Classic Red Velvet Cake

Did you notice how I hit you with a few healthy recipes before I clobbered you with this doozy? It’s the only way I can make up for what you are about to see.

First, let’s back it up.

Growing up our birthdays were always a big deal, still are actually. When my sisters and I were kids we got to pick out what we wanted to have for our birthday dinner and we even picked the flavor of cake too! My problem was, as a kid I never liked cake. It was a frosting thing. So I always picked chocolate chip cookie bars or cheesecake instead. But anyways… it’s a tradition I’ve passed on with my own girls. My oldest, is just like her dad and requests chocolate-chocolate chip cake with butter-cream frosting… which is totally fine and totally delicious.

But my youngest is like me {sorry to tell ya girly, but it’s true} she doesn’t love-love cake. It’s a frosting thing for her too. If she does eat it, then it’s cream cheese frosting and that-tis-it. So that’s why the past two years running, she’s requested this for her birthday cake. But this year was different. For her 8th birthday she specifically requested a red velvet cake.

What 8 year old dreams of red velvet cake for their 8th birthday? A foodie in the making, that’s who. {I’m so proud!}

Since I’ve only ate red velvet cakes and never-ever-in-my-life made one, I had to do some research. I did some collaborating and a lil’ fine tweaking and made what I decided was the best red velvet cake I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve been hesitant for so long because there is just so-so-SO much red food die, I couldn’t bring myself to make one. But I believe everything in moderation and plus when a pair of soft hazel eyes got all kitten-like asking me if I would make it specially for her birthday… I caved. Okay all she had to say is “red velv-….” and I was in like flynn.

Start by cracking two large eggs into a large measuring {makes for easy pouring}, and give them a quick beating.

Add in the buttermilk and vinegar…

Vanilla…

And *gasp* two 1 ounce bottles of red food coloring. As in uno and dos.

As I poured the second bottle I wondered if anyone has ever stroked-out from a red velvet cake. I mean TWO bottles!?!! That’s just insane!

So this is grape seed oil… and it works just splendid in cakes, and is WAY better for you. Hey-now I have to find some kind of balance with the TWO bottles of red dye! And plus it just makes me feel better.

Stir. And watch out for red droplets that will stain anything and EVERYTHING! Believe me, I speak from experience… goodbye favorite funky-floral kitchen towel, you will be missed.

Set that off to the side and start working on the dry ingredients.

In the bowl of your mixer, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder.

Give it a quick whisk to fluff and get ready for the RED.

Add the RED wet ingredients into the dry and fit your mixer with a whisk attachment.

Turn her on medium and mix until everything is completely blended.

Seriously! I want a lipstick AND a pair of shoes in that color… and a clutch. And maybe nail polish too!?

I greased, floured and lined my 9 inch cake pans.

I like to use a measuring cup to divvy up cake batter. It keeps everything even.

Pour.

Swipe {taste!}.

And tap the cake pans so any trapped air bubbles may escape. Now just bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes. Depending on your oven you may need to rotate the pans for even baking.

Have the cakes cool for 10 minutes before removing them from pans.

Once removed let them cool completely. Now I made the cake part of this recipe a day in advanced. I wrapped the cakes, individually, and popped them in the fridge until the next day for frosting. But you don’t have to do that.

Cream cheese frosting. I love the stuff… but I’m not a huge fan of overly sweet frostings. So I’m using my classic recipe annnd I doubled it. I’ll explain in a few moments…

Now comes the fun part. Place one layer on your cake stand. Dollop a generous amount of frosting and spread it out evenly so some of it starts to fall off the sides of the cake. Place the next layer on top.

Place a larger amount of frosting on top and smooth it out over top and along the sides.

I took my spatula and scraped it so it would trap in any crumbs and then I popped this into the fridge for one hour so the frosting could harden up a bit aka “a crumb coat”.

After the hour was up I plopped the remainder of my cream cheese frosting over top and smeared it over top of the crumb coat.

Bam.

Red Velvet.

I don’t like to throw the M-word out there, but this seriously is the muh-muh-moistest cake I’ve ever had the pleasure to eat. And I’m not even a huge cake fan… so this is huge!

But what was even better than this cake? Was when my daughter told me ‘thank you Mom’ and how ‘lucky she felt to have a mom who likes to bake’. Gah! I know… I’m totally choked up right now.

So now this weekend you should totally make this cake. Take pictures and share them with the world {or with me on facebook}! I’m tellin’ ya… this is as easy as cake-makin’ gets. The cake is perfect, the ratio of cream cheese frosting to cake is spot on… so why not?

