Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – this super moist and tender red velvet cake makes for a divine and dramatic cake topped with an easy cream cheese frosting.
We all have cake that we crave and is our favorite for all occasions. For me, red velvet cake is that cake. Whether I’m ordering dessert at a restaurant or I have to make it for a special occasion, I always turn to this classic. This really is my go-to cake!
What takes this cake over the top is really that cream cheese frosting, which I think is just to die for. This is coming from someone who doesn’t like cake frosting. I don’t really like buttercream frosting because well they’re too buttery, I feel like I’m eating butter. But cream cheese icing is my kryptonite.
What Is Red Velvet Cake
It is traditionally a red, red-brown, or scarlet coloured chocolate layer cake topped with cream cheese icing. Usually red velvet cakes are made with buttermilk, butter, cocoa, vinegar and flour.
Red velvet cakes have been around since the Victorian Era and they used to be served as a fancy dessert.
Why Is It Called Red Velvet Cake
The “red” comes from the red dye that is used to make the cake red, without the red food coloring, it’s simply a chocolate cake. The term “velvet” was a description of the cake because of its soft and velvety texture.
How to Make Red Velvet Cake
This red velvet cake recipe is basically an adaptation of my chocolate cake which I’ve been making for years. It’s a tried and true recipe, which I consider fool proof. This recipe has been perfected over the years, so I know it will work. My secret ingredient in this cake is the coffee which just enriches the chocolate flavor in the cake. You will not taste coffee at all.
This cake is quite simple to make. I have made this cake before as a 3 layer cake or a 4 layer cake. If you make it a 4 layer cake, you’ll need only 2 cake pans. After you bake the cake, you’ll need to cut them in half so you can have your 4 layers. If you’re making a 3 layer cake, it’s easier to use 3 cake pans, 1 for each layer.
While the cake is baking, it’s the best time to make the cream cheese frosting. This cream cheese frosting is a totally different story, at least in my eyes. There’s no butter at all in this frosting, just cream cheese, icing sugar and whipping cream, which when mixed together creates the perfect cake frosting for such a gorgeous red velvet cake.
All that’s left to do is assemble the cake which is pretty simple. Cake, frosting, cake, frosting and so on. Whatever frosting is left over use for spreading over the top of the cake.
Tips for Making Red Velvet Cake
While many recipes will call for using cake flour for red velvet cake, I do not find that it makes a huge difference. While cake flour usually results in a softer more velvety cake, all purpose flour works just as well and this cake is still as soft.
I used a red food coloring gel that I bought at Michael’s. It gives me the perfect red color, or at least what I consider the perfect red color for a red velvet cake. A lot of people don’t want to use artificial food coloring, so you always have the option of using natural food coloring such as beets. I have used beets before to make red velvet cupcakes for a bake sale at work and they turned out great, although you don’t get quite the rich red color as you do by using red food coloring gel.
I love to add a cup of strong coffee to chocolate cakes because coffee enhances the flavor of the chocolate. However, don’t worry, the coffee will not overpower the taste, you won’t even know it’s there.
For another gorgeous red velvet cake give my Red Velour Cake a try!
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Red Velvet Cake
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
- 16 oz cream cheese
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups icing sugar same as powdered sugar or confectioner's sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees.
- Prepare the baking pans: Prepare 2 8 inch cake pans. Cut out 2 parchment paper circles that will fit inside each pan and spray them with some cooking spray. Make sure to spray some cooking spray up the sides of the pans too.
- Make the cake batter: In the bowl of your mixer, add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda and using the paddle attachment mix everything together until well combined, on low speed.
- In a large bowl mix together the buttermilk, coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk in the coffee and food coloring.
- Add the wet ingredients to the mixer bowl and mix everything over medium speed for about 2 minutes, until everything is well combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula and mix as needed. Add more red food coloring as needed to get to the desired color. Pour the batter into the 2 prepared pans, equally.
- Bake: Place the cake pans in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. To test if the cake is done, insert a toothpick in the middle of the cake and if it comes out clean, it's done. Let the cake cool in the pans for about 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack or a cutting board and cool completely.
- Prepare the cream cheese frosting: In the bowl of your mixer whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Remove from mixer bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
- In the bowl of your mixer, beat the cream cheese together with the vanilla extract and icing sugar, until smooth. Fold in the whipping cream gradually until well combined.
- Assemble the cake: Cut the top part of the cake first and crumbled it up in a bowl, we'll use this for decoration after.
- Cut each cake into 2 pieces. Start by placing 1 cake layer onto your serving cake platter, then spread some of the cream cheese frosting, about 1/4, evenly over the cake layer. Repeat with remaining cake layers. Using a spatula, spread the cream cheese frosting evenly over the top of the cake and up the sides. Decorate the cake with the remaining cake crumbs if desired.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.