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.

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.
4.8 from 5 votes

Review Recipe

Print Recipe

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Servings: 24
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch


  • 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


  • Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare three (8-inch) cake pans with nonstick baking spray or by thoroughly greasing and flouring. Set aside.
  • Cream vegetable shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add eggs one at a time, completely incorporating after each addition. Make a paste of food coloring and cocoa powder and add to the mixture. Sift together flour and salt in a separate medium bowl, set aside. Pour buttermilk and vanilla into a measuring cup, set aside. Alternately, mix flour mixture and buttermilk mixture into shortening/sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl to ensure all ingredients are well incorporated. Reduce speed of mixer and stir in baking soda, making sure incorporated into batter. Then, stir in the vinegar, taking care not to beat hard or over mix.
  • Evenly distribute into cake pans and bake 25-30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • 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
Have you made this recipe?Tag @addapinch on Instagram or hashtag it #addapinch

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.

Join today for free and start saving your favorite recipes

Create an account easily save your favorite content, so you never forget a recipe again.

Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

More about me

66 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. 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! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Red Velvet Cake Recipe | Add a Pinch --
  3. How did you get it to be such a rich, gorgeous red color?! Mine always comes out more brown than red! Looks DELISH!

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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!! 🙂

  7. 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!

  8. 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

    1. 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. 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

  10. 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

    1. 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

  11. 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!

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

      2. 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.

  12. Hi,

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

    1. 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.

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

  14. 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.

  15. Hi Robyn, I’m from Brazil and I’m always looking different recipes and I happened to find your website.
    I already made your White cake, Chocolate Cake, and the white and chocolate frostings.
    The white cake recipe I divided and put some food coloring to do also a red velvet cake and it was delicious!
    Now I took the Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe and The Red Velvet Cake Recipe!
    But I have a question: this recipe doens’t have baking powder. That’s it? And what’s the vinegar for?
    Congratulations! I became your fan ;* kisses

  16. Hi, thank you for the recipe. May i ask how much heritage frosting is required to fill and decorate the red velvet cake? I would love to make this for my husbands birthday on valentines day. Thank you

  17. Would this recipe work just as well for cupcakes? How many cupcakes do you think it would yield? Thanks in advance!

  18. I made the delicious chocolate cake and today I amgoing to bake the Red Velvet cake .

      1. Normally you can swap equal amounts. I want to try it first using her grandmother’s original recipe before I change anything up but may once I get the full experience…

  19. Hi Robyn, I am really looking forward to making this recipe this weekend. I’ve tried some of your other cakes – and they are the best on the web. Thanks so much for sharing. Just wondering, does this cake work well if frozen, or am I best to just make it the day before? Thanks a million.

    1. Hi Maria, I have some desserts here on my site that do not have added sugar. You can search “sugar free” in my Recipe Index under Cooking to find those on my site. Thanks so much!

  20. How long should I mix the cake? I forgot bake-even strips and remembered them about halfway through. The sides were crispy at 25 min and the cake was dense. Trying to figure out what I did wrong. I made your chocolate cake and it was so moist! The batter on this one was thicker and I’m wondering if that’s why it was dryer. Suggestions?

  21. Hi! Can you give the break down if I wanted to use this for cupcakes? I love all of your recipes and swear by them. This weekend however, I went rouge because I needed to make RV cupcakes and they turned out more like RV brownies with not a ton of flavor. Thanks!

  22. Hello Robyn! Thank you so much for the recipe. I haven’t tried it out yet but I know I can always trust your recipes. Please i’ll like to ask for what type of food coloring to use for this red velvet cake? Is it liquid, powdered or gel coloring?

    1. Hi Lucy,
      This is a family favorite recipe we have loved for years! I usually use liquid food coloring and its what my mother has used for the many years that she’s been making this. I hope you enjoy this cake as well. Thanks! xo

  23. I absolutely love your chocolate cake recipe. Tried the red velvet cake recipe for cupcakes and they were really good but would rather use a different recipe for cupcakes? I’m making them again right now with the cake recipe.

  24. Hi Robyn thanks for this. I tried your chocolate cake recipe and its d best so far. Can I replace vegetable shortening with vegetable oil. Same measurement?

  25. I’m so excited to make this! I was thinking about making cupcakes instead of a cake. How many cupcakes would a full recipe make? BTW – I’ve made a number of your other recipes and they’re all AMAZING! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *