Our Red Velvet Cake is a hybrid recipe taking its inspiration from several versions of this classic southern dessert cake that I’ve tried over the years.
In general, I’ve found that the simpler the recipe, the better the cake. This recipe really could not be more simple; it just combines the wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately and then brings them together to form a very pourable batter, which produces a very moist cake.
I’ve seen some recipes that also include an outrageous amount of red food colouring, which I am not particularly fond of using in general. Infrequently , I will for special occasions and this recipe uses a very reasonable 1 1/2 tsp of liquid red food colouring.
The upcoming Canada Day weekend seemed like a good time to feature the red in this cake with the white of our double cream cheese frosting, the two colours of our national flag.
Recipes also vary greatly on the amount of cocoa in a Red Velvet Cake, ranging from only a teaspoon to several tablespoons. I prefer the higher end of the cocoa scale for just a little more chocolate edge to this terrific cake. Some folks object to this because it produces a more brownish red cake.
If this is a concern, you can cut back on the cocoa if you like but do not omit it altogether, the red velvet purists will hunt you down for that crime against cake! I’ve read from several sources that toasted pecans in the frosting between the layers is also a critical component.
I’m going to call it optional but since I really love lightly toasted pecans, I think they add outstanding flavour and a crunchy component that I find irresistible.
Like this The Best Red Velvet Cake recipe?
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2017 Update: The success of this recipe set me off on a journey to create other velvet cake recipes using a different but still simple method for a very soft, tender and moist texture. They have turned out to be the most successful cake recipes of our last 10 years.
The White Velvet and Lemon Velvet cakes in particular have been incredible successes with almost 1 Million page views between them on this website. Find the Velvet Cake Collection here.
- 1¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1¼ cups cake flour
- 1½ cups sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tbsp cocoa
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1½ cups buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ tsp liquid red food coloring
- 1½ teaspoon white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped toasted pecans (optional for garnish)
- 1½ cups (12 ounces) cream cheese
- ¾ cup butter
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 kilo bag of icing sugar (About 8 cups)
- 1-3 tbsp milk; enough to bring the frosting to a spreadable consistency
Grease two 9 inch cake pans and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Sift together the flour, cake flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together well, the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla extract.
Mix in the dry ingredients all at once and blend until smooth. Do not over mix the batter. As soon as it has no lumps in the batter, pour into the two prepared 9 inch cake pans.
Bake at 325 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Turn cakes onto a wire rack, remove the parchment paper and allow to cool completely. When the cake is completely cool, you can cut the two layers into 4 using a sharp serrated bread knife if you like or just have 2 layers in you prefer. I think the four layers helps to get a good ratio of cake to frosting in each bite.
If you are adding the toasted pecans, sprinkle ¼ cup of them over each layer of frosting as you construct the cake.
Mix all the ingredients together and beat well until smooth and fluffy.
The frosting in this recipe does make enough for 4 layers or to frost a 2 layer cake completely on all sides. If you would just like to serve it as a 2 layer with no frosting on the sides, just half the frosting recipe.
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