Ps… Red velvet is the new chocolate.

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Classic Red Velvet Cake

An extremely easy, extremely decadent and extremely RED cake!

Yield: 12+ servings {depending}

Prep Time: 25 minutes for cake : 10 minutes for frosting

Cook Time: 25-30 minutes

Total Time: about an hour

Ingredients:

RED VELVET CAKE:

2-1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

2 cups Sugar

1-1/2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa

1 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

2 whole Large Eggs

1-1/2 cups Grapeseed Oil

1 cup Buttermilk

1 tablespoon White Vinegar

1-1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 ounces Red Food Coloring

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING {double this recipe if you want to do the crumb coat}:

2 {8 oz each} packages Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature

1/2 cup {1 stick} Unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature

2 teaspoons of Real Vanilla Extract

8 cups Powdered Sugar

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line, spray and flour two 9 inch cake pans. Set those aside.

Lightly beat the eggs with a whisk and then add in the oil, buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla and food coloring. Whisk together until combined.

In the bowl of your mixer, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix on medium until combined, scraping the bottom of the bowl once or twice.

Use a measuring cup to divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. Tap a few times on the counter to release any air bubbles.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester is inserted and comes out clean. Depending on your oven, you might want to rotate the pans for even baking.

Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes in the pans before removing them to a wire rack.

Once the cake cools it's time to frost.

FOR THE FROSTING:

Combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on high until creamy.

For some of my cakes I like to do a "crumb-coat" or a thin frosting to seal in the crumbs. So for this recipe I made a double batch of frosting. First putting a generous amount in between the layers, then a thin coating on the outside. I refrigerated the cake before applying the final frosting layer. This step is totally optional, but if you do decide to crumb coat... add an additional hour to the prep time. You might have a little frosting leftover but I'm sure you can get creative on how to use it up ;)

Enjoy.

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50 Responses to “Classic Red Velvet Cake”

  1. #
    1
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — October 12, 2012 at 7:29 am

    I’ve never made a from-scratch red velvet cake – I need to try it! Right after I’m done turning orange from all the pumpkin stuff I’ve been making, I can get my red on. :)

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    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — October 12, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Your red velvet turned out perfect! Love the colour!

    • simplyscratch replied: — October 12th, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

      Thanks Katrina! :)

  3. #
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    Lori — October 12, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Hold the phone. I want this!

  4. #
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    Rachel Cooks — October 12, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    This a gorgeous cake! (Smallest slice ever in the last picture, btw!). Your daughter is so lucky to have you! Sounds like she knows it! ;)

  5. #
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    Jill — October 12, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank YOU!

  6. #
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    Dana @ This Silly Girl's Life — October 12, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    GORGEOUS. Love the cake stand too! Pretty!

    • simplyscratch replied: — October 12th, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

      Thank you Dana! That stand was passed down to me from my husbands grandmother… I cherish it :)

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    Heather (Heather's Dish) — October 12, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    THE COLOR IS SO PREEEEEEEEEEEETTY!

    (sorry to yell, just got a little excited ;)

  8. #
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    Murissa @TheWanderfullTraveler — October 12, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    The cake looks perfect!
    My sister just made red velvet cupcakes as a test run before Halloween when she goes crazy for baking and entertaining. I, on the other hand, go the distance for Christmas but this cake would look festive on either holiday table.

    Looks great! I’ll direct my sister your way.

    Murissa

    • simplyscratch replied: — October 12th, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

      Thank you Murissa! I agree… red velvet should be enjoyed all year long!

  9. #
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    CJ at Food Stories — October 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Saw you on Huffington Post & thought I’d stop by … Great Recipe :-)

    • simplyscratch replied: — October 12th, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

      Nice to meet you CJ!

  10. #
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    The Food Hound — October 12, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Red velvet IS all about the frosting. I’m a cake-lover, but the only reason I know of to eat red velvet cake is to shovel the amazing cream cheese frosting into one’s mouth! Can’t WAIT till my little one can request her annual birthday cake!! That’s the best part about being a mom, right???

  11. #
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    Connie — October 12, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Your red velvet cake is beautiful! I do know how you feel about adding TWO bottles of red food coloring to any standard batch of cake batter. I’ve made red velvet cake with half as much, and got a very satisfactory shade of red (I would use 2 tablespoons coloring plus 2 tablespoons water or more buttermilk). I buy the food coloring from Smart and Final in a 16 ounce bottle, it is much more affordable than buying 1-ounce bottles. Red Velvet Cake is always perfect for the holidays :-)

  12. #
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    Cassie — October 12, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    LOVE this Laurie! The color is magnificent!

