Red Velvet Cake Recipe

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The best red velvet cake recipe made with buttermilk and vinegar for that true red velvet flavor

I was never a fan of a red velvet cake recipe until I tried this recipe! Once I tasted this red velvet cake, topped with cream cheese frosting, I finally figured out why people LOVE a real red velvet cake recipe. This cake is buttery, soft and truly lives up to it’s velvet description. 

red velvet cake recipe

This recipe is updated from a previous recipe that I used and is a million times better! That’s the thing with baking, you are always learning and improving. I wanted a red velvet cake recipe that was super classic and wasn’t just vanilla cake with food color added (yuck). I tested this recipe out on a client who’s favorite cake flavor was red velvet and she said it was the best she’s ever had so I think that is a win.

Is red velvet cake just a chocolate cake recipe with red food coloring added?

Red velvet cake isn’t just a chocolate cake with red food coloring added. In fact, the original red velvet cake got it’s name because the buttermilk and the vinegar naturally brings out the red undertones in the cocoa powder, giving the cake a red tint. Buttermilk and vinegar also breaks down the gluten in flour resulting in a more tender cake which is probably why it got the nickname red velvet. 

Of course over the years a little red food coloring was added to intensify the color to what we see today, which is why people can get confused about what the flavor of a true red velvet cake recipe is supposed to be. Some inexperienced bakers may even just add red food coloring to a vanilla cake. Red food coloring actually tastes really bitter so if you’ve ever had an overly colored red velvet cake recipe, it probably tasted really bad. 

red velvet cupcake

What does a real red velvet cake recipe taste like?

A real red velvet cake recipe is made with buttermilk, vinegar and a tiny bit of cocoa powder. These ingredients result in a very tangy cake with a hint of chocolate. This is a pretty unique flavor combination but when you add in some cream cheese frosting or ermine frosting (the classic frosting for red velvet cake), then it adds even more tangy flavor. That tangy flavor is the sign of a true red velvet cake recipe. 

Why is red velvet cake such a popular flavor?

I personally think that red velvet cake is popular due to two factors. Some people have had a TRUE red velvet cake recipe and love it! I don’t blame them, it really is delicious. The other factor is that it’s a very controversial cake flavor. If you haven’t had a really good red velvet cake and you associate the cake with just a bland red cake then you won’t see what the big deal is. Whenever there is a controversy between is something good or not, it always becomes more popular. There is a saying in art, if it’s good then people will either love it or hate it. If everyone just feels “ok” about it, then it’s just meh. Same with cake, people seem to either love or hate red velvet cake. 

Red Velvet Cake Recipe

Easy red velvet cake recipe

Ok this is the really the only cake recipe I make that’s a one bowl method. Typically I prefer a more precise mixing method like the reverse creaming method. This red velvet cake recipe is soooo super easy!

  • Just combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda in a bowl. 
  • Whisk together the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, melted butter, vinegar, vanilla and coloring in separate bowl. 
  • Slowly add in the wet ingredients to the dry and mix for one minute. You can do this by hand or in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. 
  • Pour batter into two 8″ round cake pans and bake!

I like to frost and fill my cake with cream cheese frosting and then use some of the cake trimmings (from removing the dome) to make a pretty cake crumb coating on the outside. Garnish with a little white chocolate and boom! That’s one pretty red velvet cake. 

Frequently asked questions about this red velvet cake recipe

Can this recipe be made into cupcakes? – Yes you can definitely use this recipe for cupcakes. I have made them many times and they turn out really well. 

What can I use if I don’t have buttermilk? – You can use an equal amount (by weight) of sour cream or you can add 1 Tbsp of vinegar into regular milk and let it sit af ew minutes until it starts to curdle to make homemade buttermilk. 

Can I leave out the red food coloring? Yes you can but the cake will not be very red on the inside. 

 

Red Velvet Cake Recipe

Amazing real red velvet cake recipe. One bowl, one spatula, one amazing cake! This recipe makes two 8" round cakes that are 2" tall. The cake is very light and delicate and very moist. 

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword red velvet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 20 servings
Calories 267 kcal

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 12 oz AP flour
  • 14 oz Granulated Sugar I prefer super fine
  • 1 Tbsp natural (not dutched) cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 large eggs room temp
  • 6 oz vegetable oil
  • 8 oz buttermilk room temp
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 4 oz melted unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp super red food coloring I prefer americolor super red because it doesn't have a taste

Instructions

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and prepare two 8" cake pans with cake good or preferred pan spray

  2. Whisk up eggs with oil, buttermilk, vinegar and melted butter and food coloring until combined and set aside. 

  3. Place dry ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer and mix for a few seconds to combine

  4. Add wet ingredients into your dry and mix on medium high for about a minute until combined

  5. Pour into cake pans and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out cleanly. Pairs perfectly with our cream cheese buttercream. 

Nutrition Facts
Red Velvet Cake Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 267 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 22%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 29mg 10%
Sodium 238mg 10%
Potassium 43mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 33g 11%
Sugars 20g
Protein 2g 4%
Vitamin A 3.7%
Calcium 1.9%
Iron 5.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

the best red velvet cake recipe

 

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