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Delicious Red Velvet Cake Recipe – A Classic Dessert Made from Scratch

Red Velvet Cake

Red velvet cake is a classic dessert known for its vibrant red color and rich, velvety texture. This article will guide you through the process of making a delicious red velvet cake from scratch. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a novice in the kitchen, this recipe will help you create a moist and flavorful cake that is sure to impress. So, put on your apron and let’s get started!



The history of the red velvet cake recipe is a fascinating tale that dates back several decades. While its exact origins are still a subject of debate, the cake has become a beloved classic in American cuisine.

One popular theory suggests that the red velvet cake recipe originated in the early 1900s at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. According to this story, a guest who enjoyed the cake at the hotel requested the recipe. The hotel graciously provided it but charged a hefty fee, which the guest paid without hesitation. This contributed to the cake’s reputation and popularity.

Another theory traces the cake’s roots to the Great Depression era. During this time, ingredients such as butter and eggs were scarce and expensive. Bakers began experimenting with alternative ingredients to create moist and flavorful cakes. The addition of buttermilk and vinegar not only provided a tangy flavor but also reacted with the cocoa powder, resulting in a reddish hue.

Red velvet cake gained widespread attention in the 1940s when the Adams Extract Company, a food coloring manufacturer, popularized it by printing a recipe on the back of their red food coloring bottles. This marketing campaign helped propel the cake’s popularity across the United States.

Over the years, the red velvet cake recipe has undergone various adaptations and modifications. Initially, the cake’s distinct color was achieved through a chemical reaction between the cocoa and the acid in the buttermilk and vinegar. However, as food coloring became more readily available, it became the primary ingredient used to achieve the vibrant red color.

Today, red velvet cake is often associated with special occasions, such as birthdays, weddings, and holidays. Its visually appealing red hue, combined with its moist and velvety texture, makes it a favorite choice for celebrations. The cake is typically frosted with cream cheese frosting, which complements its flavors perfectly.

While the exact history of the red velvet cake recipe remains somewhat mysterious, its popularity continues to grow. It has become a timeless dessert that evokes feelings of nostalgia and joy. Whether enjoyed at a fancy bakery or homemade with love, red velvet cake holds a special place in the hearts of cake enthusiasts worldwide.


Preparing Ingredients15 minutes
Mixing the Batter10 minutes
Baking the Cakes25-30 minutes
Cooling the Cakes10 minutes
Frosting the Cake10 minutes
Decorating the Cake10 minutes
Refrigerating the Cake1 hour
TotalApproximately 2 hours 20 minutes

Please note that the times mentioned above are approximate and can vary depending on individual cooking skills and equipment used.


All-purpose flour1 ¼ cups
Cocoa powder1 tablespoon
Granulated sugar¾ cup
Buttermilk½ cup
Unsalted butter, softened¼ cup
Large eggs1
Vanilla extract½ teaspoon
Baking soda½ teaspoon
Distilled white vinegar½ teaspoon
Red food coloring½ ounce
Salt¼ teaspoon
Cream cheese frosting (store-bought or homemade)As needed

Please note that the quantities listed above are for a 2-person serving of the red velvet cake recipe. Adjust the quantities accordingly if you need to serve more or fewer people.


Preparing Ingredients

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease two 9-inch round cake pans.

Mixing the Batter

  1. Whisk Dry Ingredients: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  2. Cream Butter and Sugar: In a separate large bowl, cream together ¼ cup softened unsalted butter and ¾ cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add Eggs and Vanilla: Add 1 large egg to the butter mixture, mixing well after each addition. Stir in ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.
  4. Combine Buttermilk and Food Coloring: In a small bowl, combine ½ cup buttermilk and ½ ounce red food coloring. Mix until well combined.
  5. Alternate Dry and Buttermilk Mixtures: Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk mixture. Begin and end with the dry ingredients.
  6. Mix Baking Soda and Vinegar: In a small bowl, mix together ½ teaspoon baking soda and ½ teaspoon distilled white vinegar. Add this mixture to the cake batter and stir until well combined.

Baking and Assembly

  1. Divide Batter: Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Smooth the tops with a spatula.
  2. Bake Cakes: Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  3. Cool Cakes: Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Then, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Frost and Assemble: Once the cakes are completely cooled, frost the top of one cake layer with cream cheese frosting. Place the second cake layer on top and frost the entire cake with the remaining frosting.
  5. Decorate and Chill: Decorate the cake as desired and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Enjoy your homemade red velvet cake!

Please note that these directions are provided as a general guide. Adjustments may be needed based on your specific kitchen setup and equipment.

Equipment Required

Nutrition Information

Nutrition InformationAmount per Serving
Serving Size1 slice (1/8th of cake)
Total Fat18g
Saturated Fat10g
Trans Fat0g
Total Carbohydrate55g
Dietary Fiber1g
Vitamin D2mcg

Please note that the nutrition information provided is an estimate and may vary depending on specific ingredients used and any modifications made to the recipe.


