Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake is super moist with an unbelievable frosting. This is what Red Velvet Cake is all about!

Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake

I have something to say that may shock you. I am not a huge fan of red velvet. I know it is tremendously popular but most red velvet type desserts that I’ve tasted have always been bland, dry, or sickeningly sweet. Plus, there can never be enough chocolate in my book so the tease of cocoa in red velvet cake kind of angers me…

However, Jared my boyfriend loves red velvet so for his birthday recently I decided to make him a cake. I searched the web for a red velvet that promised a moist cake with a tangy and creamy frosting that didn’t just taste like powdered sugar. I’m happy to say I found a fabulous recipe that even I enjoy eating. This doesn’t mean I plan on giving up my chocolate cake anytime soon but now I have a go-to red velvet recipe.

Recipe Rundown

Taste: Sweet but not overly so with that tang from the cream cheese.
Texture: This is definitely the (and I hate to use this word) most MOIST red velvet cake I’ve ever tasted.
Ease: You are going to dirty dishes and spend a couple of hours to get this cake made but it is definitely worth it, especially if you or your family are red velvet lovers.
Appearance: This is what red velvet cake is all about. I’ve experimented and only red gel food coloring gives that intensely red hue.
Pros: Super moist cake with an unbelievable frosting. My go-to recipe for red velvet now.
Cons: None.
Would I make this again? Yes, especially for birthdays.


Red Velvet Cake

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


For the cake:

2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons red gel food coloring, plus more if needed
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup of prepared plain hot coffee

For the cream cheese frosting:

1 cup heavy cream
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar


For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar and vegetable oil. Add in the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and food coloring. Whisk in the vinegar and coffee. Gradually add the flour mixture and stir with a spatula until completely incorporated. The batter will be thin.

Divide the batter equally between the two prepared pans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Place the cake pans on cooling racks. When the pans are cool enough to touch, run a thin knife around the edges of the pans to loosen the cakes. Invert onto the cooling racks. Let cool completely.

For the frosting:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream until thick and fluffy. Do not over beat. Add in the cream cheese and the confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth.

To assemble:

Lay one cake layer flat side-up on a cake plate. Tuck in strips of baking paper under the cake edges to keep the plate clean.

Use about 1 cup of frosting to fill the bottom cake layer then top with the other cake layer, flat side-up. Use the rest of the frosting to ice the whole cake. Serve.

The cake can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Adapted from Adora's Box

Now THIS is what Red Velvet is all about!

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38 Responses to “Red Velvet Cake”

  1. #
    Abby @ The Frosted Vegan — April 3, 2013 at 5:18 am

    I love that Cons= none!

  2. #
    marcie@flavorhtemoments — April 3, 2013 at 8:59 am

    This looks perfect! I make red velvet cupcakes all the time, but I haven’t made them with coffee. I like that idea. I think coffee belongs anywhere that chocolate does!

  3. #
    Mimi @ Culinary Couture — April 3, 2013 at 9:58 am

    I too am not a fan of red velvet–and i HATE how much red food coloring it always uses!

  4. #
    Nicole — April 3, 2013 at 10:12 am

    My friends have always asked me to make them a red velvet… something. I will give it a try with this recipe :) It looks great!

  5. #
    Rachel @ Bakerita — April 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    I’m not the biggest red velvet fan either (it’s always crumbly!) but this does look super moist, and I love how red it is! So pretty. Next time I need a red velvet cake, I’ll try this! Pinned :)

  6. #
    Tieghan — April 3, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    I have never made red velvet anything! can you believe it! So i NEED to make this!

  7. #
    Ariel — April 14, 2013 at 10:45 am

    I want to make this for my boyfriends birthday.I dont understand the fraction 11/4 cup of confectioners sugar?Also 12 ounces of greek yogurt? I dont have a scale in my house. Maybe its the diffrent metric systems because im canadian.

