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The Best Red Velvet Cake

Our Red Velvet Cake is the best one I’ve ever tasted. It’s a hybrid recipe taking its inspiration from several versions of this classic southern dessert cake that I’ve tried over the years.

One slice of red velvet cake on a white plate

The Best Red Velvet Cake.

Originally Published June 2012.

In general, I’ve found that the simpler the recipe, the better the cake. This recipe really could not be more simple.

The method is to simply combine the wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately. Then, just bring them together to form a very pourable batter, which produces a very moist cake.

The Best Red Velvet Cake photo of the completed uncut 4 layer cake

The Best Red Velvet Cake.

I’ve seen some recipes that also include an outrageous amount of red food colouring.  I am not particularly fond of using colourings 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. That, of course, with the white of our double cream cheese frosting, the two colours of our national flag.

Stock photo of cream cheese in a foil package.

Block Cream Cheese and not the spreadable tub version is the correct one to use for the frosting.

The correct amount of cocoa.

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.

Use the best quality cocoa powder you can find for this recipe.

Some folks object to this because it produces a more brownish red cake. That doesn’t bother me, I’m all about the flavour.

If this is a concern though, 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!

Pecans for Chocolate Pecan Bars

Toasting the pecans boosts their natural flavour and crunch.

I’ve read from several Southern US 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.


The Best Red Velvet Cake photo of one slice with title text added for Pinterest

The Best Red Velvet Cake.

The Velvet Cake Collection

Update: The success of this recipe set me off on a journey to create other velvet cake recipes using a slightly 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.


The Velvet Cake Collection 10 photo collage with title text for Pinterest
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Photo of uncut Red Velvet Cake with title text added for Pinterest

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One slice of red velvet cake on a white plate
Yield: 16 Servings

The Best Red Velvet Cake

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

The Best Red Velvet Cake. We borrowed the best elements from several other red velvet recipes to create this outstanding recipe with double cream cheese frosting and toasted pecans. Irresistible!


For the cake

  • 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)

For the cream cheese frosting

  • 1½ cups (12 ounces) cream cheese
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 cups icing sugar, A 1 kilo/2 lb bag.
  • 1-3 tbsp milk; enough to bring the frosting to a spreadable consistency


To make the cake

  1. Grease two 9 inch cake pans and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Sift together the flour, cake flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together well, the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla extract.
  4. 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.
  5. Bake at 325 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. 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.
  7. If you are adding the toasted pecans, sprinkle ¼ cup of them over each layer of frosting as you construct the cake.

To make the Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. 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.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

1 slice

Amount Per Serving Calories 558Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 8gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 48mgSodium 439mgCarbohydrates 98gFiber 1gSugar 80gProtein 8g

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Monday 13th of March 2023

I love all Rock recipes .The recipes are very soft .


Friday 4th of October 2019

Hi, I have been asked to make a red velvet cake as part of a wedding cake (only make cake for family), never having eaten one and not really seeing the point of adding red food colouring to a perfectly good chocolate cake, I thought better give it a try. Well thinking about the weather next June and not wanting to use cream cheese frosting I finished it with White chocolate ganache, well it was very easy to make, baked beautifully tasted delicious and everybody including the future couple loved it. Thank you.


Sunday 8th of September 2019

This is an absolutely delicious red velvet cake! Thank you for sharing your great recipes!


Saturday 17th of November 2018

I've also made the lemon, orange, and white velvets here and they are reliable, go to recipes. Always get compliments on them. Thanks! Now I'm considering red velvet... the mother of all velvets. (?)


Monday 12th of March 2018

I've made the red velvet and the lemon velvet and both were delicious and very moist. Fantastic recipe!!!

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