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    Soft Red Velvet Cake

    Okay I am SO EXCITED to finally be sharing my red velvet cake recipe! This red velvet cake is so incredibly soft, full of flavor and is topped with the most delicious cream cheese buttercream. It has a super velvety texture and slightly tart, yet sweet and creamy frosting – making it the best red velvet cake recipe I’ve tried!

    Red velvet cake recipe

    What exactly is a red velvet cake?!

    A red velvet cake is a combination of a vanilla and chocolate cake, with a distinct tangy taste. 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 coloring, 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.

    Cream cheese frosting piping

    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 pans (I like to use my homemade cake release). If your oven doesn’t have a fan option, then you will need to increase the baking temperature to 175°C/350°F.

    Red Velvet Cake

    For the cake batter, start off by sifting together flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 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 ingredients with the dry, later on in the recipe.

    Red velvet cake steps

    Set your dry ingredients aside and in another bowl cream together butter, oil and sugar with a hand mixer (or stand mixer) for 2-3 minutes on a medium-high speed. This is going to incorporate air into our batter, which will give us a fluffier cake!

    Red velvet cake steps

    Next add in eggs one by one, mixing well in between each addition. Eggs add structure and moisture to our cake.

    Red velvet cake steps

    Next add in vanilla extract or essence, white vinegar and red liquid food coloring and mix until well combined.

    Red velvet cake steps

    Now the last step is to fold in our dry ingredients while alternating with 3/4s of a cup buttermilk. So to do this, add in half of your flour mixture 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.

    Red velvet cake steps

    Red velvet cake steps

    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 cool in the cake tins for 20 minutes, before turning them out onto a cooling rack. Allow to completely cool before frosting.

    Red Velvet Cake

    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 with a serrated knife 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.

    Red velvet cake decorating

    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.

    Red velvet cake decorating

    I then used a 1M piping tip to pipe rosettes all around the cake! If you’re new to piping check out my beginner’s piping tutorial or 1M piping tip tutorial.

    Red velvet cake decorating

    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 😀

    Commonly Asked Questions

    Can I use gel food coloring instead of liquid color for this recipe?

    Yes, you can use gel food coloring in replacement of liquid coloring, however you will need to dilute the gel colour with just under 3 1/2 tablespoons of water or milk to make up for the liquid lost when using gel colors. This recipe requires 3 1/2 tablespoons of liquid colour, however if using gel colours you won’t need that much as gel colours are concentrated. Additional liquid helps to thin out the batter and results in a fluffier, more velvety texture in your final cake.

    Can I use this recipe to make red velvet cupcakes?

    For a cupcake version of this cake, check out my red velvet cupcake recipe. It’s basically a smaller quantity of this recipe – just enough to make 12 cupcakes!

    Can I use a buttermilk substitute?

    A buttermilk substitute will work fine for this recipe. Check out how to make your own buttermilk substitute here.

     

    Red velvet cake recipe

    Soft Red Velvet Cake

    This red velvet cake is so super soft, moist and full of flavour! Frosted with a creamy, tart cream cheese frosting, you'll be waiting for the chance to bake it again!
    4.98 from 148 votes
    Print Pin Rate Watch Video
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes
    Cooling Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
    Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
    Servings: 12 servings

    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.

    Ingredients
     

    Red Velvet Cake

    • 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
    • cups (344 g) white granulated sugar
    • 3 large eggs - room temperature
    • 1 tbsp (12 g) vanilla essence/extract
    • tsp white vinegar
    • tbsp (38 g) red liquid food colouring
    • ¾ cup (158 g) buttermilk - room temperature

    Cream Cheese Buttercream

    Instructions

    • 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 🙂

    Video

    YouTube video

    Notes

    Note 1. By gently folding in the ingredients, it prevents too much gluten from forming, thus giving us a softer cake. Only mix until the strands of flour have disappeared and the batter is uniform. 
    Note 2. Opening the oven door too early and allowing cold air to rush into the oven can cause cakes to collapse if the structure hasn't set yet. If your oven runs hot and you want to check your cake layers earlier than the stated cooking time, then allow at least 3/4s of the cooking time to pass before checking the cake layers. 
    Note 3. You can use cake flour in replacement of the all purpose flour and cornstarch in this recipe (293g total required). 
    Note 4. If you're doing a lot of additional piping like I did with my red velvet cake, then make 1.5x my cream cheese frosting recipe to ensure you have enough frosting. Otherwise, 1 batch will be enough. 
    Note 5. 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 you cut into the cake and it's cold, just let it come to room temperature for about half an hour before eating. 
    Note 6. If using a stand mixer, then use the paddle attachment for the initial mixing, but continue to do the last step by hand as stated in the recipe. 
    Note 7. In this recipe I use an oven with the fan function turned on. The fan forced function cooks cakes/cupcakes faster, so if your oven doesn't have a fan option, then you will need to increase the baking temperature to 175°C (347°F) so that the cake/cupcake bakes at the same rate as mine 🙂

    Nutrition

    Calories: 429kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 217mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 271IU | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2mg

    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.

    Keyword: cream cheese frosting, red velvet cake, soft red velvet cake
    Tried this recipe?I love hearing from you! Tag me @cakesbymk.nz on instagram so I can see your amazing creations 🙂

     

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    365 Comments

    • Shanza

      5 stars
      I made this for my brother because he loves red velvet and man, when Maryem says this is best red velvet cake recipe, she WAS NOT exaggerating! My whole family said this was the best red velvet cake they had ever eaten! It was so soft, the icing was just perfect and omg just so good! Maryem has become my go-to for cake recipes! Thanks so much for all you do!

      • Cakes by MK

        Aww yay! Thank you so much for the wonderful feedback Shanza 😀
        So so happy to hear you and your family loved the red velvet cake recipe 🙂

    • Victor

      Hi there,
      Thank you for the recipe. I tried it out and the cake turned out to be delicious. However, it turned brown instead of the expected color. What food coloring would you recommend?

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi Victor 🙂 So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe!
        In terms of the color, it could be due to the type of cocoa used. Double check that your cocoa powder isn’t a Dutch processed cocoa powder as it can make the cake batter darker – instead opt for a natural cocoa powder for red velvet cake specifically. In case it isn’t the cocoa powder, then it could be the coloring. I use Queen Pillar Box red liquid food coloring and it works really well 🙂
        Hope that helps!

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    About me

    Welcome to my blog! My name is Maryam and I LOVE baking! :) I hope to provide you with the tools (i.e. simple, from-scratch, quality tested recipes), so that you can confidently bake up delicious treats to share with your family and friends!

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