This easy red velvet cake has a tangy cream cheese frosting that will keep you coming back bite after bite. It’s super chocolately and absolutely addicting!
Who doesn’t love a good red velvet cake recipe? Especially an easy and CHOCOLATEY red velvet cake recipe!
Because did you guys know that a red velvet cake is more than just the added red food coloring? There also chocolate in there! And in my opinion there should enough chocolate in there to actually taste it.
The cake is — I’m gonna say it — moist, delicious, and chocolatey! Finally, an easy and chocolatey red velvet cake where you can actually taste the chocolate.
And omg, I haven’t even said a word about the cream cheese frosting!
I love this cream cheese frosting because it is the closest I have ever gotten to making it pipe-able. Cream cheese frosting is notorious for not being able to use for decorating because usually it won’t hold its shape.
I tried to pipe this frosting out into a design and it wasn’t perfect, but it was close! So we’re getting there people, we are getting there. It is tangy and sweet in all the right places and balances out the sweet chocolatey flavor of the cake.
Overall this chocolatey and easy red velvet cake is a winner in my book, now all I have to do is figure out how to get that cream cheese frosting to pipe!
What is red velvet cake?
Is red velvet cake just chocolate cake in disguise? I’m so beyond glad you asked. Lemme explain!
A red velvet cake has cocoa and red food coloring in it, but unlike a chocolate cake, it is also classically made with buttermilk and a little bit of white vinegar. The chemical reaction between the buttermilk and the vinegar bring out the redness in the cocoa, and that’s what makes a cake a red velvet cake.
Food coloring is just added to enhance the color, which may be a little more on the browner side without it.
My recipe only calls for two tablespoons (about half of a wilton gel color bottle) of red food coloring, but a lot of recipes call for the whole thing of get that really bright red.
Using so much food coloring is just a little icky for me, and even using this amount is a lot because usually a little color goes along way, but with red you always need a lot of color to get it right.
If you prefer to leave out the food coloring, you totally can. It will not change the taste at all!
What’s in this homemade red velvet cake?
The list of red velvet cake ingredients is simpler than you might think! You’ll need the usual cake ingredients (all-purpose flour, eggs, sugar), plus a few extra special additions like buttermilk, vinegar, red gel food coloring, and cocoa powder.
And the cream cheese frosting for the red velvet cake is made simply with cream cheese (duh), confectioners sugar, vanilla extract, butter, and the teeniest amount of cream or milk.
When making this easy red velvet cake recipe, you *technically* can use a buttermilk substitute (i.e. milk + vinegar or lemon juice) instead of real buttermilk, but for the best taste I recommend getting your hands on legit buttermilk. You need 1 1/2 cups for this recipe, so if you get a small carton of it you shouldn’t wind up with much left over!
How to make red velvet cake from scratch
You guys, I’m not lying when I say this recipe is easy. Literally all you have to do to whip up this homemade red velvet cake is combine the wet and dry ingredients in two separate bowls, and then add the dry ingredients into the wet, along with the buttermilk and vinegar. Seriously, that’s it! I made the cake batter with a stand mixer, but you can also make it with an electric mixer or your two hands and a whisk.
Once the cake batter is done, pour it into two greased 8-inch round cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
While the cake bakes, clean out your mixing bowl and make the cream cheese frosting (basically just dump everything into the mixing bowl and beat until fluffy. I know, so easy right?). Once the cake has completely cooled, frost that bad boy and dive right in.
Tips for the best red velvet cake
- If you don’t have buttermilk, you can easily make your own. Fill up a measuring cup with 1 cup of milk. Take out one tablespoon and replace it with a tablespoon of lemon juice. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Voila! You now have your own buttermilk.
- This cake is best made with dairy, but you can sub in a non-dairy milk of your choice.
- The cream cheese frosting doubles well if you want an extra thick layer.
- You must store this easy red velvet cake in the fridge!
- You can make this cake into three layers with 9-inch baking pans, just make sure you check the cakes after 25 minutes instead of 30 minutes.
Need more cake recipes?
- Apple Cider Layer Cake with Dairy Free Caramel Buttercream
- Strawberry Basil Cake
- Best Vanilla Cake
- One Bowl Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream
- Pull Apart Football Cupcake Cake
- Orange Cardamom Cake with Rose Buttercream
Easy Red Velvet Cake
An easy and chocolatey red velvet cake with a tangy cream cheese frosting that will keep you going in bite after bite!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
- Total Time: 50 min
- Yield: 1 cake, 18 servings 1x
- Category: Cake
- Method: Creaming
- Cuisine: American
For the Cake:
- 2 ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons or ½ oz red gel food coloring
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 3 ½ cups confectioners sugar
- 8 ounces (one bar) cream cheese, softened at room temp
- ½ cup butter, softened, at room temp
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon heavy cream/half n half/ or milk
- Preheat your oven to 350° F and spray two 8” pans with baking spray or line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the oil, sugar, and eggs, and mix on medium speed until light and pale yellow, about 1 minute.
- Add the vanilla extract and food coloring and mix again for 30 seconds.
- Alternate adding the flour mixture with the buttermilk. First add ⅓ the amount of flour to the batter and mix on low- medium speed till combined. Then add in half of the buttermilk. Mix, add in ⅓ more of the flour, mix. Add in the other half of the buttermilk, mix, and then add in the remaining flour mixture. Continuing mixing on low – medium speed until an even batter forms.
- Add in the white vinegar and mix once more about 30 seconds.
- Pour the batter into the pans and check for doneness after 30 mins. The cake is done when it starts coming off the sides of the pan or if a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Meanwhile prepare the cream cheese frosting. (You will need to clean your mixing bowl.)
- In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add the confectioners sugar, butter, and cream cheese, and beat on medium speed till fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and heavy cream and mix again till stiff peaks form.
- When the cake has cooled, fill and frost with the cream cheese icing.
- If you don’t have buttermilk you can easily make your own. Fill up a measuring cup with 1 cup of milk. Take out one tablespoon and replace it with a tablespoon of lemon juice. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Voila! You now have your own buttermilk.
- This cake is best made dairy but you can sub it with a non dairy milk substitution of your choice.
- The cream cheese frosting doubles well if you want an extra thick layer.
- Keep the cake in the fridge!
- You can make this into 3 layers and in 9″ baking pans just make sure you check the cakes after 25 minutes instead of 30 minutes.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 254
- Sugar: 23g
- Fat: 13g
- Saturated Fat: 2g
- Unsaturated Fat: 8g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 34g
- Fiber: 1g
- Protein: 2g
- Cholesterol: 20g
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