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An image of a piece of homemade red velvet cake on a white plate with a fork.
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5 from 29 votes

Best Red Velvet Cake Recipe

This Red Velvet Cake recipe is made from scratch for the best flavor and a moist, tender crumb that pairs wonderfully with a tangy, sweet cream cheese frosting. This is a classic cake recipe for a 2-layer red velvet cake that is quite possibly the best red velvet cake recipe in the world.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 593kcal
Author: Amy Nash

Ingredients

Cake

  • 3 cups cake flour, scooped & leveled (354g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (22g)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup salted butter, softened (113g)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (400g)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (224g)
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons red liquid food coloring (or 1 Tablespoon gel food coloring)
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature (240g)

Frosting

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened (113g)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (520g)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons cream or milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

For the cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 9-inch or 8-inch cake pans with circles of parchment paper in the bottoms and spray the sides. Set aside.
  • Whisk the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Beat the butter and sugar together on high speed for 3-4 minutes in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until light and creamy. Add the oil and mix again, scraping the sides of the bowl.  
  • Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla, beating on medium-high speed between each addition until combined. Add vinegar and food coloring, using as much food coloring as needed to get the desired color.
  • Turn mixer to low speed and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk in 2-3 additions, mixing just until combined between each addition and scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed.  
  • Transfer batter to the prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes (for 9-inch pans) or 38-43 minutes (for 8-inch pans) until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean with just a few crumbs. Do not overbake. Remove from oven and cool completely.

For the frosting

  • Beat the cream cheese and butter together in a large bowl using a handheld mixer until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and cream or milk and mix on low speed until incorporated, then increase speed and beat for 2 minutes. Add vanilla and salt and beat again.

Assembly

  • Level the cakes (if needed) so the tops are flat. Save scraps to crumble and use for decorating. Frost with cream cheese frosting and sprinkle the top of the cake with the reserved crumbs. Slice and serve.

Video

Notes

  • Cake Flour Substitute: If you don't have cake flour, use 2 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour with ⅓ cup cornstarch instead.
  • Storage: Red velvet cake should be stored in the refrigerator because of the cream cheese frosting. It will stay good for about 5 days. We think it is best when it has 1-2 hours to sit out of the fridge to come up to room temperature before serving.
  • Freezing: You can freeze the assembled cake or individual slices. I recommend freezing them for 1-2 hours until the frosting on the outside is solid before wrapping in a couple of layers of plastic wrap to protect it. Thaw on the counter or in the fridge before enjoying.
  • Make-Ahead: You can make this red velvet cake in advance by baking the cake layers and freezing them for 2-3 months before thawing and assembling with freshly made frosting.
  • Cake Pans: This recipe can be made with either two 8-inch or 9-inch baking pans to create two layers. I like using my 8-inch pans for nice, thick layers like you see in these photos. The baking time is 30-35 minutes for 9-inch pans and 38-43 minutes for 8-inch pans.

Nutrition

Calories: 593kcal | Carbohydrates: 97g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 363mg | Potassium: 86mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 73g | Vitamin A: 600IU | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 0.6mg