I have been a quest to figure out how to make the Perfect Red Velvet Cake. I have to admit that I have made A LOT of red velvet cakes in the process. All of the recipes were good but I was looking for an out-of-this-world recipe. I am picky about my cakes and am determined to create a recipe that will be the only red velvet cake I make in my future.
THIS is the reason I can't fit into my jeans.
There's always January 1st...
I have always been a red velvet cake fan but there are some that are just better than others. I was looking for a deep, rich flavor and a tender, moist crumb with a sweet creamy cream cheese frosting. This Red Velvet Cake recipe is by far the BEST red velvet cake I have ever tried. Now it is time to share it with you!
Since Christmas is one week away (I can't even believe it how quickly it snuck up on us), this is such a beautiful cake to serve on Christmas Eve or Christmas day. The red and white colors are so vibrant and perfectly represent the season.
I am sharing my tips, tricks, and baking advice with you below so you can make the best red velvet cake ever. When making cakes, there is a rhyme and reason to even the order of adding the ingredients. After much testing, this creates the best tasting red velvet cake.
Tips and tricks for making perfect Red Velvet Cake:
- Use a combination of sweet cream Butter and Oil. This is when you get the best of both worlds. Both butter and oil will provide a moist texture to the cake but butter brings the flavor where oil elevates the texture. I have tried using just one of them and found that the best cake is when both butter and oil are used together.
- Use Buttermilk. Buttermilk is one of my favorite ingredients to use in baked goods. It is such a game changer and makes such a difference in the texture of the cake. It is worth it to buy buttermilk (you can use the remaining in my buttermilk pancakes or ricotta pancakes).
- Use Cake Flour. Cake flour has less gluten than all-purpose flour which creates a more tender crumb. You can find cake flour in all grocery stores. I buy it in bulk in grocery stores that sell items in bins (Winco, Sprouts, etc).
- Use a combination of Butter and Cream Cheese in Frosting. A smooth, creamy, and sweet cream cheese frosting is unlike anything else. I love to use a mix of butter and cream cheese as butter brings some richness and the cream cheese adds a subtle tang. Adding powdered sugar is the finishing touch!
- I love to use the USA 8-inch cake pans because the cake comes out beautifully from the pans. You can also find a link to 9-inch pans below. I also use an angled spatula to frost my cakes.
Here are some of my favorite classic cakes on Modern Honey:
Love at First Sight Chocolate Cake -- a moist, rich chocolate cake with chocolate fudge frosting. A 5-star rated cake!
Yellow Birthday Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting -- this cake recipe has a secret ingredient to make the cake light and fluffy with a killer chocolate frosting.
Here are my favorite cake pans to use for this red velvet cake recipe -- USA 9-inch Cake Pans. I couldn't frost a cake without my angled spatula. It is such a huge help and smooths out the frosting.
Happy Baking, my friends! xo
Should I refrigerate the cake once it’s frosted? I have it in an airtight container. Thanks!!! Can’t wait to try it!!!
Hi... can you please let me know what is the one cup measurements that you use.... some Ppl use 240 ml while others use 250ml? Thanks! Also for unsalted butter I need to add .5 teaspoon of salt? Thanks a ton for your reply.
Your cake looks awesome. I’m confused what exactly is on the top of your cake that looks so beautiful. I want to make it for Christmas so if you cook walk me through that I would appreciate it 🙂
When I made this, I got flustered because a couple of things weren't specific enough for me: 1.) If using a standup mixer, is it best to use the whisk or the paddle attachment? 2.) You didn't specify whether or not the (salted) butter that went into the cake was supposed to be softened. 3.) What size "cubes" for the butter? 4.) Approximately how long are you supposed to beat the batter? 5.) You didn't flour the pans, which I thought was a requirement for most cakes. I like for recipes to be specific, as cakes are so easy to ruin if you aren't an experienced baker. I have made my fair share of tough, crusty, and sunken cakes as well as the ones that were half stuck to the pan! I "guessed" my way through this one, changing from the paddle to the whisk, when I saw that the room temperature (which is what many recipes specify), 4 cubes of 2 tablespoon - sized butter chunks (which I guessed at, because if you divide the 8 tablespoons of butter in a stick by the largest denominator, you would have 4, and it would have taken me forever to add one cube at a time if I had cut the butter into the 1/2" size cubes I normally use for making pie crusts or biscuits) were not mixing well into the dry ingredients. I then guessed at a medium-high speed, then stopped mixing when everything was incorporated, even though I worried about not whether or not there was enough air in the batter. I put parchment circles into the bottoms of my greased, but unfloured pans, and I'm thinking it was a good thing because after I cooled the cakes in the pans for the entire time, the edges were sticking hard and fast to the sides of the pan. I looked online and figured out how to "crumb coat" a cake, which kept me from breaking down into tears when the icing started pulling the crumbs all over everything! On the positive side, the cake was moist, the layers had a good texture, and the icing was delicious. I am writing what I did so I'll know next time, but it might help someone else if you add specifics for dummies like me! Thanks!