  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure that all ingredients, such as butter, eggs, and buttermilk, are at room temperature before starting the baking process. This helps in achieving a smoother batter and better incorporation of ingredients.
  • Gel or Paste Food Coloring: For a more vibrant and intense red color, use gel or paste food coloring instead of liquid food coloring. These concentrated colors will give you better results.
  • Sift Cocoa Powder: To avoid any lumps in the cocoa powder, sift it before adding it to the dry ingredients. This will help distribute it evenly in the batter.
  • Do Not Overmix: When combining the wet and dry ingredients, be careful not to overmix the batter. Overmixing can lead to a dense cake. Mix until the ingredients are just combined.
  • Proper Greasing and Parchment Paper: Ensure that you properly grease the cake pans to prevent sticking. Placing a circle of parchment paper at the bottom of the pans can also help in easy removal of the cakes.
  • Cooling Cakes Completely: Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting them. This prevents the frosting from melting and sliding off the cake.
  • Cream Cheese Frosting: While the recipe mentions using cream cheese frosting, you can experiment with other frostings as well. Buttercream frosting or whipped cream can be delicious alternatives.
  • Storage and Serving: Store the cake covered in the refrigerator. Red velvet cake tends to taste even better after a day or two as the flavors meld together. Bring it to room temperature before serving for the best taste and texture.

Pros & Cons

✔️ Delicious and flavorful❌ High in calories
✔️ Eye-catching red color❌ Contains saturated fat
✔️ Moist and tender texture❌ Requires specific ingredients
✔️ Versatile for different occasions❌ Time-consuming preparation
✔️ Cream cheese frosting complements the cake well❌ May require special baking skills


In conclusion, the red velvet cake recipe offers a delightful and indulgent dessert experience that is sure to impress. With its vibrant red color, moist texture, and delicious cream cheese frosting, this cake is perfect for special occasions, celebrations, or simply treating yourself to a sweet delight.

The combination of flavors, from the hint of cocoa to the tanginess of buttermilk, creates a harmonious balance that will tantalize your taste buds. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a beginner in the kitchen, following the step-by-step instructions will guide you towards baking a mouthwatering red velvet cake that will have everyone asking for seconds.

While this recipe requires time and attention to detail, the end result is well worth the effort. The cake’s visual appeal and delightful taste make it a standout dessert that will leave a lasting impression on your guests or loved ones.

So why not put on your apron, gather the ingredients, and embark on a baking adventure? Whether it’s a birthday celebration, a special event, or simply a craving for a delicious treat, the red velvet cake is a timeless classic that is sure to bring joy and satisfaction.

Remember, you can always add your own personal touch by experimenting with different frosting flavors, decorations, or even making it gluten-free or eggless to suit your dietary preferences.

Indulge in the rich flavors, enjoy the velvety texture, and share the joy of this delectable dessert with your loved ones. Get ready to savor each bite of this red velvet cake and create lasting memories. Don’t hesitate to try this recipe and let your taste buds experience the magic of a homemade red velvet cake.

Get ready to impress and delight with your baking skills. Start mixing, baking, and enjoy the delightful journey of creating your own homemade red velvet cake. Happy baking!


  • Fact 1: The Mystery Behind the Red Color 🌈
    • Red velvet cake’s vibrant hue often leaves people curious. Originally, the color came from a reaction between cocoa and acidic ingredients like buttermilk and vinegar. Today, food coloring is used, transforming the cake into a visually striking masterpiece.
  • Fact 2: A Cake Fit for Royalty 👑
    • Did you know that red velvet cake was once considered a luxurious dessert? Its association with elegance and royalty led it to be a sought-after treat, especially in high-class hotels and upscale events.
  • Fact 3: Waldorf-Astoria’s Legendary Creation 🏰
    • The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City has a legendary connection to red velvet cake. As the story goes, a guest loved the cake so much that they asked for the recipe. The hotel obliged but charged a hefty fee, adding to the cake’s allure.
  • Fact 4: A Popular Silver Screen Star 🎥
    • Red velvet cake gained even more popularity thanks to its appearances in movies and TV shows. It became a symbol of romance and celebration, making it a favorite choice for on-screen weddings and festive occasions.
  • Fact 5: Red Velvet’s Southern Charm 🌴
    • While red velvet cake is beloved worldwide, it has strong roots in the southern United States. It is often associated with southern cuisine and has become a staple dessert in states like Texas, where it is eagerly enjoyed at family gatherings and special events.


Can I make the red velvet cake without food coloring?

While the vibrant red color is a signature of red velvet cake, you can make a variation using natural food coloring alternatives such as beet juice or raspberry puree. However, keep in mind that the resulting color may be less intense.

Can I use margarine instead of butter in the recipe?

It is best to use unsalted butter as specified in the recipe. Margarine can affect the texture and flavor of the cake, so sticking to butter will yield the best results.

Can I freeze the red velvet cake?

Yes, you can freeze the cake. Ensure it is properly wrapped or stored in an airtight container. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

Can I substitute buttermilk with regular milk?

Buttermilk adds tanginess and moisture to the cake. You can make a substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk and letting it sit for 5 minutes before using it in the recipe.

Can I use self-rising flour instead of all-purpose flour?

It is recommended to use all-purpose flour for this recipe. Self-rising flour contains leavening agents, which can affect the texture of the cake.

Can I use a different frosting instead of cream cheese frosting?

Absolutely! While cream cheese frosting is traditional, you can use alternatives like buttercream, whipped cream, or even a chocolate ganache for a different flavor profile.

How long will the red velvet cake stay fresh?

When stored properly in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the cake can stay fresh for up to 4-5 days.

Can I make cupcakes instead of a cake using this recipe?

Yes, you can make cupcakes using the same batter. Adjust the baking time to approximately 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Can I make the cake in advance and frost it later?

Yes, you can bake the cake in advance and store it unfrosted. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it at room temperature. Frost the cake when you are ready to serve.

Can I reduce the sugar in the recipe?

Reducing sugar can affect the taste and texture of the cake. It is best to follow the recipe for optimal results. However, you can experiment with small adjustments to suit your taste preferences.