  8. #
    Kenny Salberg — April 27, 2013 at 6:20 am

    Sponge cakes are thought to be the first of the non-yeast-based cakes and rely primarily on trapped air in a protein matrix (generally of beaten eggs) to provide leavening, sometimes with a bit of baking powder or other chemical leaven added as insurance. Such cakes include the Italian/Jewish pan di Spagna and the French Génoise. Highly decorated sponge cakes with lavish toppings are sometimes called gateau; the French word for cake..

    Most recent posting from our web site

  9. #
    Zareen — June 1, 2013 at 4:37 am

    Hey Tessa! i tried this cake and it was absolutely amazing! the only thing is my icing was runny and i had a hard time icing the cake as i didnt have the stiffness. i left it in the fridge as well for about an hour and it was still runny. What did I do wrong? :(

    • Tessa replied: — June 8th, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

      Hmm… maybe the cream wasn’t whipped enough?

  10. #
    Elizabeth — June 7, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    My mum used this recipe for my birthday cake and it turned out terrible. There was too much sugar and the no lining in the tin made it stick even more. And it wasn’t my mums baking as she has been baking for over 40 years and ran a cake business. Shame.

    • Tessa replied: — June 8th, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

      Hi Elizabeth,

      If you look at other red velvet cake recipes you’ll find that 2 cups of sugar (what’s called for in this recipe) is about the average for the cake as it is meant to be sweet. Same with the icing, you need sugar to balance the tang of the cream cheese. You could try reducing the sugar by a 1/4 cup or a 1/2 cup to suit your flavor profile. As for the cake sticking… using butter and flour to coat the pan always works perfectly for me.

  11. #
    Jackie — June 12, 2013 at 12:25 am

    Hi Tessa

    What brand of red food gel did you use in this recipe.

  12. #
    Joie — July 8, 2013 at 2:18 am

    Hi, How much tsp of coffee will I use for half a cup of water if I’ll be using(powdered or instant coffee). Thank you.

  13. #
    zara asif — August 31, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    you make your coffee with milk or water?

  14. #
    Krystle — September 6, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    This cake has turned out perfect for me every time :)
    Thank you so much for this recipe I have been looking forever for one to come out completely red and this one is perfect!

    As for people who are Canadian 1 1/4 cup is equal to 300 ml or 300 grams
    And 12oz is roughly one package of cream cheese
    I am Canadian but I studied to be a baker and know metric and imperial measuring systems

  15. #
    Holly — December 10, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    Found your recipe through Pinterest – and so glad I did! It was wonderful and has actually gotten better after being in the fridge a day.
    I just wanted to say thanks for the great recipe!

    Oh – the one tinnny problem I had was my cream cheese frosting was a little lumpy, but I’m guessing that was because it wasn’t very softened when I mixed it up! Rookie mistake. Still tasted deelish though and let’s face it, that’s all that matters! Thanks again :) happy holidays!

    • Tessa replied: — December 15th, 2013 @ 9:41 am

      Yes, sometimes too cold cream cheese can create lumps. You should be able to beat the heck out of this cream cheese frosting with an electric mixer until the lumps are gone, though. Glad you enjoyed the recipe otherwise!

  16. #
    Kathy Hudson — December 16, 2013 at 8:52 am

    I made this Red Velvet Cake this pass weekend and I must say this truly is the very best I have ever made. Every one said it was great! I too have been looking for a moist Red Velvet Cake for a long time and I have found it.
    I did not try the Cream Chees Frosting becasue I alread have one I love.
    Love this cake. I am trying the Chocolate Cake next week and will let you know on that one as well.
    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with all of us!
    Merry Christmas!


    • Tessa replied: — December 16th, 2013 @ 10:18 pm

      So glad to hear that!! Hope you enjoy the chocolate cake. Merry Christmas!

