How to Make Red Velvet Cake

Bake a red velvet cake whenever you want to serve a dessert that’s as beautiful as it is delicious.


Up next in Cake Baking, Frosting, & Icing (34 videos)

Your next cake will be tasty AND beautiful if you follow the baking, frosting, and icing tips and tricks in this Howcast video series.

You Will Need

  • 2.25 c all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1.0 tsp salt
  • 2.0 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 1-ounce bottles of red food coloring
  • 2 sticks of softened unsalted butter, divided
  • 1.5 c sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1.0 c buttermilk
  • 3.0 tsp vanilla extract, divided
  • 1.0 tsp baking soda
  • 1.0 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 2.0 c powdered sugar
  • 3 9-inch round cake pans
  • Bowls
  • A whisk
  • A wooden spoon
  • Cooling rack
  • Cake plate
  • A spatula
  • 15-ounce can of beets (optional)
  • Electric mixer (optional)
  • Pecan halves (optional)


  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the cake pans.

  2. Step 2

    Combine flour

    Combine the sifted flour and salt in a bowl.

  3. Step 3

    Color the cocoa

    Pour the cocoa powder into a small bowl, add the red food coloring, and whisk until smooth.

  4. You can use the juice from one 15-oz. can of beets in place of the food coloring.

  5. Step 4

    Cream the butter and sugar

    In a large bowl, beat one stick of butter and sugar by hand or with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time.

  6. Step 5

    Add the flour

    Switch your mixer speed to low and add the flour a few tablespoons at a time. Alternate mixing flour with adding the buttermilk, vanilla extract, and dyed cocoa paste. Mix the ingredients until all the batter is the same red color, but do not overbeat.

  7. Step 6

    Mix in the vinegar

    In a small bowl, stir the baking soda into the vinegar, and then fold it into the batter with a wooden spoon.

  8. Step 7

    Bake the cake

    Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes; then invert the layers onto a rack to cool completely.

  9. Step 8

    Make the frosting

    Make the frosting by beating the cream cheese with one stick of butter until creamy. Beat in 1 tablespoon of vanilla. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.

  10. Step 9

    Apply a crumb coating

    When the cake has cooled, place the first layer on your cake plate or stand, spread frosting on top with a spatula, add the next layer, frost the top of that, and so on. Once you’ve added the final cake layer, spread a thin coating of frosting over the entire cake to contain crumbs, and then refrigerate it for 15 minutes.

  11. Step 10

    Finish frosting

    Finish frosting the cake by spreading the frosting on top and on the sides. Decorate the top with pecan halves if you like.

  12. Tradition has it that a chef at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel invented red velvet cake in the 1950s. But it is also rumored to be a southern, Civil War-era invention.