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Perfect Red Velvet Cake Recipe FROM SCRATCH! Just the right hint of chocolate with a kick, it's everything you'd want from a classic Southern red velvet. Bakes perfectly as a layer cake or cupcakes with no modification. Recipe on GoodieGodmother.com

This is my perfect red velvet cake recipe. It’s the best red velvet cake I’ve tried, and it’s most definitely *not* chocolate cake with red food coloring, because that, my darlings, is *not* red velvet cake contrary to what I have heard/seen in my life outside the South. Bless. The mark of a really good red velvet cake is a slight tang from vinegar and buttermilk, just the right hint of chocolate, and an incredibly moist, but not super dense, crumb. This recipe is all of that, and I’ve used it for years as both a layer cake and cupcake recipe with incredible results each and every bake. 

While the red velvet cake is largely considered a Southern treat, it appears its roots are in New York City where the Waldorf Astoria hotel created the recipe and called it the Waldorf Astoria cake sometimes around the Depression Era. I’ve always known it to be a distinctly Southern cake though, and it’s rare to find a truly delicious recipe outside of the South.

Perfect Red Velvet Cake Recipe FROM SCRATCH! Just the right hint of chocolate with a kick, it's everything you'd want from a classic Southern red velvet. Bakes perfectly as a layer cake or cupcakes with no modification. Recipe on GoodieGodmother.com

Red velvet shouldn’t be too sweet, since the cake is often topped with cream cheese frosting, so you want a nice balance of flavors. In some more traditional Southern kitchens, you may also find red velvet topped with a dressing made from a roux with flour, sugar, and water. It’s a different style, but I personally prefer cream cheese frosting, especially since I really love my cream cheese frosting! I’ve included that recipe below for you too.

Perfect Red Velvet Cake Recipe FROM SCRATCH! Just the right hint of chocolate with a kick, it's everything you'd want from a classic Southern red velvet. Bakes perfectly as a layer cake or cupcakes with no modification. Recipe on GoodieGodmother.com

You will need to add red food coloring to dye the cake, and I’d recommend using a gel color instead of a liquid dye. You need MUCH less of the gel to get a good color in the cake. If you’d prefer a natural alternative, a little beet juice will give the cake a subtle red hue, but don’t add too much so the cake doesn’t have a beet flavor. A little is totally fine though, especially paired with chocolate.

I hope you enjoy this red velvet cake recipe as much as we do!

Perfect Red Velvet Cake Recipe FROM SCRATCH! Just the right hint of chocolate with a kick, it's everything you'd want from a classic Southern red velvet. Bakes perfectly as a layer cake or cupcakes with no modification. Recipe on GoodieGodmother.com

Be sure to check out the other cake recipes in my “Perfect Cake Recipe From Scratch” series – White Cake (a Pinterest favorite!), Yellow Cake, and Almond Cake.

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Perfect Red Velvet Cake Recipe FROM SCRATCH! Just the right hint of chocolate with a kick, it's everything you'd want from a classic Southern red velvet. Bakes perfectly as a layer cake or cupcakes with no modification. Recipe on GoodieGodmother.com
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Red Velvet Cake
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 
Servings: 1 8" 2 layer cake or 24 cupcakes
Author: Goodie Godmother
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter 240 g, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar 400 g
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 312 g
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 29.5 g
  • 1 cup buttermilk 237 mL, room temp
  • 2 tbsp sour cream 30 g
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
  • red food coloring
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C, gas mark 3/4), then butter and line two 8" round cake pans with parchment or place liners in cupcake pans for 2 dozen (24) cupcakes.
  2. In a measuring cup, combine the buttermilk and vinegar. Set aside.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fully, then add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Stir in the sour cream and vanilla extract.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa in a separate bowl.
  5. Add the half the flour mixture to the butter, then half buttermilk. Repeat, and stir all ingredients are just combined.
  6. Pour into your prepared cake pans or use a medium cookie scoop to place batter into your lined cupcake pans.
  7. Bake 18-24 minutes for cupcakes or 25-30 minutes for cake, until a tester inserted in the center of the cake (or a middle cupcake) comes out clean.
  8. Allow the cake to set 10 minutes in the pan before inverting onto a cooling rack to cool completely before decorating. You may also double wrap the slightly warm layers in plastic wrap and freeze for up to two months.

 

0 from 0 votes
Perfect Red Velvet Cake Recipe FROM SCRATCH! Just the right hint of chocolate with a kick, it's everything you'd want from a classic Southern red velvet. Bakes perfectly as a layer cake or cupcakes with no modification. Recipe on GoodieGodmother.com
Print
Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 
Author: Goodie Godmother
Ingredients
  • 1/2 lb unsalted butter 225 g, softened
  • 1 lb cream cheese 450 g, softened
  • 5-6 cups confectioner's sugar powdered, 600-720 g
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Cream together the butter and cream cheese.
  2. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup (120 g) at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Once the desired consistency is reached, add the vanilla extract.
  3. Use immediately, or store up to 4 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container with plastic wrap pressed along the top surface of the icing. Re-whip before using.

 

Perfect Red Velvet Cake Recipe FROM SCRATCH! Just the right hint of chocolate with a kick, it's everything you'd want from a classic Southern red velvet. Bakes perfectly as a layer cake or cupcakes with no modification. Recipe on GoodieGodmother.com

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This Post Has 27 Comments
    1. It’s been a little while since I’ve used beet juice, so I can’t remember exactly measurements. I don’t think I went above half a cup. That being said, you won’t get a vibrant color like in the pictures, it usually turns out a more pinkish red.

    1. That depends on the brand you use, which is why I didn’t specify. If you use liquid coloring, you’ll need close to a tablespoon to get a rich red. A gel coloring will be anywhere between 1/2-1 tsp depending on the brand. My gel coloring has a dropper lid, and I think I use somewhere between 6-10, but I don’t really count. I add a little, stir, then add more if I need it.

  1. This cake looks absolutely perfect! You say to use gel color to get that red color but I’ve never had good results with the gel… only the liquid give me the red color I’m looking for. With the gel it usually turns out a pink hue if even turns color at all because of the cocoa. Either way, this will have to be made into some cupcakes soon!

  2. This cake really pops out at me, it’s so colorful! Totally agree with you about using gel coloring. The colors come out so much better and you can use way less. Love this cake!

  3. Such a gorgeous cake, Mary! I love it. You’ve done a fantastic job capturing the beauty of red velvet. Can you tell that I’m a red velvet fan? LOL. This must have been a super moist cake with both sour cream and butter milk! YUM!

  4. I am not normally a fan of chocolate, but I adore a good “real” piece of red velvet cake! Perfect timing with this recipe, it will be perfect for Valentines Day!

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