  13. #
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    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — October 12, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    I was definitely a cake girl growing up (still am) but I never liked frosting. It was always too sweet and sugary for my taste. But with this gorgeous cake and amazing cream cheese frosting – I can definitely get on board!

  14. #
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    Tisha — October 12, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    OMG. YUM!! That cake looks amazing. I’ll certainly be trying it!

  15. #
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    Julie @ Table for Two — October 13, 2012 at 1:12 am

    holy red! that is the most luscious looking red velvet i’ve ever seen! i seriously love how vibrant the red is – even if it is 2 bottles of red food coloring – it’s for good reason!!

  16. #
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    krysten — October 13, 2012 at 1:44 am

    Oh ma gawd. This looks amazing! Love how bright the red is….I totally need someone to have a birthday so I can make this!

  17. #
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    The Healthy Apple — October 13, 2012 at 1:59 am

    Wow! What a great post; I love your step by step photos and this recipe looks great. So happy to have found your blog!

  18. #
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    Maria — October 13, 2012 at 10:49 am

    I love, love, love the color. When my son requested red velvet for his bday last year, I was so disappointed with my version as the color wasn’t as vivid as I wanted. I will try your version next year for his 20th bday, gahh that’s a big number for me to absorb!

  19. #
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    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — October 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Look at that gorgeous color! What a great cake for a birthday – I am sure your daughter loved it!

  20. #
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    Ann — October 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    I made this at 10:30pm last night. Because that’s how exciting my Friday nights are lol! I only have one cake pan so I cut the recipe in half and it worked beautifully. Red velvet is normally not my thing but this is a keeper! I think it’s the frosting…delicious. Thank you!

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    little cooking tips — October 14, 2012 at 9:42 am

    WOW! This is so delicious! And the photos make it even more desirable!

  22. #
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    sally @ sallys baking addiction — October 14, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    At 8 years old, I don’t even think I knew what red velvet cake was!!!! Yes, a true foodie in the making is right Laurie! Your cake looks perfect – a real classic! The color is PERFECT. Literally, such a gorgeous deep red scarlet. You make one beautiful cake Laurie!

  23. #
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    collette — October 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Looks relish! We do not use any artificial colors or flavors in my house, so I may be making this in an uncolored version…same recipe just minus the dye. Also…i think you meant for the imgredients to list 2 packages of cream cheese, not cream cheese frosting packages. right?

    • simplyscratch replied: — October 23rd, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

      Yes! You are correct! :)

  24. #
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    KG — October 23, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    Know what I got out of this (beside an awesome recipe)? That your daughter totally knows exactly how to get what she wants. :P The “lucky I have a mom who likes to bake” line is a classic.

  25. #
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    Jose — January 9, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Could you use anything other than Grapeseed Oil?

  26. #
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    Amanda — February 5, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    So I am obsessed with red velvet (so good!) and I’ve been looking for a from-scratch recipe! Thanks so much!

  27. #
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    sandi b. — February 14, 2013 at 10:23 am

    I made this cake last month and you don’t lie when you call it a doozy. It just symbolizes every fattening thing you can do to yourself, lol! Everyone enjoyed this cake and it really was quite simple to make. I made a plain ol chocolate layer cake for tonight. Maybe if I am good, I can make that beautiful red velvet cake again , next month?
    Oh and by the way, it was my first time to ever have red velevet cake and it was a glorious experience, ty.

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    Beth S; — April 24, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    I found this recipe last night and tried it today. The last time I made red velvet cake is tasted kinda bitter, and was too dense. Not, moist and dense but “Wow, I just pulled a muscle lifting this cake!” It wasn’t good. So, I tried this recipe except I made a couple of changes as I bake Gluten Free now. It was sooooo good! thank you for this recipe and the mixing of all the wet to add to the dry was a new way for me to do it, but it mixed so easily and turned out beautifully! I will be blogging my GF version today or tomorrow and will give you credit for the original Gluten-full version.

    • simplyscratch replied: — September 17th, 2013 @ 10:58 pm

      Thank YOU Beth!

