Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Trying to decide on a dessert for Christmas Eve had me all stressed out. To go with our delicious Southern fare, I wanted to make a coconut cake. My mom and I are the only ones who like coconut. Okay. How about a white chocolate cake with cranberry raspberry filling and white chocolate buttercream? Nope. One of my sisters can’t have cranberries. Pumpkin roll? Guess again. My stepdad and brother don’t like pumpkin. You see the predicament I was in?

Just two days before Christmas Eve, I turned to my “What’s Cooking” girls for help. I should’ve just gone there to begin with. In just five minutes, one of the girls recommended a red velvet cake. Duh! It’s one of my favorite desserts! I was so focused on what other people don’t like, I forgot to think about what I like! Of course, my brother doesn’t like nuts, so I had to leave them off, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from a creating of my favorites for my family.

This recipe was delicious. The cake was moist and flavorful and the frosting had just the perfect amount of sweetness. Though some say traditional red velvet should use seven-minute frosting, I much prefer the tangy flavor and creamy consistency of a good cream cheese frosting. I ended up with extra frosting because I only made a two-layer cake instead of three, but I will absolutely use this recipe again and again. It is, hands down, my go-to recipe for red velvet cake.

red velvet cake

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

adapted from; originally from Cake Man Raven
printer-friendly recipe

Ingredients:For the cake:2 1/2 c. cake flour1 1/2 c. sugar1 tsp. baking soda1 TBSP cocoa powder1 tsp. salt2 eggs1 1/2 c. vegetable oil1 c. buttermilk2 TBSP (1 oz.) red food coloring1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. white distilled vinegar

For the frosting:
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
12 oz. butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 c. chopped pecans (optional)

1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl.

3. Beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

4. Divide batter evenly between 3 greased and floured 8″ round cake pans. (I only made a two layer cake, so some of my batter went unused.)

5. Bake cakes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 25–30 minutes. Let cakes cool 5 minutes, then invert each onto a plate, then invert again onto a cooling rack. Let cakes cool completely.

6. For the frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Add sugar and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 5–7 minutes.

7. Put 1 cake layer on a cake plate, level off with a serrated knife, and spread one-quarter of the frosting on top. Set another layer on top, level, and repeat frosting. Set remaining layer on top, level, and frost top and sides with the remaining frosting. Press pecans into the sides of the cake, if desired. **Tip: after leveling cake, turn it upside down to reduce numbers of crumbs. I also did a crumb coat on the outside, let it set for ten minutes, then finished with remaining frosting.

8. Chill for 2 hours to set frosting.

Merry Christmas, y’all!

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  1. Erin
    January 5, 2009 / 11:00 pm

    This looks delicious! I love red velvet cake, and I bet it was the perfect Christmas dessert!

  2. elly
    January 6, 2009 / 1:46 am

    YUM! I am a huge red velvet cake fan and I saw the Throwdown episode with Cake Man Raven. It looks so good!

  3. Kristina R.
    January 6, 2009 / 2:15 am

    I have always wanted to try a red velvet cake recipe. This one looks great.

  4. bensbaby116
    January 6, 2009 / 3:02 am

    Mmm, it’s been a while since I had red velvet cake. Looks great!

  5. Joelen
    January 6, 2009 / 3:38 pm

    This looks fabulous! And if you happen to have leftovers, I see red velvet cake balls in your future! 🙂

  6. Anonymous
    January 8, 2009 / 2:25 pm

    GAH!! That looks insaaaanely good! my husband has been asking for a red velvet cake for a while now. Starring this!

  7. Laure
    January 8, 2009 / 4:20 pm

    It is so hard to find that perfect, go-to red velvet recipe. This one looks awesome! I’m thinking of making one for my hubby for valentine’s day!

  8. ShoeFanatic614
    March 9, 2009 / 4:03 pm

    This is truly the best red velvet recipe of all time! So moist and so easy! Love your blog!

  9. frenchhornlove
    February 6, 2010 / 11:16 pm

    I made this today 😀 It is a FANTASTIC recipe!!! (I had to substitute lemon juice for the vinegar.)

  10. Erin
    June 4, 2010 / 8:09 pm

    Hi – I know I left a comment before, but I made a video of me making red velvet cake balls from this recipe and I thought you might like to see it :], awesome recipe!

  11. Kelsey
    June 9, 2010 / 6:20 am

    Erin, I watched your video tonight and you did a great job! I'm so glad you like the recipe!

  12. Anonymous
    September 20, 2010 / 5:18 pm

    Do you think this would work as cupcakes?

  13. Kelsey
    September 21, 2010 / 5:36 am

    Nay, this would absolutely work as cupcakes. Any cake recipe will, actually. I think you'll get around 30-36 cupcakes from this recipe, with plenty of frosting. I'd start the baking time at around 18 minutes and check them with a toothpick.My friend Annie actually just used this recipe for cupcakes. You can check her fantastic work at this helped!

  14. Otehlia
    November 8, 2010 / 3:09 am

    Hi!Found your blog through this recipe. I made it using beet juice for color, though that actually didn't work:) I loved the recipe, though.And your blog!

  15. john jay
    September 28, 2013 / 7:05 am

    oh I like that it looks so tasty this so lovely cake i ever see here on internet.i love eating that's why im too fat now :)but most of the time what i eat are any kind of chocolates like milk chocolate ,French macarons, and macarons london and so on.well anyway that cake recipe above is interesting i wanna try that.

  16. stella
    April 13, 2016 / 4:08 pm

    If i want to make the cake bigger and i will use 10 inch round cake pans, how much butter i must use and how long i'll bake them?Thank you

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