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Red Velvet 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

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.

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 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!

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

    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.

Did this recipe inspire you?

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest for even more great ideas... and don't forget to use the little "pin" button at the top of this card to save this recipe!

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

Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

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.

Did this recipe inspire you?

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest for even more great ideas... and don't forget to use the little "pin" button at the top of this card to save this recipe!

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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Angelina

Thursday 22nd of April 2021

Hi! Would it be okay to use cake flour?

Mary (The Goodie Godmother)

Friday 23rd of April 2021

Yes... the usual substitution for cake flour to all-purpose flour is 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of cake flour per cup of all-purpose flour.

Suzanne

Sunday 21st of March 2021

Can I use this recipe to make cupcakes?

Mary (The Goodie Godmother)

Sunday 21st of March 2021

Yes, you can, but it makes quite a few! If you're only looking to make a dozen cupcakes, I have a red velvet cupcake recipe here: https://goodiegodmother.com/red-velvet-cupcakes/

Happy baking!

Amber Gloyd

Tuesday 23rd of February 2021

I made this for my daughter's 39th birthday. She was thrilled. I hadn't made a red velvet cake before today. It turned out really well.I used liquid red food coloring and I also added a teaspoons so of milk to the icing recipe. It was a little stiff for me to work with and just an extra splash of vanilla.

Mary (The Goodie Godmother)

Wednesday 3rd of March 2021

Happy belated birthday to your daughter!

Sarah

Thursday 14th of January 2021

We absolutely LOVE this cake!! In our house we get to pick what kind of cake we want for our birthdays. My husband and son always pick this one. I've never tried another recipe as this one is always perfect! I use food gel instead of food coloring. I think the coloring leaves a funkey taste. But that is the only change I make!!!

Mary (The Goodie Godmother)

Sunday 24th of January 2021

Awww... thank you for sharing! I'm so glad I could provide a recipe for your family's birthday celebrations! <3 I do agree that food gel works best for coloring.

Gaby

Wednesday 16th of December 2020

Hi, I want to make this cake. I have a question, I don’t live in the USA, so, I find out that I can make my own buttermilk by mixing milk and white vinegar. So, in the recipe, will I use 1 cup of this buttermilk plus the white vinegar? Maybe my question sounds weird, but I’m really new baking and I don’t know if i could make a terrible mistake if I don’t add the ingredients correctly

Mary (The Goodie Godmother)

Monday 21st of December 2020

Yes, use 1 cup of buttermilk and the additional white vinegar. BUT, if you're concerned about adding too much white vinegar, another substitute is to use 3/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt instead of the buttermilk. Then add the white vinegar called for in the recipe. Welcome to the world of baking! I'm glad to answer any questions to help. <3

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