Okay I am SO EXCITED for this one! This red velvet cake is so incredibly soft, full of flavour and is topped with the most delicious cream cheese buttercream.
What exactly is a red velvet cake?!
A red velvet cake is a combination of a vanilla and chocolate cake, with a distinct tangy flavour. This is due to the buttermilk and vinegar (which are common ingredients in a red velvet cake).
Traditionally, red velvet cakes didn’t have any red food colouring, and were a more brownish, reddy colour. This natural red colour was due to the chemical reaction between non-dutched cocoa powder and the acidic ingredients (white vinegar and buttermilk).
Red velvet cake is often paired with cream cheese frosting (which I have done for this cake) or ermine frosting.
How to make red velvet cake
This cake comes together really easily! Just be sure to follow the steps exactly as stated.
Begin by preheating your oven to 160°C fan forced, and grease and/or line two 8 inch cake tins. I like to grease my cake tins with my homemade cake release.
For the cake batter, start off by sifting together your dry ingredients. By premixing our dry ingredients, it helps ensure that everything is mixed well, preventing us from overmixing our batter when we come to combining our wet and dry ingredients.
Set your dry ingredients aside and in another bowl cream together your butter, oil and sugar for 2-3 minutes. This is going to incorporate air into our batter which will give us a fluffier cake!
Next add in your eggs one by one, mixing well in between each addition. Eggs add structure and moisture to our cake.
Next add in the vanilla, white vinegar and red liquid food colouring and mix until well combined.
Now the last step is to fold in our dry ingredients while alternating with our buttermilk. So to do this, add in half of your dry ingredients and fold it into the wet mixture until just combined. Then add in your buttermilk, and fold that through until just combined. Lastly, add in your remaining dry ingredients and fold through until just combined.
It’s important to do this step by hand as this will prevent us from overmixing our batter and developing too much gluten. Gluten is what gives bread great structure, and although we want SOME structure for cakes, we don’t want too much otherwise it’ll make our cake tough and dense.
Once the batter is done, evenly distribute it into the two 8 inch cake tins and cook for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cakes to completely cool before frosting.
How to decorate your cake
There’s no particular way to decorate a red velvet cake, but here’s how I did mine using my cream cheese frosting recipe 🙂
Now usually I would trim (or torte) the tops of my cake layers to make them flat, but these red velvet layers bake up really nice and flat so no trimming was required. So I went ahead and added a generous amount of frosting to my first cake layer and smoothed it out with my offset spatula. I then placed the next cake layer on top.
I then placed some frosting on my top cake layer and spread it out with my offset spatula. I then used the excess frosting on the sides to cover the entire cake. I only did a thin layer of frosting and didn’t worry about a crumb coat because I was piping rosettes all around the cake. If you also want to pipe rosettes, then you will need to make 1.5x my cream cheese frosting recipe to ensure you have enough frosting.
Once your cake is decorated, pop it into the fridge to allow everything to firm up. This will make it easier to cut. We don’t want cold cake though, so bring it out of the fridge about an hour or so before it’s going to be cut. If it’s still cold when you cut through it, then let it come to room temperature before eating. Trust me, it is worth the wait 😀
Soft Red Velvet Cake
IMPORTANT: For accuracy, I would recommend using the gram measurements provided as those are the exact quantities I use. Cup measurements are given as estimates (based on US cup measurements) to make it easier for those who do not have a scale.
Red Velvet Cake
- 2¼ cups (275 g) flour - regular all purpose (see note 3 if you want to use cake flour)
- 3 tbsp (18 g) cornflour - also known as cornstarch
- 3 tbsp (14 g) cocoa powder - unsweetened
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt - omit if using salted butter
- 6 tbsp (86 g) unsalted butter - room temperature
- ¾ cup (141 g) unflavoured vegetable oil - I use canola
- 1¾ cups (344 g) white granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs - room temperature
- 1 tbsp (12 g) vanilla essence/extract
- 1½ tsp white vinegar
- 3½ tbsp (38 g) red liquid food colouring
- ¾ cup (158 g) buttermilk - room temperature
Cream Cheese Buttercream
- 1 batch of my cream cheese buttercream frosting recipe - see note 4 if piping rosettes around the cake like I have
- Preheat oven to 160 °C (320°F) with the fan on (see note 7 if you don't have a fan function) and grease and/or line two 8 inch cake tins (I use my homemade cake release).
- In a bowl, sift together your flour, cornflour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Using a whisk or fork, mix until well combined. Set aside.
- In another bowl, add in your butter, vegetable oil and sugar. Using an electric mixer (hand or stand mixer are both fine - see note 6), cream together for 2-3 minutes until light and creamy.
- Add in eggs one by one, mixing well in between each addition (about 10-15 seconds between eggs).
- Add in your vanilla, vinegar and red liquid food colour, and mix until well combined. Now set your mixer aside as the remainder of the batter will be finished by hand.
- Finish off by adding in half of your premixed dry ingredients to your wet mixture, and gently fold it in with a spatula until just combined. Then add in all of your buttermilk, and fold it in until just combined. Lastly, add in the remaining dry ingredients and gently fold it into the mixture until just combined. Do not overmix (see note 1).
- Distribute the batter evenly into the two 8 inch cake tins, and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Be careful not to open the oven door too early otherwise this can cause the cake layers to sink (see note 2). Also avoid overbaking the cake layers otherwise they will dry out.
- Once baked, allow them to cool in the cake tins for about 15-20 minutes, and then turn them out onto a wire rack to completely cool before frosting with my cream cheese buttercream frosting. For tips on how to frost your cake, check out the blog post above where I walk you through how I decorated mine with pictures, or watch my YouTube video below 🙂
Nutritional information are estimates only as they are automatically calculated by a third party application. Actual values may differ based on brands and types of products used.