Red Velvet Cake

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Delicious, easy, moist red velvet layer cake that is totally irresistible and perfect baked in a heart pan for Valentines Day!

red velvet cake with a fork in it
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A red velvet cake, perfectly baked with a delightful slice taken out.

Valentines Red Velvet Cake

Valentine’s Red Velvet Cake is the perfect romantic dessert – a classic choice to celebrate love and affection during Valentine’s Day, especially baked in a heart shaped pan!

This cake stands out with its vibrant red color, symbolizing passion and love, making it an ideal centerpiece for a Valentine’s celebration. Red Velvet cake is incredibly moist and tender, achieved by the careful balance of buttermilk and a hint of cocoa, which gives it a subtle chocolatey undertone.

Plus, the cream cheese frosting. This frosting is rich, creamy, and slightly tangy, balancing the sweetness of the cake with its luxurious texture. The cream cheese frosting complements the light cocoa flavor of the cake, creating a harmonious blend that is both indulgent and comforting!

If you love gorgeous easy desserts that pack a punch, this cake is for you!

A delectable red velvet cake on a plate with a fork.

How to Make Red Velvet Cake

To make this recipe, we will need the following ingredients:

For the Cake:

  1. All-Purpose Flour (2 1/2 cups): The main dry ingredient in the cake, providing structure and texture.
  2. Granulated Sugar (1 1/2 cups): Adds sweetness to the cake, contributing to its flavor and tenderness.
  3. Baking Powder (1 teaspoon) and Baking Soda (1 teaspoon): Leavening agents that help the cake rise and become light and fluffy.
  4. Cocoa Powder (1 teaspoon): Although a small amount, it contributes to the cake’s characteristic hint of cocoa flavor and helps deepen the red color.
  5. Salt (1 teaspoon): Enhances the overall flavor by balancing the sweetness and other ingredients.
  6. Vegetable Oil (1 1/2 cups): Provides moisture to the cake, resulting in a moist and tender texture.
  7. Buttermilk (1 cup): Adds moisture, flavor, and a slight tanginess to the cake. It also reacts with the leavening agents for proper rise.
  8. Eggs (2 large): Bind the ingredients together, add structure, and contribute to the cake’s texture.
  9. Red Food Coloring (2 tablespoons): Gives the cake its signature red color. You can adjust the amount for your desired shade.
  10. White Vinegar (1 teaspoon): Reacts with the baking soda to aid in the cake’s rise and contributes to its texture.
  11. Vanilla Extract (1 teaspoon): Enhances the overall flavor with a pleasant, aromatic vanilla note.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. Cream Cheese (8 oz): The primary ingredient for the frosting, it provides a rich, tangy, and creamy base.
  2. Unsalted Butter (1/2 cup): Adds a buttery flavor and helps create a smooth and spreadable frosting.
  3. Powdered Sugar (4 cups): Sweetens and thickens the frosting, giving it the right consistency and sweetness.
  4. Vanilla Extract (1 teaspoon): Enhances the flavor profile of the frosting with a hint of vanilla.

Optional Garnish:

  • Crumbled Red Velvet Cake Crumbs: These can be used for decoration, adding a delightful visual and textural element to the cake.
  • Fresh Berries: Berries such as strawberries or raspberries can be used as a decorative and fruity topping.
  • Chocolate Shavings: Adds a touch of chocolate flavor and a visually appealing element to the cake’s presentation.

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following process:

For the Cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar and vegetable oil, and mix until well combined.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  5. Stir in the buttermilk, red food coloring, white vinegar, and vanilla extract until the mixture is smooth.
  6. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until the batter is smooth and well combined.
  7. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
  9. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then remove them from the pans and let them cool completely on a wire rack.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, and beat until well combined and the frosting is smooth.

Assembling the Cake:

  1. Once the cakes are completely cooled, place one layer on a serving plate or cake stand.
  2. Spread a layer of cream cheese frosting on top of the first cake layer.
  3. Place the second cake layer on top and frost the top and sides of the entire cake with the remaining cream cheese frosting.
  4. Optionally, decorate the cake with crumbled red velvet cake crumbs, fresh berries, or chocolate shavings.
  5. Slice and enjoy your homemade Red Velvet Cake!
A slice of red velvet cake on a plate.

