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Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake

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Who doesn't like winning an election? I sure was happy when viewers were asked to vote for a favorite recipe, because my Red Velvet Cake came in first! That's saying something when you consider the runners-up were hush puppies and waffles, which are two of my favorites. Hey, I'm a Southern girl, and the Southern part will always love her hush puppies, while the girl in me remembers waffles so fondly. People say this is a sexy cake (Clinton does, but he says that about everything except maybe boiled turnips). The color red no doubt has a lot to do with its sexy reputation: think Valentine's Day. This is a fun cake to make with kids, and I guarantee that after eating this cake, most kids will be happy to have learned that beets aren't yucky!

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For the roasted beet purée

  • 2 large beets
  • 1/4 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Splash of water

For the cake

  • Butter, for the cake pans
  • 2 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the cake pans
  • 1 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 Cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 Cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 Teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting

  • 1 Pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 Cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 Cups white chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Cups powdered sugar

Recipe Summary

  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon butter flavored extract
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ½ ounce red food coloring
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons butter flavored extract

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 10 inch round pans.

Cream 1/2 cup of shortening, 1 1/2 cups of white sugar, eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon of butter flavored extract in a large bowl. Make a paste of cocoa and food coloring in a small bowl and add to shortening mixture. Pour in 2 1/2 cups flour alternately with the buttermilk, mixing until just incorporated. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt, baking soda, and vinegar in a small bowl, and while fizzing fold into the batter mixing just enough to evenly combine. Pour the batter into prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

To make frosting: Cook 3 tablespoons of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and milk in a skillet over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Let cool completely. Cream butter, 1 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup shortening in a separate bowl. Stir in 2 teaspoons each of vanilla extract and butter flavored extract. Then add flour mixture to bowl and cream together. Frost cooled cake.

What If You Don’t Have Buttermilk?

If you find that you don’t have buttermilk and don’t want to run to the store, you can make a buttermilk substitute very easily at home.

I get the question a lot of you make your own buttermilk with milk and vinegar do you still need to add the extra vinegar the recipe calls for and I say yes!

Red Velvet Cake Recipe

  • 2 cups pure fine granulated sugar
  • 2 cups general purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-1/2 bottle red food coloring (1.5 fluid oz)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 box confectioners sugar (16 oz)
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 stick margarine (8 tbsp or 1/2 cup)
  • 1 large cream cheese (8 oz)
  • 2 stainless steel cake pans (8 or 9")
  • 1 measuring cup
  • 1 mixing bowl
  • 1 stirring spoon
  • 1 cooking bender

As always the key to great cooking is to be prepared and use quality ingredients.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Combine and stir sugar, flour, baking soda and salt into mixing bowl. Next add your wet ingredients (vegetable oil, buttermilk, eggs, red food coloring, vanilla extract, and white vinegar) one at a time, beating on low to medium speed, continuously beating mixture thoroughly after adding each additional ingredient.
  3. Spray or grease both pans with a light coat of vegetable oil to stop sticking. Pour completed mixture evenly into your two single-layered cake pans. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees on your center oven rack.
  4. Cake is done when wooden toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Let cake cool completely before adding your homemade Icing.

While the cake is cooling, here is how to make your Icing.

  1. Combine confectioners sugar and finely chopped pecans into a mixing bowl and stir with a spoon.
  2. Next add your softened margarine and cream cheese one at a time into the mixing bowl containing the sugar and chopped pecans. Using a cooking blender, mix thoroughly after each ingredient is added.
  3. Place icing into your refrigerator, since the icing should be applied to cake in a cold state.

Preparation Time = 50 minutes
Cooking Time = about 30 minutes

This recipe provided courtesy of

Enjoy your Red Velvet Cake.

I'll usually prepare this cake a day or two in advance. I just let it sit on display somewhere in the kitchen for everyone to see and to build up anticipation before cutting the cake. When everyone has had enough tempting l'll go ahead, cut the cake, and give everyone a slice. I hope you will give this cake recipe a try.


For the cake

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) plus 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 (1-lb.) box light brown sugar (about 2-1/4 cups)
  • 3 Tbs. red food coloring
  • 2-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-3/4 cups buttermilk

For the frosting

  • 1-1/4 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2-1/2 sticks (1-1/4 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 (2-lb.) bag confectioners’ sugar (about 7-1/4 cups)

This Red Velvet Cake Recipe will have you wondering why you ever used a box cake mix to make a red velvet cake. This cake is incredibly moist & tender, and when layered with this silky cream cheese frosting you’ll have a show-stopper of a dessert on your hands. Fantastic for birthdays, holiday parties, and wonderful for a Valentine’s Day dessert with that deep red color. This cake recipe is a must-have recipe staple for any baker.