This is a superbly delicious recipe. I used coconut oil instead and also used Bob's Red Mill 1-1 Gluten Free flour (I have celiac) and it worked great. Nice and fluffy - not too dry.
Hi! What food coloring do you use/would you recommend? I would love to make this for Christmas!
Hi, I'm anxiously waiting to make this cake. I have the standard recipe that my family loves, but it's basic to me. The recipe was given to me by someone that makes awesome red velvet cakes, but I feel she's leaving something out- on purpose- it doesn't have the same flavor. So since you've tried several recipes- as I have- trying to find that special taste, I hope my quest will be over. I wanted to know if I can use vegetables oil instead of canola oil?
Thanks for sharing and answering questions
Hi Trina! Hahaha! I have had that same thing happen to me when I asked for a recipe. So funny! I did try out many red velvet cakes and this was definitely our favorite. You can absolutely use vegetable oil rather than canola oil. Wishing you all the best!
Hi. If I am using the 9" pans instead of 8" pan, do I need to change the amounts in the recipe?
Hi Elisha! Great question! This recipe works for both 8" and 9"inch pans, no problem. I use both! If I use 9-inch cake pans, the baking time may be slightly less since the cake layers are thinner. I hope that helps! -- Melissa
So I’m generally not a huuuge fan of RVC (probably because they tend to be kinda dry, and again they’d never tasted anything extraordinary to me).
Then I tried this, and have made it 3 more times following. It is just the right type of moist - literally melts in one’s mouth. And taste wise, all the combining elements really come through. Nothing overpowering but the subtle hints of this and that make for a comfort treat.
This cake now rivals with what I feel for my Banana bread and chocolate cake!
I have not tried it together with the cream cheese frosting yet, but I have a good feeling about that already..
PS: I made a slight variation each time I made it after the first time ( using part vanilla, part butterscotch essence - in different proportions, and doubling the amount of flavor the recipe calls for. It comes through & through each time.
Another thing I’ve done differently is use 225ml milk and 15ml white vinegar as a substitute for 1c buttermilk since I can’t find actual buttermilk anywhere here.
I would give this recipe a 5 plus star if I could because in addition to it being a success, I love that this recipe was born following many unsatisfactory recipe attempts, coupled with the fact that it has solved a real problem in the world of red velvet cakes!
@modernhoney, the combination of oil and butter is really the deal maker here!
Awww I love to hear that! Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a kind comment. Also, thank you for sharing your great suggestions. I appreciate it! --Melissa
This cake was a huge success! Thank you so much for the recipe. I made it for my goddaughter's first birthday. Made it in 9 inch pans and doubled the recipe for a four-layer cake. It truly was divine and maintained its moistness the next day. Thank you again. Perfection!
Thanks, Bianca, for making my night! I am so glad you loved it. So sweet of you to make it for your goddaughter and I hope she loved it. Thanks so much! -- Melissa
I find layer cakes so fussy to frost. Would this recipe work for a 9X13 pan. Would I alter the time??
Hi Kerri! They are fussier so I completely understand. You can make it in a 9 x 13 pan. Since it is thicker, it will need to bake for a longer period of time. Keep a close eye on it and use a toothpick or cake tester to check the middle of the cake. I hope that helps! -- Melissa
Can you mix the ingredients together without a mixer?
Hi Brandi! You can make it by hand. I haven't tried it yet but make sure to follow the steps and stir the butter into the flour mixture one cube at a time. Thanks so much! --Melissa
I cannot wait to make this for my son's July 4th birthday. I don't have a stand mixer, can I use a hand mixer? Thank you!
Did you use a hand mixer? How did it work out?
