Red velvet is the movie star of the cake world—rich and unique with a visual flair that attracts every eye in the room. Who knew a simple cream cheese frosting could be so glamorous?
Old-Fashioned Red Velvet Cake
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
- 1½ cups (340 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups (600 grams) granulated sugar
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- ¾ cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1 (1-ounce) bottle red food coloring
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3¾ cups (469 grams) all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (64 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
- 1½ cups whole buttermilk, room temperature
- Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
- Garnish: cake crumbs
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with baking spray with flour. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper, and spray pans again.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sour cream, food coloring, and vanilla, beating to combine.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Divide batter among prepared pans (smoothing tops if necessary).
- Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish with cake crumbs, if desired. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes about 6 cups
- 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 (2-pound) package (910 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon (2.25 grams) kosher salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed until creamy, 4 to 5 minutes. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt, beating until smooth.
To make cake crumbs for garnish, trim a thin layer from the top of each cake layer and pulse in a food processor.
Hi! This says ‘makes one 9” inch cake’ – can you confirm how many layers that is? The picture looks to be 3 layers, but wanted to confirm the recipe. thank you!
Hi Staci! Thank you for reaching out. This cake makes 3 layers as shown in step 1. Happy Baking!
Hi there! Should I use natural unsweetened cocoa powder or dutch processed? Thanks!
Hi Sarah! We recommend natural unsweetened cocoa powder!
i only have hand held mixer. is that ok?
Of course! It takes slightly longer to cream the butter and sugar this way, so just make sure you get to the “light and fluffy” stage before moving on to the next steps. Happy baking!
Too sweet. I recommend half the sugar
I’ve never seen a Red Velvet Cake recipe that uses sour cream and buttermilk. Will give it a try!