This red velvet cake is a soft, buttery, and flavorful cake that is just as beautiful as it is delicious. The recipe I am sharing with you today has been handed down in our family through the ages.
This iconic cake can be made from scratch with a few simple steps. Top the cake with a whipped cream cheese frosting and your dessert will look like it came out of a bakery.
14OuncesCream Cheese Philadelphia Cream Cheese Block at Room Temperature
1/2CupUnsalted Butter Room Temperature
1 1/2TeaspoonVanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare two 8" cake pans or three 6" cake pans with shortening and a light dusting of flour or cocoa powder.
Have the ingredients at room temperature before starting this recipe.
Sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside, cake flour, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until the sugar is well dissolved. Approximately 4 minutes.
Continue mixing and add the eggs one at a time, mixing between to blend.
Then add the vegetable oil, vinegar, vanilla, buttermilk, and red food coloring. Continue mixing 1-2 more minutes until smooth.
Finally add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. You might see a few small lumps yet, that is okay. It is best not to over mix the batter.
Divide the cake batter between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Check with a toothpick inserted into the middle at 25 minutes. If it comes out clean, remove the cakes. If not, let them continue baking rechecking them every 5 minutes. It is important not to overbake as the cake will be too dry.
Let cakes rest in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Then slide a knife or offset spatula around the inside of the pans to loosen the cake from the pan and place the cakes on a wire rack.
Easy Cream Cheese Frosting
In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter for 2-3 minutes.
Mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue mixing until fully combined, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. The frosting should be light and smooth.
After the cakes are completely cool, trim off the domes of your cakes to make them flat. Save the cake domes that you cut off to use as decorating crumbs.
Place your first layer on a cake board or large flat plate. Add a large scoop of the cream cheese frosting and spread it onto your cake layer using an offset spatula. I make my frosting about 1/4″ thick between the cake layers. Then place another layer of cake on top.
Spread a thin layer of frosting all over the cake, this will seal in the crumbs. Freeze cake for 20 minutes to harden the crumb coat.
Add the final layer of frosting to the chilled cake.
Add the cake filling crumble to the sides or top of the cake as a decoration.
If you are feeling fancy, add additional frosting decorations such as a few dollops of frosting to the top with a piping bag.
I cut the cake tops flat before stacking and decorating. Save the cake you cut off to crumble and decorate the tops or sides of the cake. This is purely options though. This is an easy recipe to divide into 2 8-inch cake tins. However, you can divide between 3 6-inch bake tins for more height to your final presentation. If you do not own cake tins, no worries, you can bake this in a sheet pan. You will just have something more like cake bars. I have even cut the sheet pan cake into rectangles and stacked those on top of each other with frosting between the layers and that makes a beautiful presentation too.Prepare the cake pans with shortening and a light dusting of flour or cocoa powder. This helps ensure that the cake will come out of the cake tins. The last thing you want is to go through all the work and have the cake stick in the pan. Another great option is to cut a round of parchment paper and place that in the bottom of the cake tin. This too will help reduce the chance of sticking.It is best to have all the ingredients at room temperature before starting the recipe.Sift dry ingredients together to remove any lumps. It also helps create a soft and fluffy cake.Cream the butter and sugar approximately 4 minutes. The sugar will get completely dissolved and the creaming method will incorporate air into the cake batter. This is another way to ensure that the cake has a fine crumb and is light and airy.When mixing the frosting, if it seems a bit too runny, you can always add a bit more powdered sugar. If it is too stiff, add a bit of water ½ teaspoon at a time.When frosting the cake, spread a thin layer of frosting all over the cake. This is called the crumb coat and it seals in all the crumbs, so they don’t get into your final coat of frosting. It is easier to add the final frosting layer if you freeze cake for 20 minutes to harden the crumb coat.It is easiest to add the last coat of frosting using a turntable and an off-set spatula or bench scraper.
Storage and Freezing Cake
It is safe to store leftover cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.This cake will also freeze well in an airtight container up to 4 months. When ready to serve, just thaw before serving if already frosted. If frozen unfrosted, just partially that before frosting the cake.