Delicious Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is an impressive dessert that is fairly easy to make and has the best flavor. Featuring the most gorgeous red hue, it’s especially perfect for Valentine’s Day, but it’s great for birthdays, holidays, and everyday occasions, too!
This Red Velvet Cake recipe is a classic, and always a hit not only because of its gorgeous color but also because it’s super moist, velvety, flavorful and covered in a tangy cream cheese frosting. It has a subtle chocolate taste from the addition of cocoa powder, as well as a delicious tang from buttermilk and the silky cream cheese frosting.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Easy to make from scratch: This cake recipe is made in a 9×13-inch pan, so there’s no need to worry about layering multiple cakes. It also calls for common ingredients and uses simple steps.
- Tastes incredible! It has a traditional red velvet flavor with a soft, ultra moist texture.
- Perfect for celebrations: Whether it’s for holiday parties, Christmas celebrations, Valentine’s Day or birthdays, red velvet cake is always a hit!
This red velvet cake recipe uses common baking ingredients, plus the traditional red velvet ingredients of cocoa powder, buttermilk, vinegar and red food coloring. Here’s everything you’ll need:
- Flour: You don’t need any special cake flour for this recipe. Use all-purpose flour for a perfectly tender crumb.
- Cornstarch: Helps to ensure the texture is perfectly soft.
- Cocoa powder: For a light chocolate flavor.
- Baking staples: A combination of baking powder and baking soda ensures the cake bakes properly.
- Salt: To really intensify all of the flavors.
- Granulated sugar: Adds sweetness without overwhelming the flavors.
- Butter & oil: The combination of melted unsalted butter and vegetable oil will not only add rich flavor but also keep the cake plenty moist.
- Eggs: Three eggs provide structure and extra richness.
- Buttermilk: This is essential and what makes the cake extra tender and also adds a slight tangy flavor.
- Red food coloring: A must for that gorgeous red color!
- Vanilla extract: Enhances the overall taste with warm, sweet flavor.
- Distilled white vinegar: A very small amount will react with the baking soda to make the softest, most tender texture.
- Boiling coffee or water: Hot coffee brings out the chocolate flavor in the cocoa. If you don’t have coffee, you can use hot water.
For the cream cheese frosting:
- Cream cheese: Use brick-style cream cheese for an extra sturdy base and plenty of tangy flavor.
- Butter: For buttery richness.
- Confectioners’ sugar: Powdered sugar perfectly sweetens the frosting.
- Vanilla extract: Adds subtle sweetness and warmth.
How to make this recipe
- Prep: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9×13-inch pan and set aside.
- Dry ingredients: Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Wet ingredients: To the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, cream the sugar, oil, and butter. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Next, whisk in the buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla extract, and vinegar until well combined. Beat in the hot coffee, then slowly add in the dry ingredients and whisk until fully incorporated.
- Bake: Pour batter onto the prepared baking pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before frosting.
- Make frosting: While the cake is baking, beat together the cream cheese, butter, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla extract in a stand mixer or by hand, until light and fluffy.
- Frost cake: After the cake has cooled spread frosting over the cake and cut into even-sized pieces. Serve and enjoy!
Getting ready to whip up this wonderful red velvet cake recipe? Before you start, here are some tips to ensure it turns out perfectly.
- Room temperature ingredients: Before getting started, bring all the ingredients to room temperature. They will mix together more evenly and thoroughly, which will yield a more soft and tender cake.
- Using cornstarch: While you can substitute the corn starch for another 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, the addition of cornstarch will yield the best cake texture.
- Make a layer cake: This totally works as either a 2 or 3-layer cake. Use two 9-inch or three 7 to 8-inch cake pans.
- For a smaller cake: If you would rather not have a whole 9×13-inch cake, halve the recipe and bake in a 9×9-inch or 8×8-inch pan.
Frequently asked questions
What is the flavor of red velvet cake?
Red velvet cake has a subtle chocolate flavor from the cocoa, but you’ll also taste hints of buttery vanilla with a slight tang. It’s a combination of multiple flavors that come together for something truly magnificent! You won’t be able to get enough of this cake!
Why add vinegar to red velvet cake?
The vinegar reacts with the baking soda which gives your cake an extra lift as it bakes, giving you a much fluffier cake. You can substitute the white vinegar for apple cider vinegar, if that’s what you have.
How do I know when the cake is done?
Just like with other cake recipes, insert a toothpick in the center and if it comes out mostly clean, it is done baking. However, if the toothpick has a bit of batter left on it, put it back into the oven for a few more minutes.
Cover leftover cake tightly with plastic wrap or transfer slices to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Frosted cake or unfrosted cake layers can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before decorating/serving.
More cake recipes
- Cinnamon Roll Banana Cake
- Hot Fudge Chocolate Pudding Cake
- Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup corn starch* see note
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 3 large eggs, room temp
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temp
- 1 Tablespoon red food coloring
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 cup boiling coffee or water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9×13-inch pan and set aside.
- Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
- To the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, cream the sugar, oil, and butter. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Next, whisk in the buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla extract, and vinegar until well combined. Beat in the hot coffee, then slowly add in the dry ingredients and whisk until fully incorporated.
- Pour batter onto the prepared baking pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before frosting.
- To Make Frosting: While the cake is baking, beat together the cream cheese, butter, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla extract in a stand mixer or by hand, until light and fluffy.
- After the cake has cooled spread frosting over the cake and cut into even-sized pieces. Cake will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.