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Frost with your favorite frosting. We like cream cheese frosting.
Tips and FAQs:
- Always use room temperature ingredients for your cake. This helps everything to incorporate without overmixing.
- I find it helpful to line the bottom of my cake pans with parchment paper to avoid the cake sticking when turning out.
- Use a cake cutter, like this one from Wilton (affiliate), to evenly cut your cake layers.
- Need an easy decorating idea? Try pipping on a few roses with frosting.
Is red velvet cake just chocolate?
Technically, this cake does include cocoa powder. However, the amount in the batter is so minimal that it does not have that classic chocolate flavor.
What is the flavor of red velvet cake?
Red Velvet cake gets its distinct flavor from buttermilk, vinegar, and small amounts of cocoa powder. The amount of cocoa is so minimal that it wouldn’t be classified as chocolate, but enough that it would not fall under the label of vanilla. Red velvet lands somewhere between the two leaving you with a moist and rich cake that tastes incredible when paired with a cream cheese frosting.
Like this recipe? You will love my:
- Homemade Red Velvet Pancakes
- Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
- Cake Mix Red Velvet Cookies
- Red Velvet Cupcakes
- 5-Ingredient Red Velvet Cookies
For the cake:
- 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 5 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups canola oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoon red food coloring
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
For the frosting:
- 1-1/2 cups butter (3 sticks), slightly softened
- 4 oz cream cheese, slightly softened
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of three 8-inch cake pans with parchment and grease the sides. Set aside.
2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, corn starch and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer or a large mixing bowl.
3. Using a large measuring cup, combine the oil, eggs, buttermilk, food color, extract, and vinegar. Whisk to combine.
4. Slowly stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, keeping the mixer on low speed, until the batter has just come together and is smooth.
5. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
For the frosting:
1. Combine the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of your electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat on low speed for 2 minutes or until fully combined.
2. Scrape the sides of your bowl. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and mix until incorporated.
3. With the mixer on low speed, add the cream and vanilla extract. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and allow the ingredients to blend for 4 minutes.
4. Scrape the side of the bowl and continue to mix for one minute more.
5. Frost your cooled cake.
For a six inch cake bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
This frosting gives you a very mild cream cheese flavor. If you are looking for more of a tang follow this suggestion:
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 14 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 420Total Fat: 55gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 31gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 522mgCarbohydrates: 107gFiber: 1gSugar: 76gProtein: 6g
Calories are provided by a third party app.
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