This is the best red velvet cake recipe to become your go-to recipe, and I promise you that. I have tried many red velvet cake recipes before. Most of them were dry, others didn’t have much flavor, and some must be soaked in simple syrup, but today you will get to bake the best red velvet cake ever.
You will get a cake that stays moist for days, has a fantastic flavor, and tastes even better the next day. This cake also has the perfect balance between vanilla and cocoa, melts in your mouth, and learning how to make a delicious dreamy creamy smooth cream cheese frosting, plus many tips to make this cake a hit every time you bake it, then please keep on reading!
For years I underestimated this cake. I looked at the ingredients and couldn’t find anything that makes it unique.
My trip to the USA made me look at this cake differently! The first red velvet cake I tried was delicious but crumbly and dry. The second was soaked with simple syrup and had a tangy aftertaste. I knew that making this cake was a challenge! After having my fair share of failed red velvet cakes, I finally came up with the perfect recipe.
🥘 INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED
All purpose-flour: You can use cake flour if you wish, but all-purpose did a great job and resulted in tender crumbs.
Sour cream: The secret ingredients for making a moist cake.
Butter and oil: I have added both fats to give the buttery flavor but help the cake stay moist even when refrigerated.
Unsweetened cocoa powder: Use a good quality since its flavor will have a big role in this recipe.
Food coloring: Make sure that the food coloring results in a bright red color, some red food coloring turns orange, so pick a good brand.
🔪 HOW TO MAKE
You will be surprised how simple it is to make a delicious and moist red velvet cake, so here is how!
The full instructions are in the recipe card below, but let's look at the main steps to make this dish.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, and cornstarch two to three times.
Mix the milk with sour cream and food coloring and keep it aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter with oil, add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla, and beat until the mixture is lighter in color.
Pour the milk and sour cream mixture into the previous butter and egg mixture and beat for one minute.
Gradually add the flour mixture and mix gently for not more than 7 seconds.
Pour an equal amount of the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 27 minutes. Depending on your oven.
Place the cake on a cooling rack while still in the pan; after 9 minutes, remove it from the pan and place it over the cooling rack to cool completely.
🔪 HOW TO MAKE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
In a bowl, beat the butter until light in color. Add the sifted confectioner’s sugar and beat until combined.
Add the cold cream cheese to the previous mixture and beat. The cream cheese frosting should be smooth but firm enough to frost the cake.
💭 COOKING TIPS
- Have the ingredients at room temperature to avoid big air pockets in the cake. The ingredients come together quickly, and the batter bakes evenly when the ingredients are at room temperature.
- Don’t melt the butter. It should be soft, and you can leave an imprint when you press the butter down gently with your finger. We will beat the butter with oil for a few minutes. Beating a soft, not melted butter will add more air to the batter, and that’s what we want.
- Don’t skip sifting the dry ingredients. You should sift the dry ingredients twice, even better if you do it thrice. It makes a huge difference because you mix dry ingredients with different textures; when the all-purpose flour is heavy, the cocoa powder and cornstarch are much lighter and blend well with the flour.
- To bring cold eggs to room temperature, place them in a bowl full of warm water for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Check the expiry date of the baking powder and baking soda.
- When adding and mixing the food color, keep the bowl away from you, or you might stain your cloth. (This is from personal experience)!
- Suppose you want to use gel food coloring, then use two teaspoons. Gel food coloring is more concentrated than liquid.
- Make sure the oven is preheated. Ovens take 20 minutes to reach the desired temperature.
- Use natural unsweetened cocoa powder instead of Dutch cocoa powder. The natural cocoa powder will react with baking soda to help the cake rise, while the Dutch-process cocoa won’t.
- Don’t use bleached all-purpose flour.
- The recipe calls for 4 large eggs, around 224 gm; if you have small or medium eggs, stick with the weight measurement.
- Do not open the oven door until 20 minutes have passed from the baking time. All the ingredients in this recipe work together to do two things. 1- To make the cake rise gently 2- Create tender, soft crumbs. There is a fair amount of fat in the butter, oil, and sour cream, plus other combined ingredients that raise the cake, like baking powder, baking soda, and eggs. You don’t want to disturb this process by introducing cold air to the batter by opening the oven door early.
- Use measuring cups and spoons. More flour will result in a dry cake, and extra butter or oil will give you an oily cake. On a lighter note, I knew a woman who used regular cups and spoons to make a chocolate cake, and it was so delicious I used to ask for it often when I was a kid; now I wonder how did she manage to make that cake while not having proper measuring cups and spoons!
- It is best to use a serrated knife to cut the cake layers.
- The butter should be soft but not melting when making the cream cheese frosting. You can press it with your finger gently and leave an imprint.