Tips and Tricks to Perfect Red Velvet Cake

Use High-Quality Ingredients: Start with fresh and high-quality ingredients for the best flavor and texture.

Properly Measure Your Ingredients: Use proper measuring cups and spoons to ensure accurate measurements, especially for flour and cocoa powder.

Room Temperature Ingredients: Make sure your eggs and buttermilk are at room temperature. Room temperature ingredients blend together more smoothly.

Sift Dry Ingredients: Sift the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder) to remove lumps and ensure even distribution.

Adjust Food Coloring: Adjust the amount of red food coloring to achieve your desired shade of red. Gel food coloring often provides more vibrant results.

Mix Gently:

  • Mix the batter until just combined. Overmixing can lead to a dense cake.

Use Buttermilk: Buttermilk not only adds flavor but also helps with the cake’s rise and texture.

Add Vinegar and Baking Soda: The vinegar and baking soda react to create bubbles, which help the cake rise. This reaction also contributes to the cake’s characteristic texture and color.

Preheat Your Oven: Ensure your oven is fully preheated to the correct temperature before placing the cake inside.

Properly Grease and Flour Pans: Grease and flour your cake pans or use parchment paper to prevent sticking.

Evenly Divide Batter: Divide the cake batter evenly between the pans to ensure even baking and uniform layers.

Rotate Pans: If necessary, rotate your cake pans halfway through baking to ensure even cooking.

Cool Completely: Allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting to prevent the frosting from melting.

Cream Cheese Frosting: Use real cream cheese and unsalted butter for the frosting. Beat them together until creamy, and gradually add powdered sugar to reach the desired consistency.

Crumb Coat: Apply a thin layer of frosting (crumb coat) to the cake before the final frosting layer. This helps trap cake crumbs and results in a neater appearance.

Decorate Creatively: Be creative with decorations. You can use crumbled cake crumbs, fresh berries, or chocolate shavings to garnish your cake.

Chill the Cake: Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour after frosting to allow the frosting to set and make it easier to slice.

Slice with a Warm Knife: Dip a sharp knife in hot water before slicing for clean and smooth cake slices.

FAQs

Can I use natural cocoa powder instead of Dutch-processed cocoa?

Yes, you can use natural cocoa powder, but it may result in a slightly different color and flavor compared to using Dutch-processed cocoa. Dutch-processed cocoa is preferred for its milder flavor and darker color.

Can I substitute butter for vegetable oil in the cake batter?

While butter can be used, vegetable oil is preferred in red velvet cake for its ability to keep the cake moist. If you choose to use butter, it’s recommended to use melted and cooled butter as a substitute.

Can I make the cake without red food coloring?

Red food coloring is what gives red velvet cake its signature color. While it is possible to make the cake without it, it won’t have the classic red appearance. You can try natural alternatives like beet juice for a reddish hue.

Can I freeze the cake layers before frosting them?

Yes, you can freeze the cake layers before frosting. Wrap each layer in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil, and they can be frozen for up to a month. Thaw them in the refrigerator before frosting.

What is the purpose of vinegar in the recipe?

The vinegar reacts with the baking soda to create bubbles, which help the cake rise and become light and fluffy. It also contributes to the cake’s unique texture and color.

Can I use store-bought cream cheese frosting?

Yes, you can use store-bought cream cheese frosting if you’re short on time. However, homemade cream cheese frosting is often preferred for its fresh flavor and texture.

How can I make the cake layers level and even?

To make the cake layers level and even, you can use a cake leveler or a serrated knife to trim any domed tops before frosting. This ensures a more professional appearance.

Can I make cupcakes instead of a cake with this recipe?

Yes, you can use the same batter to make cupcakes. Adjust the baking time to around 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.

Can I reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe?

