Red Velvet Cake – Immaculate Bites

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Red Velvet Cake – an elegant and moist layered cake baked from scratch with mild chocolate, tangy buttery red-tinted cake. You’ll taste a combination of vanilla and chocolate flavors and a bit of tang from the buttermilk. An iconic cake with great texture, flavors, and frosting!

sliced red velvet cake with wine in the background and a cupful of candied raspberries

They say save the best for last. And so I heed to this old time saying.

This Red Velvet Cake recipe is the queen of all layered cakes. The most beautiful, vibrant and flavorful cake of all time. I should also add that it’s the trickiest, too, compared to other layered cakes I’ve shared recently.

It’s pretty easy to nail the tropical flavors of bananas and pineapple in this Hummingbird Cake or the caramel frosting for this Caramel Cake. But with this Red Velvet Cake from scratch, it requires some serious concentration and persistence to truly nail all the complex flavors that meld beautifully in this cake.

What is Red Velvet Cake?

Red Velvet Cake is traditionally a red or maroon colored layer cake with a cream cheese frosting. This elegant cake is usually served on Christmas or Valentine’s Day. Red Velvet Cakes nowadays are tinted with red dye, however, back then, the red color was due to non-Dutched anthocyanin-rich cocoa. Others also use beetroot as a natural red food coloring for this cake.

Here in America, Red Velvet Cake is mostly popular in the southern region. It always makes an impression. It’s buttery and moist, generously smothered in fluffy, silky smooth, cream cheese frosting. What’s not to love?

red velvet cake from scratch topped with candied raspberries

Is Red Velvet Chocolate?

Actually, that’s what I used to think before. While this cake has a hint of cocoa flavor and has cocoa powder as one of its main ingredients, Red Velvet Cake is NOT a chocolate cake. No, it’s not! It has far less chocolatey flavor in it when you compare it to a traditional chocolate cake.

How Does Red Velvet Cake Taste Like?

The flavors are amazingly superb! No wonder it’s one of the popular cake recipes here in the U.S. You’d never guess if it’s the chocolate or vanilla that makes this a joy to eat or the tang from the buttermilk and cream cheese. You can’t help but shove this down your throat bite after bite ’cause this cake is like Christmas in your mouth. 😍

Since words can’t describe this complex cake recipe here, let me tell what you’ll get from eating this cake recipe:

  • Subtle cocoa flavor for that mild touch of chocolate flavor
  • Tanginess from the buttermilk and cream cheese in the frosting that balances out the sweetness of the cake
  • Buttery sweet cake base from sugar and butter and so as the powdered sugar and vanilla in the frosting
Red Velvet Cake Topped with Candied Cranberries
Red velvet cake slice with fork on the side

Red Velvet Cake Ingredients

The batter in this cake is divided into two and each was baked in 9-inch round pans. You see, making this special cake from scratch somehow requires a kinda long list of ingredients. But trust me, once you see the result, you’ll surely impress your family and guests no matter what occasion.

You’ll need these ingredients below to make two layers of red velvet:

  • cake flour – for that softer and velvety crumb (See Notes)
  • salt
  • unsweetened regular or Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • unsalted butter
  • granulated white sugar
  • sour cream – may substitute with plain yogurt
  • oil – for moisture (don’t skip on this)
  • eggs
  • buttermilk – if you don’t have buttermilk, replace it with milk + 1 tsp lemon juice. (See Notes)
  • vanilla extract
  • liquid red food coloring
  • baking soda
  • water

Cream Cheese Frosting

There are cakes that don’t necessarily need the frosting, but for this case, I highly discourage you from skipping it. This smooth and acidic cream cheese frosting cuts through the sweetness of the cake and adds more flavor profile. And of course, always go with Philadelphia Cream Cheese – my go-to.

  • cream cheese
  • unsalted butter
  • vanilla
  • powdered sugar
Red velvet cake from scratch with raspberries on the side and another slice in the backrground

How to Store Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting?

The unfrosted cake can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 day provided that you wrap it in a plastic wrap. On the other hand, a frosted cake can be stored in the fridge for 3-5 days while being loosely covered with a plastic wrap.

Can I Make This Cake in Advance?

Yes, absolutely! You can make ahead the cake layers and let it cool before wrapping and storing it in the fridge overnight. Meanwhile, you can also make the frosting ahead, then cover and refrigerate, too, overnight. Let the frosting come to room temperature though (about 10 minutes) before applying it all over the cake.

You may top this cake with candied cranberries (or chocolate-covered strawberries) like I did or simply use the cake crumbs to decorate it. This cake will surely be the spotlight on your holiday table. So fancy, tasty and overly indulgent! It’s like eating a cake from posh French bakeries. Dig in!

More Cake Recipes To Try

  • Pumpkin Cake
  • Vanilla Cake
  • Cinnamon Apple Cake
  • Coffee Cake
  • Chocolate Guinness Cake
  • Cream Cheese Pound Cake
  • Coconut Cake

Looking for a good list of holiday cakes? Check our round-up of Easy Holiday Cake recipes HERE.

Red velvet cake slice on a white plate

How to Make Red Velvet Cake

How to Make A Red Velvet Cake.1In a medium bowl combine flour, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9 inch round baking pan with baking spray; line with parchment paper if desired, set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar at high speed in a stand mixture until it’s fluffy and starting to look white, about 4 minutes, then add sour cream.

How To Make A Red Velvet Cake.2Mix thoroughly for another minute. Followed by the oil – then mix for another minute.

How to Make a Red Velvet Cake.3Add in eggs, one at a time, beating the mixture well between each addition. Next pour in the vanilla , vinegar and buttermilk, thoroughly mix.

Add food coloring until desired color has been reached.

How to Make a Red Velvet Cake.5Slowing, add flour mixture into the batter. Mix baking soda and water and gently fold into cake batter. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.

How to Make a Red Velvet Cake.6Divide the batter evenly between the two pans, tap the on the countertop to release bubbles. Bake at 350 Degrees F for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Let the the cakes sit in their pans for about 10- 15 minutes. Gently place cakes on a wire rack and invert, lifting off the pan. Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap them in plastic paper and place the cake in the refrigerator for at least an hour or preferably overnight. Makes it so much easier. (See recipe box for the cream cheese frosting and assembly instructions.)

Watch How To Make It

This post was first published in Dec 2017 and has been updated with relevant write up and a video.

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