Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake (and cream cheese frosting)


  • ½ c. butter, room temp, plus 2 tablespoons to prepare pans
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa powder, divided
  • 1 ½ c. granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. red food coloring
  • 1 t. sea salt
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 2 ½ c. flour, sifted
  • 1 c. whole buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar


  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by buttering lightly and sprinkling with 1 tablespoon sifted cocoa powder, tapping pans to coat and discarding extra cocoa.
  • Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time and beat vigorously until each is incorporated. Mix in vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl, make a paste of the remaining 2 tablespoons cocoa and the food coloring. Blend into butter mixture.
  • Sift together remaining dry ingredients. Alternating in 2 batches each, add dry ingredients and buttermilk to the butter mixture. In the last batch of buttermilk, mix in the vinegar before adding to the batter. Mix until blended.
  • Divide batter among 2 pans and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Cool on a rack completely.
  • To assemble, trim the top of both cakes so they’re flat. Chill for 20 minutes in the freezer, so the cake doesn’t crumble while you are frosting it. Crumble the leftover parts of the cake to sprinkle on top later. After you’ve frosted the cakes together, chill again for 15 minutes in the freezer, or for about an hour in the fridge, so the frosting is set. Sprinkle with the crumbled cake leftovers.

Cream cheese frosting


  • 16 oz. cream cheese, room temp
  • ¾ c. (1 ½ sticks) butter, room temp
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 t. sea salt
  • 2 ½ c. powdered sugar


  • *Whisk together cream cheese and butter on high speed until light and airy, about 3 minutes. Switch to a beater and beat in vanilla and sea salt. On low speed, gradually beat in powdered sugar until silky and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Once you have frosted the cake, chill about 30 minutes so the frosting can set.

*I did this in a KitchenAid mixer. If you don’t want to manually whisk the butter and cream cheese by hand, just beat it with a hand-held mixer. It will still turn out nicely, just won’t be as fluffy. 

The journey to this recipe

Day late post! Whatever! It’s spring break, right? I’m visiting my sister and my brother-in-law and their birthdays are coming up, so we celebrated and they requested red velvet cake. I mostly used the New York Times recipe. I didn’t really experiment on this cake that much because I was making it for the first time and it was like, for other people and I didn’t wanna do something crazy to ruin it. I did use my own cream cheese frosting recipe, because all of the other cream cheese frostings are too sugary. I was really happy with how the cake ended up looking, because I’m pretty bad at frosting. I used sea salt instead of regular (of course) and it’s especially good in the frosting, where it adds a little sweet and savory. I also whisked the butter and sugar instead of beating it at the beginning. I feel like it adds more air into the butter and sugar, but it might not make much of a difference. Enjoy!

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