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As a kid, I had never had a morsel of red velvet cake. In fact, this classic dessert was actually something that I hadn’t tried until after I graduated college. Elusive as this dessert was for me, I was in for an amazing surprise when first tasting this gorgeous red cake. With slight chocolate flavor notes, the cake wasn’t what I expected at first. But I couldn’t resist! The classic cream cheese frosting stacked between the layers of moist, velvety cake had me hooked in an instant.

What is red velvet cake?

  • Red velvet cake is traditionally a red cocoa cake layered with cream cheese or Ermine frosting. Originally the red color of the cake from the non-dutched cocoa powder used, but today red food coloring is used to color the cake. The buttermilk in the cake batter gives a slight tang, and this cake is widely considered a Southern recipe.

The baker in me instantly wanted to create this cake at home. Pulling out cookbooks, and trying multiple recipe variations I finally found a recipe that got the cake just right – moist, but with the slightest chocolate flavor. The most important variation I found was to substitute vegetable oil for butter. This seemed to help with the tender, moist consistency for the cake. Another technique I discovered was to sift the flour and cocoa powder together before adding to the batter. This helped eliminate small lumps of cocoa powder from popping up in the batter. Also, you don’t need much cocoa powder for this recipe. Just one tablespoon is all that is needed to deliver that perfect amount of chocolate flavor, without being overpowering.

As for the frosting, this may just be personal preference, but I think that cream cheese frosting is the ideal pairing for red velvet cake over a standard buttercream. Cream cheese frosting adds a complementary dimension to the cake. My best cream cheese frosting is my go-to frosting anytime I’m making a red velvet recipe.

Want more red velvet recipes?

Tools used to make this Red Velvet Cake Recipe

Stand Mixer: I don’t know what I’d do without my stand mixer. I use it for just about everything…and I mean everything! Cakes, cookies, mashed potatoes, and shredding chicken!

Cake Pan: This pan is perfect for all your standard cakes. Just pour in the batter, bake, cool, and frost.

Evenbake Cake Strips: Wrap these strips around your cake pans and your cake will come out level every time! No more cutting off the cake dome!

Cooling Rack: I keep a few of these cooling racks in my kitchen so I’m ready for any recipe I want to bake.

Offset Spatula: This little spatula makes frosting cakes and cookies a breeze!

The Cream Cheese Frosting

This red velvet cupcake recipe would taste great with just about any frosting, but I wanted to stick with the classic combination of red velvet and cream cheese frosting.

My cream cheese buttercream is a dream to frost with. It&rsquos thick, has great structure, and pipes like a dream.

I love frosting cupcakes with it, because it&rsquos stiff enough to pipe a big, beautiful swirl on top of a cupcake. And that is exactly what I did for these red velvet cupcakes with buttermilk!

How To Make The BEST Red Velvet Cake

  1. Be sure to generously grease your pans (with shortening) and give them a light dusting of flour. This will ensure that the cake doesn’t stick to the pan.
  2. Use plain prepared coffee. Yep just brew up a cup of coffee. No need to add sugar or cream. I normally use a light or medium roast Alternatively, you can use hot water but…coffee is so much better.

Helpful Red Velvet Cake Supplies

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Red Velvet Cake

Everyone should have a good red velvet cake recipe in their back pocket&mdashand this is it. It has a decadent chocolate flavor and the creamiest cream cheese frosting. The combo of vinegar and buttermilk makes a red velvet cake extra tender, light, and fluffy. The striking red color makes it unforgettable. If you have leftover cake scraps you can make these Red Velvet Cheesecake Bites.

What is the best food coloring to use?

Not all food colorings are created equally and it's true. The more concentrated your food coloring the better for this cake. It takes a look to color the chocolate batter so that after baking, it's a beautiful bright red. The 2 tablespoons called for in this recipe is assuming you're using a classic water based dye like McCorrmick. If you have a gel based dye, which are usually more pigmented you will be able to use less food coloring, possibly around half as much.

What is the best frosting for Red Velvet Cake?

We don't think you can beat the classic red velvet and cream cheese combo. The tanginess of the cream cheese paired with the chocolate and slight tang of the buttermilk is a perfect pair! If cream cheese isn't your favorite try our classic buttercream instead!

67 Delish Red Velvet Ideas That Go Way Beyond Cake

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