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The BEST Red Velvet Cake recipe makes a signature red layer cake that is tender, moist and flavorful with perfect velvety texture! An easy, classic cake recipe! Delicious with cream cheese frosting or traditional heritage frosting.

Looking for more cake recipes? I think you’ll love my chocolate cake recipe, white cake recipe, and Mother’s cream cheese pound cake. They are all delicious and easy!

Image of red velvet cake with a lit gold candle.
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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Classic Red Velvet Cake. This recipe make the iconic cake that everyone loves for Christmas, Valentine’s, and so many other special occasions.

Easy. It is an easy cake recipe that yields an impressive, gorgeous cake! You’ll love that it is made from scratch, yet easy as can be!

Flavor. Red Velvet Cake is the perfect combination of butter, vanilla, and cocoa with the tangy flavor of buttermilk and sweetness from the creamy frosting.

BEST Red Velvet Cake Recipe

My mother always made this delicious red velvet cake topped with heritage frosting or cream cheese frosting for my birthday and Christmas. It was always a special treat to see this velvety red cake piled high with fluffy white frosting. When Sam was little, he decided that he wanted it to be his birthday cake when he celebrates with my side of the family, too. (And Caramel Cake when he celebrates with my husband’s side of the family! Did I mention how smart he is?)

Sam: Birthday 2008

How to Make Red Velvet Cake Recipe

Image of red velvet cake ingredients

Ingredients

To make this cake, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • shortening – Shortening yields a tender, moist cake. I use an organic shortening, but you can use your favorite brand.
  • sugar – Granulated sugar is used in this cake recipe.
  • eggs – Use room temperature egg for better mixing into the cake batter
  • red food coloring – Use your favorite red food coloring in this recipe. You can find natural and organic red food coloring options, but note that the red color may fade during baking.
  • cocoa powder – You’ll just use a little cocoa powder in this recipe. Not enough to make the cake a chocolate cake, but enough to lend a bit of flavor.
  • flour – You can use all-purpose or cake flour in this recipe. [How to Make Cake Flour]
  • salt – Just a little salt helps to flavor the cake and balance the sweetness.
  • vanilla extract – I love to use my homemade vanilla extract for the incredible flavor, but use your favorite pure vanilla extract. I don’t recommend using imitation vanilla flavoring.
  • baking soda – The baking soda reacts with the acid in the buttermilk and white vinegar in this cake recipe.
  • buttermilk – Not only does the buttermilk work with the baking soda to help the cake rise, it also adds flavor and tenderness to this cake.
  • distilled white vinegar – This vinegar works with the buttermilk and baking soda to help the cake rise. It also adds to the tenderness of the cake.

How to Make Red Velvet Cake Recipe

Photo of eggs added to creamed shortening and sugar in a glass bowl.

Cream together the shortening and sugar. Then, add the eggs one at a time.

Photo of cocoa powder and red food coloring combined for red velvet cake recipe.

Mix together the cocoa powder and red food coloring in a small bowl.

Overhead photograph of dry ingredients and buttermilk ready to be combined with wet ingredients for red velvet cake.

Add the cocoa powder mixture to the shortening and sugar mixture and mix well. Sift together the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir together the vanilla extract and buttermilk in a measuring cup.

Alternately, mix flour mixture and buttermilk mixture into shortening/sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour.

Photograph of red velvet cake recipe batter evenly distributed in three cake pans.

Distribute the cake batter between the three prepared cake pans. Bake the cake layers for 25-30 minutes, until the cake layers are baked throughout. You can follow my tips for how to tell when your cake is done.

Photo of baked red velvet cake layers ready to cool on wire rack.

Remove the cake pans from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Photograph of three layered red velvet cake with white fluffy frosting in between the layers.

While cooling, prepare the frosting you’ll be using. My family loves to use heritage frosting, but also loves to use my easy cream cheese frosting recipe. Once the cake layers have cooled, spread the frosting on top of each layer as you assemble the cake. Then spread the outside of the cake with frosting.

How to Store Red Velvet Cake

To store. You’ll need to store this cake in the refrigerator due to the frosting used. The cake will store well for up to 5 days.

To freeze. Wrap each cooled cake layer with plastic wrap and store in the freezer up to 3 months. To serve, thaw and frost the cake and serve as normal.

Here’s my Mama’s Red Velvet Cake recipe. I know you’ll love it!

4.80 from 5 votes

Red Velvet Cake Recipe

Dessert 50 mins

Image of red velvet cake with a lit gold candle.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Servings 24
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch
This Red Velvet Cake recipe makes an easy to follow, classic dessert. Red velvet cake is delicious with cream cheese or cooked heritage frosting.

Ingredients  

  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 ounces red food coloring
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 ¼ cups flour all-purpose or cake flour
  • 1 scant teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

We prefer to frost with Heritage Frosting or Cream Cheese Frosting.
from Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers, Desserts Edition, 1963

How to Store Red Velvet Cake

To store. You’ll need to store this cake in the refrigerator due to the frosting used. The cake will store well for up to 5 days.
To freeze. Wrap each cooled cake layer with plastic wrap and store in the freezer up to 3 months. To serve, thaw and frost the cake and serve as normal.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 142kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 78mg | Potassium: 38mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 36IU | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg

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

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

This recipe was originally published on November 7, 2010.

Cake Recipes

Robyn Stone

Robyn Stone is a wife, mom, blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. Welcome to Add a Pinch where I share thousands of delicious, tested and perfected easy recipes that the whole family will love.

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Comments

  1. Hello Robyn, Can I make this in a 9 inch pans? I bought them for your chocolate cake “the best one ever” and it was yummy . Thank you

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