This recipe is a one bowl recipe, my favorite. It is very, very moist and especially delicious with the cream cheese frosting. Refrigerate after you frost it and pull it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Cover and refrigerate any leftover cake.
I’ve changed the recipe a little bit. The original recipe called for only 1 teaspoon of cocoa…what?! I wanted the cake to have a little more “chocolate” taste. Use three 9″ pans and you’ll have a nice high cake. Baking times may vary according to your oven. See my post on baking and frosting tips.
There is a great deal of food coloring in this recipe. I strongly suggest you use what’s required. I tried it with less and it didn’t have the same dramatic affect.
Red Velvet Cake
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons fine or table salt
4 tablespoons cocoa (it’s a good idea to sift the cocoa if you don’t plan on sifting the rest of the ingredients)
2 1/4 cups vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk at room temperature
3 tablespoons red food coloring (use the liquid or gel not the paste)
1 1/2 teaspoons white or cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Cream cheese frosting, recipe below
1) Preheat the oven to 350′. Generously coat 3 9″ pans with cooking spray and dust evenly with flour.
2) In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla.
3) Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.
4) Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the oven evenly spaced apart. Bake 25-30 minutes. Set the timer for 25 and check the cake. (see my cake tips post below this one)
5) When done, remove the cakes from the oven and run aknife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans. Cool 10 minutes then invert onto a plate, then reinvert onto a cooling rack. (Now the bottom of the cake is resting on the rack, rounded sides up) Cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 lb. cream cheese, softened
2 sticks softened butter (1 cup)
6 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
milk as needed
1) In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or an electric mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese until well blended and creamy. Add the sugar 2 cups at a time and mix on low speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. When you add the last 2 cups of sugar, you may need to add milk to get the perfect consistency. Add one teaspoon at a time. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, add the vanilla and beat briefly until fluffy. You’re ready to frost the cake.
2) When assembling a two or three layer cake, you’ll want the cakes to be relatively flat. If your cake has a dome like top, use a long serrated knife to level it off. (It is critical here to go ahead and taste the cake. You know, for quality control purposes) Place the cut side down either on the plate or on the top of the bottom layer. It is far easier to frost the bottom part of the cake (the part that was in the pan as opposed to the cut side) Hope that makes sense!
3) Use lots of frosting. Joking aside, it’s quite nice to not worry about crumbs on your finished cake. You first do a “crumb” layer. Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes before proceeding to the final layer.
4) Put a splotch of frosting on the plate to hold the cake in place. Put your first cake, cut side down if necessary and ice the top of it. Proceed to layer two and layer three. Using lots of frosting, ice the sides filling in any gaps between the layers. Finally, frost the top.
5) Frost the chilled cake with the final layer of room temperature frosting. If you prefer a very smooth surface on your cake, you can dip your spatula into water and smooth out the seams on your cake.