Hi Amy! I apologize for the delay in getting back to you. You absolutely can use a hand mixer with this recipe. I hope your son had a great birthday! ---Melissa
Do you use unsalted butter for cake and icing???
Looking forward to making this week ????
Hi Karli! I always have salted butter on hand because it is so versatile so I recipe tested this cake with salted butter. If you want to use unsalted butter, you will want to add a pinch of salt to the frosting to offset the sweetness and add 1/4 teaspoon more salt to the cake. Great question! I will add it to the recipe to help others as well. Thank you! -- Melissa
Do you use unsalted butter in both the cake recipe & the frosting & filling recipe? I was taught that unsalted butter is always used in baking
Hi Therese! I recipe tested this cake with salted butter so if you want to use unsalted butter, you will want to add a pinch of salt to the frosting to offset the sweetness and add 1/4 teaspoon more salt to the cake. Great question! I will add it to the recipe to help others as well. Thank you! -- Melissa
Hi do you have a recipe scaled for 1/2 sheet pan for sheet cake? Thank you ????
Hi Morgan! I haven't made it in a 1/2 sheet pan yet. If you want to try it, just adjust the baking time. It is much thinner so it will cook quickly. I hope that helps! -- Melissa
I just made this for a 1/2 sheet pan 12”x18”.
You have to triple the recipe to get a 16 cup yield.
Thanks, Tina, for letting us know and sharing. I appreciate it!
I am new to baking!
Pls what is cake flour? It's different from the plain flour and self raising flour??
Hi Sera! Cake flour is a finely ground flour that is low in gluten -- around 8% instead of about 11%. It helps to create a beautiful texture in cakes. If you don't have it, you can use all-purpose flour. It will change the texture slightly but still taste amazing.
You can mimic cake flour by replacing one tablespoon of all purpose flour with one tablespoon of corn starch for every cup of all purpose flour. This increases the percentage of starch and thus decreases the percentage of gluten.
Is the cubed butter cold or room temperature when adding to the dry ingredients? I’m making this for my daughter’s birthday and she’s is very excited. ????
Always best to use at room temperature for cakes x
If wish I had read this comment before making this. I’ve been baking for a long time and was confused by the ratio of butter to flour mixture and your comment that it would resemble coarse crumbs. In my experience this is achieved by cold butter cut into flour. But this ratio would be too heavy on dry ingredients to achieve the crumbs with only 1/2 of butter. And so I was confused by your wording here. I did not achieve coarse crumbs but went ahead and made it anyway.
Hi Elizabeth! You can use slightly softened butter (not melted butter) in the cake batter. I hope that helps! -- Melissa
Since it did not indicate softened butter for the batter, I used cold thinking there was some reason for it. This should definitely be noted on the Ingredient list as no place on the recipe does it say room temperature. Only for the frosting. Also I had to bake for 36 mins. This probably happened because I had to mix for quite a while due to the cold butter. I’ll report back once we try it later today.
I was wondering why you don't add vinegar to this recipe? Did you try it an not like it or find it wasn't essential?
Hi Sharon. That's a great question! The reason that I didn't use vinegar is that I used buttermilk instead. The acidity from the buttermilk helps to activate the leavening agents to help the cake to rise. Since this recipe calls for buttermilk, you don't need the vinegar. If you were to use milk instead of buttermilk, you would need to add some vinegar. I hope that helps! 🙂
I made it for my son's birthday and it came out great. It tasted even better the next day and the day after and that was awesome too! Thanks!
I love to hear that, Sharon! Thank you for taking the time to let me know how it turned out. I appreciate it! -- Melissa
Can this recipe be used for cupcakes?
Hi Deborah! Absolutely. I haven't recipe tested it for cupcakes yet but the one thing you will need to change is the baking time. Since cupcakes are smaller, they cook faster. I would suggest setting the timer for 14-15 minutes and to keep checking for doneness. Hope that helps!
Hi there! Are there any changes that would need to be made if I were to test this cake out in cupcake form?
Hi Halle! I haven't tested it out but I am sure it would make amazing cupcakes. You would want to just reduce the baking time. I would suggest setting the timer for about 14-15 minutes and keep checking. Thanks for the great question.
Beautiful Cake and looks divine! Being red & white it's just perfect for Christmas or anytime for that matter!
Thank you so much, Deb! You are so right....it's perfect for Christmas, Valentine's Day, or whenever you get a craving. 🙂 Have a great day!