Everyone loves red velvet cake! Our recipe can be made in a Bundt pan, 9 X 13 cake pan, or made into a layer cake. It’s even perfect for cupcakes. Top it with Ermine frosting or cream cheese icing, we’ve got the recipe for both right here!
I make this cake a lot. It is one of the most popular Southern recipes I have. I’m not sure why everyone thinks it’s so hard to make, it isn’t any more difficult than any other scratch-made cake.
The best part about this one is that it doesn’t have to be red, you can use just about any bright colored food coloring. I’ve made it in green, blue, and turquoise more than once! If you want to try a lighter color like yellow or pink, I would ditch the cocoa.
How to Make
Preheat an oven to 350°F.
Lightly coat a Bundt pan with shortening and then dust with granulated sugar or almond flour. (Photo 1)
Gather up all of your ingredients.
Combine the flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a small bowl and mix to combine. Set aside. (Photo 2)
Mix the shortening (or oil) and sugar in a large mixing bowl. It may look grainy, it’s fine. (Photo 3)
Add the eggs, one at a time, to the sugar mixture. Mixing well after each addition. (Photo 4)
Add the vanilla, and red food coloring. Use low speed on the mixture to prevent red food coloring from going everywhere. (Photo 5)
Add 1/3 of the flour/cocoa blend and mix well. Scrape the bowl and mix again if necessary. (Photos 6 and 7)
Add 1/2 of the buttermilk and mix well. Scrape the bowl and mix again. (Photo 8)
Add another 1/3 of the flour mix, beat well, scrape the bowl and mix again if required.
Add the rest of the buttermilk and beat to combine.
Add the last of the flour and mix to combine. Scrape the bowl and mix again.
Combine the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl and stir, (Photo 9) immediately add it to the cake batter and mix until well blended. (Photo 10)
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place into the oven and bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. (Photo 11)
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. (Photo 12)
Invert the cake onto a serving plate and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Icing this cake with Ermine frosting is the way to go if you are looking for the truly old-fashioned way to serve this cake. It isn’t overly sweet and allows the flavor of the cake to shine.
It’s a cooked flour and milk frosting so you’ll need to allow a bit of time for the cooked part to cool before you can finish making the frosting.
While the cake is baking heat the milk and flour in a small saucepan set over medium heat. (Photo 1 below)
Cook, whisking frequently until the mixture is thickened. (Photo 2 below)
Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
Cream together the butter, shortening, and granulated sugar. (Photo 4 below)
Add the cooled flour mixture (photo 5 below) and the vanilla and beat until light and fluffy (photo 6 below).
Cream Cheese Frosting
Cream cheese frosting is sweeter and much heavier than Ermine. It’s not a frosting I use very often on red velvet but I am providing a recipe for it since so many people do like it on theirs.
This is the same frosting recipe I use on my carrot cake.
Buttermilk – add 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to enough milk to equal one cup, stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes or until it has thickened slightly.
Alternatively, you could use 1 cup of sour cream or Greek yogurt.
Red Food Coloring – I have successfully used green, blue, and teal/turquoise.
Allow your oven to preheat for at least another 15 minutes after your oven tells you it is preheated. This will ensure that the oven temperature is leveled out in all areas.
The red food coloring will stain everything it comes into contact with. Be careful when opening the bottle, when pouring it into the bowl, and when mixing the batter. I recommend setting the mixing bowl and beaters into the sink and rinsing with a gentle water flow before attempting to wash them.
When you combine the sugar with the oil or shortening, it will be grainy. It’s fine, it will come together after to add the eggs.
When adding the flour mixture and buttermilk, start with 1/3 of the flour followed by one half of the buttermilk. Add another 1/3 of the flour mix, then the last half of the buttermilk, and finally the last 1/3 of the flour. You should always end with flour when a recipe calls for adding the flour and liquid in multiple steps.
Lightly grease your Bundt pan with shortening and then coat with granulated sugar. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes and when you invert it, the cake should slide right out.
Once the vinegar and baking soda are combined, don’t dawdle around, get in stirred into the cake batter.
Once the cake batter has been mixed get it into the pan and oven as soon as possible.
Alternate Pan Sizes
9 X 13 pan, bake for 30-35 minutes or until done.
8-inch pans for a layer cake, bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until done.
Cupcakes – use a muffin pan lined with cupcake papers and fill about 2/3 of the way, bake for 17 minutes or until done.
This cake can be stored at room temperature for a day or so. I would hold it in the refrigerator for anything longer than that.
You can freeze the cake. I find it works best if you freeze individual slices then wrap them in plastic wrap and put them into a freezer baggie.
To thaw frozen cake slices, remove them from the freezer and unwrap. Place them onto a serving plate and loosely cover with plastic wrap and allow it to thaw. Of course, you can always eat it frozen!
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Red Velvet Bundt Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar plus 1 tablespoon for preparing the pan
- 1/2 cup shortening oil or butter can be substituted
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 ounce red food coloring other colors can be substituted
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat an oven to 350⁰F.
- Prepare a Bundt pan by lightly coating with shortening, then coating with granulated sugar.
- Combine flour, cocoa, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
- Mix sugar, and shortening (or oil) together in a large bowl.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add the food coloring and vanilla and mix well. Start the mixer slow to avoid flinging red food coloring everywhere.
- Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and stir to combine.
- Add ½ of the buttermilk and stir to combine.
- Add 1/3 of the flour mix and mix.
- Add the rest of the buttermilk and mix to combine.
- Add the rest of the flour mixture and beat until completely mixed. Scrape the bowl and mix again if necessary.
- Combine the vinegar and baking soda in a small bowl.
- Add the vinegar to the cake batter and beat until completely mixed.
- Add the batter to the prepared Bundt pan and place into the preheated oven.
- Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate.
- Once the cake has been inverted, allow it to cool completely.
- Ice with frosting.
- Mix milk and flour in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until boiling.
- Boil for one minute and remove from the heat.
- Allow the flour mixture to cool. At least 30 minutes.
- Add the sugar, butter, and shortening to a bowl and mix to combine.
- Add the cooled flour mixture and vanilla and beat until fluffy.
- Use to frost cooled cakes.