Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This classic Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is the cake to make for all your celebratory or weekend baking needs! Four soft, sweet, extra chocolate-y, bright red cake layers. Each generously frosted with the most delicious no-fail cream cheese frosting. Decorate simply like I did, take a more traditional route, or go all out! No matter what you do, this cake will always stand out and be sure to impress.

red velvet cake on a white plate with a jug of milk, a jar of forks, and two slices of cake

About The Recipe

Talk about classic! This cake has been in my family for generations. It may not be a southern cake per-say, but it might as well have been. This was one of the most popular cakes to order during my mom’s catering business. I remember almost every wedding/celebration, they ordered THIS red velvet cake!

We have even used this cake for Halloween because – hey, it’s blood red and perfect for little skull cakes!

And it was always a major success. Everyone wanted the recipe whether it was dressed up or dressed down. The cake is delicious!

two slices of red velvet cake on white plates with a white napkin and a jug of milk

But, I never really knew what made a red velvet cake a – well, red velvet cake. Not until now! Turns out, what makes this cake different from your standard chocolate cake (besides the food dye, of course) is actually the vinegar added to the cake. Sounds silly, I know, but trust me! Waaaaay back when, they didn’t have food dye. So, they used the vinegar to bring out a red color in the cocoa powder.

Kinda cool, right?

Nowadays, the vinegar isn’t necessarily needed but it’s what makes this cake a red velvet cake.

So, we married classic with modern and have this amazingly soft, delicious cake to share with all of you!

red velvet cake on a white plate with a jug of milk, a slice of cake, and a jar of forks

Equipment Needed

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Salt
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Buttermilk
  • Vanilla
  • Red Food Coloring
  • Vinegar
ingredients for red velvet cake on a marble counter

For the frosting:

  • Heavy Cream
  • Vanila
  • Cream Cheese
  • Salt
  • Powdered Sugar

Instructions

In a large glass bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.

Beat butter and sugar in a mixer for about 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time into the butter mixture, mixing well after each addition.

Now, add the flour mixture from earlier alternately with the buttermilk. Make sure to always begin and end with the flour mixture! The photos below are not of every addition. Just a few to give you a general idea of the texture.

Stir the vanilla into the cake batter.

Then, stir in the red food coloring and vinegar.

Now that the cake batter is done, here comes the trickiest part of any cake recipe! Dividing the batter. If you have a scale, place your greased cake pan onto it and spoon out roughly about 13 ounces of batter. If you don’t have a scale, this is roughly 1 5/8 cups. Just try and and get the layers as even as you can for guaranteed even baking!

red velvet cake batter in a round cake pan on a marble counter

Place the four layers into a 350 degree oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the layers test done. Make sure to check each layer individually! when they’re done, take them out of the oven and let cool for a few minutes, turn out onto a cooling rack and let the layers finish cooling.

red velvet cake in a circle cake pan

While the cake layers finish cooling, go ahead and get the ingredients out for the frosting!

In a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the cream and vanilla until stiff peaks form. After that, add the sliced cream cheese one pad at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then stir in the salt and powdered sugar, and you’re done! If you want more info on how to make this/tips, head over to our No-Fail Cream Cheese Frosting recipe for all the details!

cream cheese frosting in a mixer

Once the cake layers are cooled, if needed, level them. Use a serrated knife and slowly cut through the domed top. You can use the excess cake as crumbs for decoration, if you’d like!

red velvet cake layers leveled on a wire cooling rack

So, now it’s time to build! Place a cake layer on a cake board and place that on the turning cake stand. Add about roughly 1/2 cup of cream cheese frosting. Spread along the top until smooth and level. Repeat these steps with the rest of the layers. Spread a thin layer of frosting around the sides. This is the crumb coat. Place the cake into the fridge for a few minutes.