- Cold cream cheese makes good cream cheese frosting. Cut the cream cheese into medium size cubes.
- Sift the confectioner’s sugar to get a smooth frosting.
💬 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Omit the white vinegar. A long time ago, when it was either difficult or expensive to get eggs, many turned to vinegar to replace eggs. Baking soda and vinegar combined help the cake rise. So, I went ahead and omitted the vinegar because I have eggs, so why use it, I thought!
Omit buttermilk. I have replaced it with sour cream since it is rich, makes any cake moist, and has a less tangy flavor, but reacts the same with baking soda as buttermilk.
Added oil. There is butter in this recipe, but I had to add oil to help the red velvet cake stays moist for a longer time.
Cornstarch is another addition that gave this cake tender crumbs and a light texture. You can use cake flour instead but believe me, using all purpose-flour plus cornstarch makes a lot of difference.
The original recipe has no food coloring, not even beetroot juice. It looked like a chocolate cake with less chocolate, so it was a chocolate cake! Then came the addition of beetroot juice, and with time came the artificial food coloring for a brighter and more intense red color.
🍲 MORE CAKE RECIPES YOU'LL LOVE
This cake is heaven because:
- It has tender crumbs, thanks to the sour cream. Butter enhances the cake’s flavor but doesn’t help keep it moist, so I’ve added another fat to this recipe. The oil will keep the cake moist even after refrigeration.
- Delicious buttery flavor.
- The superb texture allows it to store well in the freezer and cool over the counter. (Storing will be covered in the section below).
- Tastes incredible with fluffy cream cheese frosting.
- The batter can make cupcakes. (How to make red velvet cupcakes below).
It is better to freeze the cake than to refrigerate it. The fridge dries the cake, but if you have to, then please follow the steps mentioned below:
Unfrosted cakes and cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at the kitchen counter at a cold temperature for two days.
Frosted cakes and cupcakes can be left in a cool place for up to 4 hours.
To refrigerate unfrosted cakes and cupcakes, wrap them with plastic wrap, place them in a Ziploc bag or plastic container, and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
To refrigerate frosted cakes and cupcakes, place them in the fridge for 15 minutes; this will allow the frosting to firm. Wrap them with plastic wrap, place them in a Ziploc bag, and refrigerate them for up to 3 days.
You can freeze frosted and unfrosted cakes and cupcakes by wrapping them with plastic wrap and then placing them in a Ziploc bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. To thaw the frosted and unfrosted cake, put them in the fridge overnight while still wrapped. Place them later on a kitchen counter for a few minutes and then serve.
If you don’t have a Ziplock bag or a container big enough for your cake, then wrap it twice with wax or parchment paper, cover it with aluminum foil, ensure the wrap is tight, and then freeze.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
If you plan to frost the cakes the next day, place the cream cheese frosting in a plastic container and refrigerate. It can stay in the fridge for up to 3 days. To use refrigerated frosting, put it on the kitchen counter for a few minutes and then give it a quick whisk/beat and use it to frost the cake.
The cream cheese frosting freezes well. Put the cream cheese frosting in an airtight container and place it in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw the frozen frosting, place it in the fridge overnight or for 7 hours. Beat it for a few seconds until smooth, and use it to frost your cake.
Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
FOR THE CAKE
- 2 ½ cup + 2 tablespoon all purpose-flour
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoon corn starch
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoon red food coloring
- 4 large eggs
- ¾ cup milk
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoon softened butter
FOR THE FROSTING
- ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 cup sifted confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup cream cheese
FOR MAKING THE CAKE BATTER
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Grease and line two 8” baking pan with parchment paper.
- Mix milk with sour cream and food coloring, Keep aside.
- Sift twice or thrice the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt. Keep aside.
- In a bowl, beat the butter for three minutes, then add the oil and beat for two more minutes until well combined and lighter in color. Add the sugar and beat until creamy, now add the eggs, then add the vanilla, beat well for three to four minutes.
- Add the milk and sour cream mixture to the previous mixture and beat for a minute. Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix gently for a few seconds using a whisk or a hand mixer on low speed (not more than 7 seconds.)
- Pour the batter in the previously prepared pans and bake for 27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. (When you test if the cake is baked, the toothpick might come out red, that’s normal. If the toothpick doesn’t have a batter on it, the cake is ready.)
- Place the cake while in the pan over a cooling rack for 9 minutes. Remove cake from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
MAKING THE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- Beat the butter until light and creamy.
- Add the confectioner's sugar and vanilla. Beat for 3 minutes on medium-high.
- Now add the cream cheese and beat for 3 minutes on medium-high, then beat for one minute on high.
- The frosting is creamy, but you should be able to frost and decorate the cake.