Y’all, this red velvet cake recipe is pretty spectacular, if I do say so myself. Follow the directions and you will end up with a moist, lightly chocolate, and deeply red cake.
Red Velvet Cake Recipe
This original red velvet cake is the one I always made at the restaurant, although we paired it with cream cheese frosting. The ermine is perfect with it, so I recommend getting to know ermine frosting if you're a red velvet cake fan.
Servings: 8 servings
For the Cake (for 3 6" layers)
- 11.5 oz all purpose or cake flour (2 1/2 cups)
- 2 Tablespoons non-alkalized cocoa powder (such as Nestle or Hershey's)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 8 oz 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 oz red food coloring (liquid, not gel or paste)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 10.5 oz 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 10.5 oz neutral vegetable oil (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
For the Ermine Frosting
- 8 oz 1 cup whole milk
- 7 oz 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 10 oz 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at cool room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- a couple of shakes of chocolate bitters (optional but lovely)
For the Cake
- Set a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 350F.
- Spray 3 6" cake pans with pan spray. Line the bottoms with parchment circles, and place them on a baking tray. Set aside.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Set aside.
- Stir the buttermilk, food coloring, and vanilla together. Set aside.
- With a hand mixer or in the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the sugar, oil, and salt. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and beat until emulsified. The mixture will thicken and be opaque.
- Alternate adding the dry ingredients in three additions with the wet ingredients, mixing just until combined and scraping the bowl as necessary.
- Mix in the vinegar.
- Divide evenly among the three prepared pans and bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating the pan after about 25 minutes, until well-risen and slightly domed and the cakes spring back when pressed lightly on the tops.
- Run a thin spatula around the inside of each pan. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto cake racks to cool completely.
For the Ermine Frosting
- In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, flour, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.
- Allow to boil for 15-30 seconds and then pour through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Cool to room temperature.
- Stir in the vanilla and optional bitters into the milk-sugar mixture once it has cooled.
- Cut the butter into 1-2 Tablespoon pieces. If the butter seems too firm, flatten each piece to allow them to soften faster.
- Using the whip attachment, whip the butter into the cooled base a piece at a time, waiting until one piece is completely incorporated before adding the next. Once all the butter is added, whip on high speed for a few minutes (5-7 or so) until the frosting is smooth and fluffy. If it's still not coming together in a glorious fluffy mass, refrigerate the bowl for a few minutes and then whip again.
To Assemble the Cake
- Slice the domes off the cakes and crumble into crumbs.
- Smear a dab of icing in the center of your cake plate, and place one layer on top.
- Spread evenly with about 1/2 cup frosting.
- Place another layer on top, spread another 1/2 cup of frosting on that layer and top with the final layer, bottom side up. Make sure the cake is level and the layers are stacked evenly, and then refrigerate for 30 minutes or so. This will keep your layers from sliding while you frost the rest.
- Spread a thin layer of frosting around the sides so you can see the cake through the frosting. Spread a thicker layer of frosting on the top of the cake.
- Use the cake crumbs to decorate however you'd like, either pressing them around the sides or using them in a stencil to make a design on top like I did.
Since the fat in this cake is oil, it will not get hard in the fridge. The butter in the frosting will get hard though, so if you refrigerate it, slice and then wait 30 minutes or so before serving so the frosting can soften up.