After the frosting has had time to chill, take the frosting and the cake back out of the fridge. Spread remaining frosting onto cake and decorate as you see fit!

red velvet cake on a white plate with a jar of forks, a jug of milk, and a white napkin

How To Store

In addition to being delicious, the wonderful thing about this cake is its simplicity with storing. You can easily leave the cake covered on a cake plate on the counter for about 5-7 days, or you can actually freeze it!

But, I will admit that freezing is a little more difficult. You can freeze the whole cake after it’s finished, freeze individual slices for later snacking, or you can even freeze the individual cake layers and build the cake at a later time. It’s truly up to you!

Other Recipes You Might Like…

three slices of red velvet cake on white plates with the cake behind them

Expert Tips

  • If you have a scale, I strongly recommend using it to get the cake layers as even as possible! However, if you don’t, try using a measuring cup to ensure evenly distributed batter.
  • When making the frosting, make sure the heavy cream and cream cheese are cold!
  • Don’t have baking spray? Don’t worry! You can grease the pans and then dust lightly with flour.
  • If you choose to freeze this cake, make sure to set it out on the counter for a few hours to let it thaw.
  • The butter and the eggs should be at room temperature. So, make sure to get them out a few hours before baking.
  • And, in addition to getting the butter and eggs out early, go ahead and check the expiration dates on your baking soda and baking powder!
  • Despite the recipe amounts provided, the actual amount of frosting to use in-between layers and around the cake is up to you. If you like more frosting, feel free to use all the frosting. Like less, just store the excess in the fridge for later use!
  • If you’re using grocery store bought food coloring, you may need to add extra dye. I recommend using the food coloring we linked to at the top and bottom of this post.

When you make this Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting recipe, leave a comment down below! We love hearing from you and answering any questions you might have! Also, be sure to tag us on social media and hashtag it #BakersTable.

red velvet cake on a white plate with a jug of milk, a jar of forks, and two slices of cake

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Traci
The ultimate Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting recipe! It's super easy to make, always delicious, perfectly sweet, and guaranteed to be everyone's new favorite cake.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Cakes and Cupcakes
Cuisine American
Servings 1 cake
Calories 1065 kcal

Ingredients
 

Cake

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder sifted
  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 3 cups heavy cream cold
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 24 ounces cream cheese
  • teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups powdered sugar sifted

Instructions

For the Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray 4 8-inch round pans with baking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  • In a mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  • Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  • Stir in vanilla.
  • Mix in red food coloring and vinegar.
  • Divide batter into pans.
  • Bake until cake tests done, about 20 minutes.

For the Frosting:

  • Cut cream cheese into 1 ounce portions. Set aside.
  • Beat heavy cream and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
  • With mixer running, add cream cheese, one portion at a time.
  • Stir in salt and powdered sugar.

Notes

  • If you have a scale, I strongly recommend using it to get the cake layers as even as possible! However, if you don't, try using a measuring cup to ensure evenly distributed batter.
  • When making the frosting, make sure the heavy cream and cream cheese are cold!
  • Don't have baking spray? Don't worry! You can grease the pans and then dust lightly with flour.
  • If you choose to freeze this cake, make sure to set it out on the counter for a few hours to let it thaw.
  • The butter and the eggs should be at room temperature. So, make sure to get them out a few hours before baking.
  • And, in addition to getting the butter and eggs out early, go ahead and check the expiration dates on your baking soda and baking powder!
  • Despite the recipe amounts provided, the actual amount of frosting to use in-between layers and around the cake is up to you. If you like more frosting, feel free to use all the frosting. Like less, just store the excess in the fridge for later use!
  • If you're using grocery store bought food coloring, you may need to add extra dye. I recommend using the food coloring we linked to at the top and bottom of this post.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 1065kcalCarbohydrates: 118gProtein: 21gFat: 58gSaturated Fat: 35gPolyunsaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 226mgSodium: 892mgFiber: 1gSugar: 90g

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

When you make this recipe, remember to tag @abakers_table or hashtag it #BakersTable!

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