Blog Recipes/ Cakes and Cupcakes/ Desserts and Sweets

Red Velvet Cake

Sharing is caring!

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

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

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

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

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.

Red Velvet Cake From Scratch

Red Velvet Cake From Scratch

Yield: 1 8-inch 2 layer cake
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

This delicious red velvet cake from scratch recipe is moist, easy to make, and tastes great!


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
  • red food coloring


    1. Preheat the oven to 350 F, 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. Stir in the red food coloring.
    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.
Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes


  • 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


  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


Posts on Goodie Godmother may contain affiliate links, meaning that, should you click through and purchase, Goodie Godmother will receive a small commission. There is no cost to you, and any commission earned goes right to work helping me continue to bring you delicious recipes! That being said, I would never recommend a product I wouldn't or don't use myself and any opinions are 100% my own, always.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    March 23, 2020 at 4:56 pm

    Looking to make this for son’s upcoming bday (3 days from today 🤪) BUT where i live we don’t have buttermilk … what would be the substitute, please.


    • Reply
      Mary (The Goodie Godmother)
      March 26, 2020 at 10:09 pm

      Oh my goodness I’m so sorry I didn’t get to the computer sooner! A substitute for buttermilk would be regular milk with a teaspoon or so of lemon juice mixed in per cup. Let sit 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, you may use 3/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.

      I hope your son had a wonderful birthday!

  • Reply
    Barb Hamilton
    March 2, 2020 at 6:19 pm

    So…… no one has made this recipe. Wish there were reviews about how it turned out.

    • Reply
      Mary (The Goodie Godmother)
      March 2, 2020 at 7:27 pm

      That’s so very strange that the comments aren’t showing for you, Barb! Hopefully with the reply notification you will be linked to the 30+ comments about the cake. Spoiler, it’s a favorite. 😉

  • Reply
    October 26, 2018 at 10:53 am

    First time baking a red velvet cake and this recipe was wonderful – I don’t think I’ll need another one. Nice chocolate taste, moist, accurate cook times 🙂 I reduced the sugar to 1 3/4 cups in the batter, and I think I only used 3 cups in the frosting (I always end up having way too much left-over and putting 6 cups of sugar in anything makes my soul hurt). I like that you give us options about food coloring, but it would be nice to mention when to add it in the actual recipe (I know it’s written in the comments, but some of us just jump right in). I added the food coloring at the end, just before baking. I used liquid food coloring – I didn’t keep track but it must have been about 10-15 drops, until the batter became truly red. Thanks for the great recipe! It was devoured within a day 😋

    • Reply
      Mary (The Goodie Godmother)
      November 2, 2018 at 9:55 pm

      I will go ahead and update that! I’m so glad the cake was enjoyed. <3 It's a favorite around here too

  • Reply
    May 22, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    I’m not a fan of red velvet cake. It’s always bitter to (except for the very first time I had it). I’ve always thought it was the food coloring because I’ve experienced cakes with bitter decorations because of the color. No one here mentioned bitterness, so I’m going to try this recipe since red velvet is my best friend’s favorite cake/cupcake.

    • Reply
      Mary (The Goodie Godmother)
      May 25, 2018 at 11:08 am

      I hope you enjoy! I’d also recommend using gel coloring over liquid as you don’t have to use as much to get a good color.

  • Reply
    August 28, 2017 at 8:02 am

    Can I do this in a 1/4 sheet pan? Also could I use blue color instead of red to make blue velvet?

    • Reply
      Mary (The Goodie Godmother)
      August 31, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      You can use blue color and bake it in a sheet pan. I’d recommend using some bake even strips or a flower nail in the center of the pan to help with heat distribution.

  • Reply
    July 20, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Hi! If I’m going to use beet juice, how much of it it’s needed to get real red color of the cake?

    • Reply
      Mary (The Goodie Godmother)
      July 20, 2017 at 10:00 am

      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.

  • Reply
    June 30, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Hi. At what time the food coloring is added?

  • Reply
    Keith @ How's it Lookin?
    May 3, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Looks great. This might be my favorite cake, thanks a lot

  • Reply
    January 29, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Can I use a 9in instead of an 8? And will the baking time differ?

    • Reply
      The Godmother
      February 7, 2016 at 1:44 pm

      You can absolutely use a 9″ pan instead of an 8″ pan. Baking time won’t really change for such a small difference in pan size.

  • Reply
    alice martinez
    January 27, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    how maney drops red food coloring do we use?

    • Reply
      The Godmother
      January 29, 2016 at 12:48 pm

      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.

  • Reply
    January 25, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    Looks absolutely perfect. Used to work at a bakery with the perfect red velvet cake and this looks so close to that!! Must make.

    • Reply
      The Godmother
      January 27, 2016 at 6:13 am

      So exciting! I’m a little biased though haha

  • Reply
    Paige @ Where Latin Meets Lagniappe
    January 24, 2016 at 9:01 am

    I have ALWAYS wanted to try making a red velvet cake Mary, and yours looks amazing! Such a beautiful treat 🙂

  • Reply
    January 21, 2016 at 6:42 am

    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!

    • Reply
      The Godmother
      January 27, 2016 at 6:20 am

      Really? I feel like with the liquid coloring I’m always dumping in a crazy amount of color to get a true red. My mantra is “use what works.” 😉 Enjoy!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    Whitney @ That Square Plate
    January 20, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    I LOVE a good red velvet cake and yours looks PERFECT like you say. Beautiful pictures and beautiful cake Mary!!

    • Reply
      The Godmother
      January 27, 2016 at 6:22 am

      Thank you, red velvet is a personal favorite, so I wanted to get it right.

  • Reply
    Byron Thomas
    January 20, 2016 at 8:40 am

    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!

  • Reply
    January 13, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    oh my goodness! I am going to try this! I am personally not a red velvet fan but my husband and family members do too! Perfect!!

    • Reply
      The Godmother
      January 14, 2016 at 3:04 pm

      You are so sweet baking for them! I know they’ll appreciate it. 🙂

  • Reply
    January 12, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    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!

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.