Reducing sugar can affect the texture and moisture of the cake. It’s best to follow the recipe for the desired results. If you need a lower-sugar option, you can explore alternative recipes designed for that purpose.

Can I make the cake eggless or vegan?

Yes, there are eggless and vegan versions of red velvet cake recipes available that use egg substitutes like flaxseed meal, applesauce, or mashed banana.

A delectable slice of red velvet cake placed elegantly on a plate.

What to Serve With Red Velvet Cake

Lobster and pasta: Red Velvet Cake makes for a perfect romantic dessert for Valentine’s dishes like broiled lobster tails, or Lobster Pasta alla Busara!

Cream Cheese Frosting: Since Red Velvet Cake is typically frosted with cream cheese frosting, it’s a perfect match. Serve extra frosting on the side for those who want more.

Fresh Berries: A side of fresh strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries adds a burst of color, freshness, and a fruity contrast to the cake’s richness.

Whipped Cream: A dollop of freshly whipped cream, perhaps lightly sweetened and flavored with vanilla, complements the cake’s sweetness.

Ice Cream: Vanilla ice cream or a cream cheese-flavored ice cream makes for a delightful combination. You can also try other ice cream flavors that pair well with the cake.

Chocolate Sauce: A drizzle of warm chocolate sauce or ganache over the cake adds a luxurious touch and a chocolatey contrast.

Coffee or Tea: A cup of coffee or a nice pot of tea, whether black, herbal, or flavored, makes for a pleasant beverage to enjoy with your cake.

Milk: Classic and comforting, a glass of cold milk pairs perfectly with the sweetness of Red Velvet Cake.

Champagne or Sparkling Wine: If you’re celebrating a special occasion, consider serving a glass of champagne or sparkling wine for an elegant touch.

Nuts: Chopped nuts, such as pecans or walnuts, can be sprinkled on top of the frosting or used as a garnish for added texture and flavor.

Fruit Compote: A homemade fruit compote made with berries or stone fruits can be spooned over individual slices for a fruity twist.

Caramel Sauce: Drizzle warm caramel sauce over the cake for a rich and indulgent treat.

Edible Flowers: Garnish the cake with edible flowers for a visually stunning presentation.

Lemon Curd: A dollop of lemon curd can provide a zesty contrast to the cake’s sweetness.

Fresh Mint Leaves: A few fresh mint leaves on the plate add a touch of green and a hint of herbal freshness.

Try these other Valentine’s Day Treats next:

A red velvet heart shaped cake on a plate with a fork.

Red Velvet Cake Recipe

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Red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting is a classic dessert that is perfect for any occasion. The rich and velvety texture of the cake pairs perfectly with the smooth and tangy cream cheese frosting.

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A red velvet cake in the shape of a heart on a white plate.

Red Velvet Cake

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Red velvet cake, with its distinct deep red or crimson color and velvety texture, is elegantly complemented by the rich and creamy tang of cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 oz (1 package) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (confectioners' sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

    For the Cake:

    1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
    2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
    3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar and vegetable oil, and mix until well combined.
    4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
    5. Stir in the buttermilk, red food coloring, white vinegar, and vanilla extract until the mixture is smooth.
    6. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until the batter is smooth and well combined.
    7. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
    8. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
    9. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then remove them from the pans and let them cool completely on a wire rack.

    For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

    1. In a mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy.
    2. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, and beat until well combined and the frosting is smooth.

    Assembling the Cake:

    1. Once the cakes are completely cooled, place one layer on a serving plate or cake stand.
    2. Spread a layer of cream cheese frosting on top of the first cake layer.
    3. Place the second cake layer on top and frost the top and sides of the entire cake with the remaining cream cheese frosting.
    4. Optionally, decorate the cake with crumbled red velvet cake crumbs, fresh berries, or chocolate shavings.
    5. Slice and enjoy your homemade Red Velvet Cake!

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    Nutrition Information
    Yield 8 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 367Total Fat 25gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 21gCholesterol 40mgSodium 410mgCarbohydrates 58gFiber 1gSugar 93gProtein 13g

    Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.

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    About Courtney

    Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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