red velvet cake

I love to bake. Trying out a new recipe and nailing it the first time around gets me excited. I feel accomplished. Then there’s the feeling I get when I pull out an old recipe, one I’ve made hundreds of times, and execute it successfully. That feeling, I can’t really put it into words.

The very first cake recipe I ever tried to make by myself, from scratch, was red velvet cake. I was 12 or 13 and my neighbor’s mom made red velvet cupcakes for her birthday. I fell in love right there. From then on, red velvet cake was my favorite (my palate has expanded since then, of course).

My parents got the recipe from my neighbor’s mom and I tried my hand at following the instructions. I read every instruction two or three times before following the recipe’s direction. Once I got the hang of it, I loved making red velvet cake. It was my signature. I made it for family gatherings, I made it for holidays, and I made it for other people. I even experimented with colors; red was just too boring, too basic for me.

Eventually, I lost the original recipe. But I remembered some of the basic instructions and measurements, so when I stumbled upon a recipe that seemed familiar, and close enough to that first red velvet cake recipe I tried, I tweaked it to match what I remembered and wrote it down.

I don’t make this cake nearly as much as I used to, but it is still one of my favorite things to bake. I love breaking it out every now and then because in all honesty, there aren’t many other versions of this cake that I like. So far, I’ve come across one baker whose red velvet cake I love as much as mine. I don’t know who it is, but my family in Alabama does. Sometimes, for family events they’ll order the cupcakes and we like to hide them from guests who aren’t blood related. We keep them for ourselves because they are just that good.

Today, I’m sharing with you my red velvet cake recipe. I recently made this for one of the guys on my team. We celebrate all the birthdays at work, and I tend to be the one who brings the dessert.

red velvet cake

My favorite red velvet cake. 
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Cool15 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: buttermilk, cake, dessert
Servings: 24 people
Author: whytney

Ingredients

  • .5 cup butter softened
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2.5 tsp red food coloring
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare 2 nine-inch layer cake pans
  • Cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla for five minutes
  • Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda
  • Make a paste of vinegar, cocoa powder, and food coloring
  • Add eggs to butter-sugar mixture one at a time beating after each addition. Mix until fluffy (about five minutes)
  • Add cocoa-vinegar-food coloring paste to egg mixture. Beat until well blended.
  • Add flour and buttermilk alternately beginning and ending with flour
  • Pour into prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes

Notes

In a pinch, if you don’t have buttermilk, you can ‘make’ your own by adding one tablespoon of vinegar to milk and letting it sit for 10 minutes.
I have a few frosting recipes I use to finish this off. Most people like a cream cheese frosting. I’ve used a mascarpone cheese frosting and a simple buttercream frosting as well.
For the layer pictured in the recipe, I didn’t have nearly enough red food coloring, so it is not as red as I would have liked.

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