  29. #
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    Melissa — April 28, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    I came across your blog by chance after searching for a Red Velvet Cake recipe to try for the first time. All the ingredients made it taste delicious, but I think for me and my oven, I’ll probably have to adjust the temperature and cooking time slightly as 25-30 minutes at gas mark 4 (350 degrees) cooked the outside but not the inside. I think my oven is just a bit too powerful lol. What’s more, I left it for 15 minutes to cool before removing it from the tin – tins were non-stick AND I coated them but bits of the centre got left behind. Fortunately, because of the moistness of this cake – thank you so much for that lol – I managed to save these bits (and I got to nick a taste before the coating). That cream cheese frosting is very rich and I only used 6 cups of sugar instead of 8 because I ran out. Final verdict. Lovely cake. Very straight forward recipe. I’ll just have to keep at until it looks as flawless as yours does. =D

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    Someone who rarely enter the kitchen — May 6, 2013 at 7:30 am

    I am a first time baker and I wanted to try the RVC (my aspirations are very high as you can see! :D) I came across your blog and decided that this is the RVC that I wanna try. I made it yesterday and it turned out yummm to say the least! Especially for a first timer! The cake itself was moist and the cream cheese frost was just sweet enough. I did use only 6 cups of sugar as I ran out but it turned out fine. Everyone loved it and I was more than happy to hear the praises! Thank you for your detailed instructions, pictures and your blog! Cheers!

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    valerie marie — August 13, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Hi Laurie! I have so much success with your recipes and can’t WAIT to bake this for Grandma’s 90th birthday!
    QUESTION: How would you adjust (any ingredients? baking time?) to make cupcakes (for 30 ppl) as opposed to this glorious cake?
    TY!!!

    • simplyscratch replied: — August 13th, 2013 @ 2:49 pm

      Hi Valerie! 90th! Thats fabulous… my grandma celebrated the same birthday last year! Happy Birthday to her! I’d just make the recipe as you would for a full cake, but just divide among a lined muffin pans. As far as baking time. I’m not quite sure as I’ve never made this recipe into cupcakes. Bake at the same temp, bt I would check at 10 minutes, rotate the pan and then check on them every 5 minutes. My guess would be around 18-20 minutes but please don’t quote me. Please let me know how they turn out! :)

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    hira — August 19, 2013 at 5:51 am

    i didnot see you adding vinegar in it? May i please know when to add it??

    • simplyscratch replied: — August 20th, 2013 @ 10:57 am

      Yes Hira! You add it to the wet ingredients… with the buttermilk and vanilla etc. :)

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    Melanie — September 17, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Hello …. I‘m a big fan of red velvet and yours looks just amazing … will abseloutly try it!!! I was just wondering if the amount for your receipe is already doubled or not (is it 2 cream cheese stick or 4 … so on?) Thanks again for sharing :-)

    • simplyscratch replied: — September 17th, 2013 @ 10:57 pm

      Thank you Melanie! I would double the recipe provide if you want to do the crumb coat. I know it seems like a lot of cream cheese, but you will have a prettier cake if you do the crumb coat technique. :)

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    Natasha — October 11, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Okay… tried the recipe and the middle of my cake didn’t rise… what am I doing wrong?!?

    • simplyscratch replied: — October 11th, 2013 @ 10:28 pm

      Hi Natasha, I’m sorry to hear about your cake. I’m not a professional baker, but check the expiration date on your baking soda. If it’s past its prime it won’t be as effective. Or it could be that it’s slightly under cooked and just needs more time in the oven? Keep me posted!

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    Sandra — October 15, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Hey is there anything I can substitute for the grape seed oil? I just don’t have any (and don’t think I can get any easily- i’ve never heard of it!) Will it change the final that much if I just use regular canola oil or something different?

    • simplyscratch replied: — October 16th, 2013 @ 10:32 pm

      You can definitely use canola! It’s a personal preference why I don’t… but go for it girl!

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    Jenn — October 21, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    I’ve got mine in the oven right now. I had to make a few adjustments (I made buttermilk using 1 cup of milk + 1 tbsp. of vinegar; there’s no food coloring because I have every color BUT red and I don’t think my husband would eat a blue or purple cake; and I’m baking it in a 13″x9″ pan because I’m tired of the hassle of two cake pans, heh), but I’m optimistic that it’ll be delicious (if the taste of the batter was any indication). I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

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    jolie — December 21, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    I decided to give this a try as my first cake attempt. It turned out AMAZING! The flavor was just right, and so moist! I use your recipes all the time. Thanks a million.

    • simplyscratch replied: — December 23rd, 2013 @ 4:56 pm

      Thank YOU Jolie! I’m so glad you loved it!

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    Anuja Khemka — April 11, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    I tried this cake and it is divine. However now I want to use it for an intricate pan (like the intricate train pan from Nordic Ware). Is this recipe suitable for that? The cake has to be tight and a bit dense.

    Thanks!

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