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slice of red velvet cake on a plate with a fork
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5 from 1 vote

Best Red Velvet Cake

Enjoy a tall slice of moist, fluffy red velvet cake this Thanksgiving, Christmas or Valentine’s Day.  With a few simple tips and tricks, you’ll be able to make this famous Southern sweet treat completely from scratch.  It’s the perfect showstopping end to a holiday meal with family and friends!
Prep Time50 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Cake
Cuisine: American
Keyword: red velvet cake, red velvet chocolate, southern red velvet cake
Servings: 20 slices
Calories: 480kcal
Author: Emma


  • 2 ½ cups cake flour spooned into measuring cup and leveled
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 ½ cups caster sugar
  • 1 cup light-tasting olive oil
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring
  • 1 cup buttermilk at room temperature
  • 3 cups boiled milk frosting or cream cheese frosting


Making the Cake (40 minutes + 15 minutes baking + 45 minutes cooling)

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Lightly butter three 9-inch springform pans and line their bases with parchment paper.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder, then sift to remove any lumps.
  • Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until very light yellow and fluffy, about 5-8 minutes on medium-high speed.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a flexible spatula, then add the olive oil and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed.
  • Blend in the eggs and vanilla, then scrape the sides of the bowl and the beater.  Mix in the vinegar and food coloring or natural food dye until well combined.
  • Add half of the dry ingredients and gently fold them in with the spatula.  The best way to fold is to scrape around the edges of the bowl in one stroke, then cut through the center of the batter.  Repeat until mixed.  Fold in all the buttermilk, then fold in the remaining dry ingredients.  Be careful not to overmix, but be sure there are no white lumps or streaks in the batter.
  • Gently divide the batter among the prepared pans.  Tap each pan on the counter a few times to get rid of any large air bubbles in the batter.
  • Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes, switching the pans around after 10 minutes to ensure an even bake.  It's done when its surface just barely springs back when gently touched, and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Let them cool for 10 minutes in the pans, then remove from the pans and let cool completely on wire racks, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Decorating (10 minutes)

  • Slowly and carefully peel the parchment paper off of the cakes.
  • Set one cake on a large, flat plate and spread a layer of icing on top.  Repeat with the following two layers.
  • Crumb coat the sides by spreading a layer of icing on, then scraping most of it off.  Carefully spread more icing over the crumb coat, smoothing with an angled spatula.
  • Serve the cake in slices, and store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.


  • Use cake flour instead of all-purpose for an extra tender and fluffy result.
  • Measure the flour accurately, preferably with a kitchen scale, to prevent a dry cake.
  • Use room temperature ingredients.
  • Be careful not to overbake, or it will be dry.  Mine was perfectly done at 15 minutes, but your oven will probably bake a little differently.  Always test a couple minutes before the timer beeps if you're unsure.
  • Store the cake in the refrigerator.


Calories: 480kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 292mg | Potassium: 71mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 48g | Vitamin A: 189IU | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg