Red Velvet Cake

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Red Velvet Cake

Skip to the recipe

Red Velvet is one of the most versatile cakes there is. You can serve it for just about any holiday (Christmas, NYE, Valentine’s Day, 4th of July) because of its color, and people seem to love cream cheese frosting. Here’s a classic recipe that comes together in under an hour and checks all the red velvet boxes.

Happy Birthday to Leveled Blue! I started to post my first recipes right around January 1, 2020, and it feels good that I’m still going strong one year later. I didn’t honestly know that I’d stick with it, definitely could’ve been a phase. And I did take a break from my baking and writing this summer while I moved and settled into a new job and house, but realized during that time that I missed creating recipes and sharing them with you through my blog posts and photography. It’s been a great creative outlet for me, and I hope to keep improving to a level that satisfies us all! Thanks for your continued support and championing of my blog, because it absolutely wouldn’t be possible without you. Cheers!

Red Velvet is not one of my personal favorite cakes, but I have gotten a million requests for it so sorry for the wait, and here it finally is! This recipe is simple to follow, pretty similar to other red velvet recipes you could find online or in cookbooks.

First, you’ll make the batter. I recommend sifting your dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt) and then setting them aside while you mix your wet ingredients. The type of cocoa powder you use doesn’t matter much, so choose your favorite. Since there are only 4 tablespoons in the recipe, you might want to use dark or something extra chocolatey to get that flavor to come through more.

Then, you’ll mix the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla as you would a normal cake, making sure your butter is soft enough to create a silky-smooth batter. The next ingredient to add is apple cider vinegar, which in this case is needed to add a little extra acid that ensures the baking soda can rise properly. Other recipes might call for buttermilk, but I prefer the vinegar. You can’t taste it at all, but it does help give your cakes a perfect rise.

The food coloring is next – yes, 4 tablespoons! – which seems like so much, and it is, but that’s what it takes to get the deep red velvet color you’re after.

Finally, you’ll mix in half the flour mixture to the butter mixture, followed by the milk, followed by the second half of the flour mixture. Once your batter is ready to go, it will fill about 18 cupcakes, 1 8 x 8-inch square pan, 1 9-inch round pan, or about 12 of these Nordic Ware Snowflake Cakelets (you can find them at Michaels, William’s Sonoma, Target, Walmart, etc. etc.).

As always, if you bake in a larger tin (not cupcakes) then you’ll have to increase the baking time to about 20 to 25 minutes for the mini cakes and 30 to 35 minutes for the square or round cake.

The cream cheese frosting is as simple as it gets, you’ll just whip the cream cheese, unsalted butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar together until silky smooth. If you want a thicker frosting you’ll add more powdered sugar, and if you’d like a thinner frosting (erring to the side of an icing) you can add a bit (about 1 tablespoon) of milk or heavy cream. I also enjoy topping the cakes with just a dusting of powdered sugar!

Also, as you can see, I styled my snowflake cakes with Frozen themed sprinkles, which really seal the deal if you’re looking for a sprinkle option. Or a little girl’s birthday option.

Thanks again for following my blog adventure, and here’s to a better 2021 filled with a lot of cakes and hopefully less being at home!

Happy New Year,

xoxo Katie

The Recipe

Red Velvet Cake

Happy Birthday Leveled Blue! Here’s my classic red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting for all of us to celebrate with.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 18 cupcakes


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 1/2 cups milk

For the cream cheese frosting

  • 8 ounces (1 block) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 cups powdered sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two standard cupcake tins with liners or one 8-inch square cake tin with parchment.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and add in the eggs and vanilla, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl to makes sure everything is incorporated. Add the apple cider vinegar and red food coloring, mixing until combined.
  4. Add the milk and flour to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until the flour is just combined (you do not want to overmix here, so stop when you see a few streaks of flour left).
  5. Fill the baking cups 3/4 full (or the tin full) and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 18 to 20 minutes (30 to 35 minutes for the square tin) until a toothpick comes out clean with maybe a few crumbs attached. Cool in the baking pan for 5 to 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. To make the cream cheese frosting, add the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer) and beat on high speed until light and airy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add in 1 cup of powdered sugar, beating until fluffy. Add more powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time to make a thicker frosting, as desired.
  7. Once cooled completely, decorate the cake with the cream cheese frosting using a knife, offset spatula, or piping bag.
  8. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

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