Red Velvet Cake Recipe

This Red Velvet Cake recipe makes an easy to follow, classic dessert. Red velvet cake is delicious with cream cheese or cooked heritage frosting.

Red Velvet Cake Recipe from

Growing up, my mother always made me a this special red velvet cake topped with heritage frosting on my birthday. Sometimes, she’d also make them for Christmas, but I knew them as “my” birthday cake. No one else in our family had this cake as “their” cake. I felt like it was especially mine.

Red Velvet Cake Recipe from


But then Little Buddy came along and decided it would be “his” birthday cake when celebrating his birthday with my family. When we celebrate his birthday with my husband’s family, he always wants my mother-in-law’s caramel cake. The boy knows how to make special requests that everyone loves making sure happen!

And of course, Mama made her red velvet cake for him for his birthday this year.

I love looking at this picture. It just makes me wonder what he wished.

Knowing him, he probably wished to get the biggest slice of this cake!

Thanks Nana for making his birthday cake.

We love ya. And we love your cake.

Red Velvet Cake Recipe from

Here’s how she makes her Red Velvet Cake recipe.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Red Velvet Cake Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This Red Velvet Cake recipe makes an easy to follow, classic dessert. Red velvet cake is delicious with cream cheese or cooked heritage frosting.
Serves: 12
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 ounces red food coloring
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 scant teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare three (8-inch) cake pans with nonstick baking spray or by thoroughly greasing and flouring. Set aside.
  2. Cream together vegetable shortening, sugar and eggs. Make a paste of food coloring and cocoa powder and add to the mixture. Add salt and flour with buttermilk and vanilla. Alternately add soda and vinegar; just blend, don’t beat hard.
  3. Evenly distribute into cake pans and bake 25-30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Cool cake thoroughly before frosting.
We prefer to frost with Heritage Frosting or Cream Cheese Frosting.

from Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers, Desserts Edition, 1963

This cake will be a favorite on your holiday dessert buffet, next birthday celebration, or family dinner.

Robyn xo
This recipe was originally published on November 7, 2010, republished December 1, 2014.


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  1. 44

    Dawn Kackley says

    I make a red velvet cake for my daughter every year for her birthday, she just turned 27. I could not find my usual recipe for red velvet cake and when i searched the web found this one. It did not dissappoint anyone. My daughter was thrilled and I will be using this recipe from now on. It is super easy and quick. Thanks for posting.

  2. 45


    Hello… Can I replace butter with vegetable shortening? From where I live vegetable shortening is not easily available …if so how much?

  3. 49

    Poonam Chavan says


    Can i use unsalted butter instead of vegetable shortening? Any other substitutes?
    Will the quantity remain the same?

    • 50

      Kandis says

      Lard works and is healthier than shortening. Any time a pastry recipe calls for different kinds of fat it’s because of the different melting temperatures. Shortening and lard both melt at a higher temperature so when used in pastries it gives them time for the texture to set before it melts, leaving lots of air pockets so it’s light and fluffy.

  4. 51

    Melanie says

    Love this blog and always look forward to it! Made this cake with the cream cheese frosting this week for a holiday luncheon. It’s pretty easy to make but very showy, especially after it has the first cut taken out. Some people asked about a brown color instead of red. I used two 1 oz. tubs of Red Wilton Gel Food Coloring (no flavor) and it was wonderfully red! Perfect for Christmastime. The recipe for cream cheese frosting is very generous and probably made the cake! (The gel food coloring is at my local Wal Mart.) Thank you for sharing this Robyn!

    • 52


      Isn’t it a gorgeous cake?! I’m so glad you enjoyed it for your Christmas luncheon. I love that cream cheese frosting it, too. Sometime, try the heritage frosting that we also use on it. I think you’ll love it just as much!

      • 53

        Xiomy Alfaro says

        Hello. Please tell me how you were able to bake such a beautiful color red for your cake. Mine was brown. God bless Xiomy

        • 54


          Hi Xiomy,
          Sorry yours didn’t turn out as vibrant red as mine. I would think it has to do with your red coloring, without knowing any of the other details.

  5. 55

    Elisa Saint Just says

    How can I make this cake purple rather than red. Would everything be the same except for the food coloring?

    • 56

      Jesse says

      I just did a lovely purple one and it cam out great, I used the violet gel color the half ounce bottle but not quite the whole thing and the color was great

  6. 60

    Saema says

    Hi Robyn,

    I tried this recipe today, the cakes are still cooling and the frosting is nearly ready but I too note the cakes were not red but brown in colour, what colouring did you use ?

    Kind Regards
    Saema x

  7. 61

    laura says

    just made this……….lovely with the heritage frosting…i am tempted to eat it before everyone else…. cant wait for their comments.
    thanks for these tasty recipes

  8. 62

    temi says

    please Robyn some of your recipes require Crisco which is hard to find here. Can I use butter instead or do you have any other recommendation? please reply

    • 63

      Kandis says

      Any vegetable shortening or you can go back to basics and use lard. Lard is really good for pastries and is actually healthier for you than shortening.

  9. 64

    Ana says

    Hi Robyn!

    I did a mix between a blue velvet cake and your recipe for the best white cake ever. It came out PERFECT! It was a gift for my boyfriend! I wish I could send you a picture. I made a sweet cream cheese frosting with grated white chocolate. The filling was blue pastry cream with blueberries. I knew something funny would happen after everyone ate the cake… surprise in the bathroom! Everyone had a blue experience haha! Anyway, I wanted to thank you for all your recipes, I love your cakes and breads, are perfectly moist and addictive. Hugs from Peru!

  10. 70


    This cake is GORGEOUS!! As are your pictures of it.

    Passed down recipes are truly the best kind. Thanks so much for sharing one that is close to your heart. Happy Birthday to your Little Buddy!!

    Happy Monday!! :)

  11. 72


    I have never made a red velvet cake in my life. It looks really yum though. I must admit that I kind of hate the taste of red dye. I recently read somewhere that you can dye the cake with beet juice. I think I could try this with some beet juice coloring instead of red dye. I bet it wouldn’t be all that hard. I may have to try it. Of course the gluten free part will probably prove harder than the coloring! But the cake is gorgeous. Did you have the surprise? I hope little buddy had a great time celebrating his big day!

  12. 76


    Red Velvet Cake is so special. I bake it for Mom’s birthday when I am able to be with her. And she will be staying with us in a few weeks, over her birthday – this cake is already on the menu! It’s a wonderful kick-off to all the beautiful holiday baking.

  13. 79

    Liz @ Blog is the New Black says

    How did you get it to be such a rich, gorgeous red color?! Mine always comes out more brown than red! Looks DELISH!

  14. 81


    I always make a red velvet cake for my mom and my brother on their birthdays. My great grandmother made them all the time when I was little for my mom and once I was old enough I always helped and now that she has passed I am the red velvet cake baker! :)


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