  17. #
    Andrea — December 19, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    I’d like to try this recipe, but 2 cups of liquid (1 c. oil, 1 c. buttermilk) sounds like too much in comparison to 2 c. flour. Just wan to make sure it’s not a misprint. Thanks.

    • Tessa replied: — December 20th, 2013 @ 9:04 am

      Nope, no misprint. Feel free to read some of the comments above yours, this is a crowd pleasing recipe!

  18. #
    Nadiyah — December 24, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Hello! This cake looks delicious and I plan on making it very soon. I live in Colorado, so I was wondering if you had high altitude adjustments.

    Merry Christmas!

  19. #
    Shavonda — December 24, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Could I omit the coffee?

  20. #
    Megan — January 23, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    I made this cake and it turned out really oily and tasted odd to me. Also, an two tablespoons of vanilla seems like entirely too much, are you sure that’s right?

    • Tessa replied: — February 4th, 2014 @ 10:02 am

      Hi Megan, I’ve fixed the vanilla amount to 2 teaspoons. I once made red velvet cupcakes that had a weird oily taste and when I did some investigation to figure out why it was because my vegetable oil had expired. Maybe the same thing happened to you!

  21. #
    Shannon — February 4, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Can’t say I’ve ever seen anything call for 2 Tbsp of vanilla ~ before I add that much, is this correct or should it read 2 tsp.?

    • Tessa replied: — February 4th, 2014 @ 10:01 am

      Hi Shannon, thanks for pointing that out! It is 2 teaspoons NOT 2 tablespoons – I fixed the error :)

  22. #
    Sarah — April 25, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    I made this cake and it turned out terrible! I’m not a novice baker either. It just had a very very oily, greasy taste to it. Not sure what the problem was, but it was definitely not a success over here :(

  23. #
    Lindsey — May 20, 2014 at 6:18 am

    Sorry Tessa, I hate oil in cakes :( . It is absolutely nothing compared to the rich melt-in-your-mouth feel of butter. Can I use melted butter instead of oil in this recipe? Or just creamed butter and sugar?

    • Tessa replied: — May 22nd, 2014 @ 10:42 am

      I’ve never tried this recipe with butter instead of oil so I can’t say for sure. I’d definitely try creaming the butter and sugar together if you give it a go.

  24. #
    Elizabeth — May 20, 2014 at 8:46 am

    I have a question for you – if I were to make these into cupcakes, do you know what the adjusted cooking time should be?

    • Tessa replied: — May 22nd, 2014 @ 10:41 am

      About 15 to 20 minutes.

  25. #
    Felicia — May 23, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    Is you red Velvet cupcake cupcake recipe better or is this one better?

    • Tessa replied: — May 24th, 2014 @ 1:53 pm

      They’re both great in their own ways!

  26. #
    Ali — October 18, 2014 at 3:02 am

    Dear Tessa,

    I only began to learn to bake one month ago. This cake was my first try. I have since made 10 cakes using this recipe. I have a long waiting list of people who want one. I quote “this is the best red velvet cake we have ever tried”

    I also have a friend who doesn’t like red velvet but she loved this cake. Thank you so much for putting this recipe together. I know you will appreciate this comment as much as I have appreciated all the comments from friends and family.

    My wife also loves this cake (and that the fact that her Husband is baking it)

    Thank you so much.

  27. #
    Maya — February 28, 2015 at 6:20 am

    If I were to add more cocoa powder, and ditch the food coloring, baking powder, and vinegar, would that for sure make a chocolate cake?

  28. #
    rooha — April 13, 2015 at 10:18 am

    i have made this cake a couple of times and it is THE BEST VELVET CAKE i have tasted…i don’t even like red velvet cake but this just melts in mouth…i got so many compliments when i made this…..i have one question about the colour though..i wanted to make a reddish red velvet instead of dark red so should i omit coffee and just use hot water or should i reduce the amount of colour…i get exact colour you have..i use sugar flair extra red…im making it in a day so please reply if u can thank you very much

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