Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake

I’ve had so many requests for a Red Velvet Cake recipe, so I’m very excited to share this recipe with you all! It’s super light and fluffy, while also being perfectly moist – surely everything you want in a cake?! It has a lovely vanilla flavour, with a hint of cocoa. This easy recipe can be enjoyed any time of year, but I do always end up associating red velvet with Valentine’s Day for some reason!

Although I adore the sponge of this cake very much, the cream cheese frosting is the star of the show for me. It can be hard to make thick and perfectly pipeable cream cheese frosting in the UK, as we don’t have the cream cheese blocks that are sold in the USA. However, this recipe solves that issue and this cream cheese frosting is truely epic!! It pipes like a dream and is so thick and creamy.

How to make Red Velvet Cake…

To make the cake sponge I whisked together the butter and sugar, then I whisked in the eggs and vanilla extract.

I whisked in the buttermilk, red food colouring, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa powder and self raising flour until smooth. Then I divided the mixture between the cake tins.

I baked them, then left them to cool. To make the cream cheese frosting I mixed together butter and icing sugar, then added cream cheese and vanilla extract and mixed until smooth.

Red Velvet Cake

What is the best food colouring to use?

To get a bright red shade that remains strong after the cupcakes are baked you need to use a professional grade gel food colouring. You can buy these easily from many online shops, including amazon. I used the brand Pro Gel for these cupcakes. Sugarflair, colour mill and Americolor are other popular brands.

What if you can’t get hold of buttermilk?

If you can’t hold of buttermilk, you can use the same amount of milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice added, leave it for a few minutes until it goes lumpy then it’s ready to use!

Red Velvet Cake

How long does the Red Velvet Cake last for and can you freeze it?

The cake will keep in an airtight container for 3 days in the fridge. You can freeze the sponges either alone, or decorated. Once the sponges are fully cool, wrap them well with cling film or put them in an airtight container with some baking paper between them. You can freeze the frosting on it’s own in a tub, or you can decorate the cake and freeze it fully assembled.

To do this and avoid damage to the decoration, freeze it either in an airtight container. Or let it freeze solid on a cake board or plate, then wrap in cling film. Remove the cling film when you take it out to defrost it, if you don’t it could damage the decoration as it defrosts and softens. You can also freeze slices of the cake, again well wrapped in cling film or in airtight containers.

Can this recipe be made into cupcakes?

Yes! Please head over to my Red Velvet Cupcakes post for a recipe.

Can this cake be made in different size cake tins?

Yes! If you would like to make this cake in different size tins, please check my Conversion Guide to find out how to adjust the recipe.

Red Velvet Cake

Tips for making the Red Velvet Cake:

  • I used a Ateco 828 piping nozzle to pipe on the frosting.
  • If you want to use plain flour (all purpose flour) instead of self raising, you will need to add 2 tsp baking powder to the recipe.
  • I don’t recommend baking this cake in one deep tin, as it may not cook evenly. It is best to bake it in two sandwich tins.
  • Make sure to store the cake in the fridge once it’s been frosted.
Red Velvet Cake

Recommended equipment & ingredients*

8″ cake tinsMixing bowlsCooling rack
Kitchen scalesElectric hand mixerPiping bags
Red food colouringAteco 828 piping nozzle

*I earn a small amount of money if you buy the products after clicking on the links. You will not be charged anything extra for this. Thank you for supporting The Baking Explorer!

Red Velvet Cake

More red velvet recipes…

Red Velvet CakeRed Velvet Cupcakes
Red Velvet Cheesecake (No Bake)Halloween Red Velvet CakeRed Velvet Cupcakes
Red Velvet Cheesecake BrowniesRed Velvet TraybakeBleeding Brain Cupcakes
Red Velvet Cheesecake BrowniesRed Velvet TraybakeBleeding Brain Cupcakes
Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake

Light red sponge with a hint of cocoa, with thick cream cheese frosting
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cake
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 12
Author: thebakingexplorer


For the cake sponge

  • 300 g Butter or baking spread
  • 300 g Caster sugar
  • 4 Eggs large
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp Red food colouring I use Pro Gel
  • 330 g Self raising flour
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 170 ml Buttermilk

For the cream cheese frosting

  • 225 g Butter unsalted, softened
  • 225 g Icing sugar
  • 450 g Full fat cream cheese I use Philadelphia
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract


  • Pre-heat your oven to 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, and grease and line two 8" cake tins
  • Mix the butter and sugar together until fluffy, ideally with an electric mixer, or you can mix in a bowl with a wooden or silicone spoon
  • Add the eggs and vanilla extract, and whisk until fully incorporated
  • Add the cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, red food colouring, buttermilk and self raising flour, and whisk in gently until fully combined
  • Divide the mixture between the tins, use scales for accuracy
  • Bake them for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave them to fully cool either in the tins or on cooling racks
  • If the cakes have domed on top, level them off with a cake leveller or a serrated knife – you can use some of the crumbs from doing this for decoration
  • To make the cream cheese frosting, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until smooth. Then mix in the icing sugar until the mixture is smooth
  • Next, add the cream cheese and the vanilla extract and mix in until the frosting is thick and smooth. Be careful not to over mix as this can make the frosting sloppy, and you won't be able to get it thick again
  • Put one of the sponges on your plate or cake stand, and pipe or spread a layer of the frosting over it
  • And the second sponge on top, pipe larger rosettes of buttercream all around the edge and smaller ones in the centre
  • Decorate with cake crumbs or sprinkles
  • Serve immediately, store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and eat within 3 days
Made this recipe?Share on Instagram with me @TheBakingExplorer or tag #thebakingexplorer!


Calories: 746kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 51g | Saturated Fat: 31g | Cholesterol: 191mg | Sodium: 561mg | Potassium: 148mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 1700IU | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 1mg

If you like this, check out more of my Cake recipes!

Red Velvet Cake
Red Velvet Cake

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9 comments / Add your comment below

  1. 5 stars
    The COLOUR! I can never seem to get my cake to go this colour, think I’m too reserved on the food colouring. My son loves red velvet, its a treat they get a school sometime (cool school!) so am going to have a go at this recipe … so I can be cool too!!!

  2. Hello! Looks solo red! Do you think you could cook it in 3 tins instead of 2? Can’t wait to try it xx

    1. Hi Suzie, yes I think you could do this, the thickness of the layers will be less and they will take less time to bake. I hope you enjoy the cake!

  3. 5 stars
    Amazing recipe! So easy to follow and comes out so lovely and moist. Excellent cream cheese frosting… to die for!! Best red velvet cake I’ve had 🙂 Defo a must try!

  4. 5 stars
    This recipe was super easy to follow! It tasted good too. I’ve always been a little afraid of baking red velvet cake because recipes always would be too complex and there would be too many components.

    This was simple, easy to follow and luxurious!

    Thank you for sharing!!

    Sorry forgot my rating – definitely 5 STARS!

    Instagram: @phat.bakes

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