Prep Time
15 Mins
Makes about 7 cups



How to Make It

Step 1

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Step 2

Stir together flour, cocoa, and baking soda. Add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beating at low speed just until blended, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in vanilla; stir in red food coloring. Use batter immediately, following baking directions for desired cake in "Pick a Pan" below.

Step 3

Pick a Pan: Chocolate-Red Velvet Cake Batter can be baked in lots of different shapes and sizes--just use these times as a guideline, and be sure to grease and flour your pans. With smaller muffin pans and molds, we found it easier to use a vegetable cooking spray with flour. Check for doneness at the minimum time range, continuing to bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Variations with added fruit and nuts will require the maximum time and yield more mini cakes.

Step 4

Bake at 325° in 1 (12-cup) tube pan for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Step 5

Bake at 325° in 3 (8- x 4-inch) loaf pans for 55 to 65 minutes.

Step 6

Bake at 325° in 7 to 9 (5- x 3-inch) loaf pans for 25 to 35 minutes.

Step 7

Bake at 325° in baby Bundt pans for 25 to 30 minutes. Makes 14 to 16 baby Bundt cakes. (Spoon 1/2 cup batter in each 1-cup mold.)

Step 8

Bake at 350° in muffin pans 23 to 28 minutes. Makes 32 to 38 cupcakes.

Step 9

Bake at 350° in miniature muffin pans for 9 to 11 minutes. Makes about 9 to 10 dozen cupcakes.

Ratings & Reviews


December 24, 2014
I substituted 1 cup of the sour cream for plain yogurt and decreased the food coloring and cocoa, added 1/2 tsp. of baking powder to the batter and layered it to make a marble bundt cake. It turned out beautiful with the red and white colors of Christmas in each slice.

Perfect Pound Cake

July 29, 2015
This recipe is PERFECT for homemade pound cake layers. Take out the cocoa and the coloring and bam....beautiful, perfect, sturdy, and YUMMY pound cake layers for stacking and decorating. Sometimes I decrease the vanilla a bit and add an equal amount of almond for almond pound cake. Everyone I've made this for has LOVED it! I admit though, I would pick a different recipe for classic red velvet. This isn't it.

toomanyjenns's Review

March 07, 2012
Wish I had read the reviews first. I went to Southern Living b/c I thought here I would find an authentic delicious Red Velvet Cake recipe. I'm not sure what to call what just came out of my oven, but it was certainly not red velvet cake. And I'm known for being a decent baker so it was not the cook. Don't waste your time/money with this one.

soonervicki's Review

December 22, 2011
I have used many SL cake recipes with great success. However, this recipe is terrible. It's extremely dense (solid as a rock). We threw it away. A "1" rating is generous. Very disappointing considering the effort AND expense that went into it.

JazzyV's Review

November 24, 2010
I made this cake in 2007 and it was great. It went over very well with the family that I decided to do it again for Thanksgiving 2010.

MissKris's Review

February 15, 2010
Pretty to look at but not enough liquids, cake was VERY dry. After reading more recipes for Red Velvet Cake, I see that most of them call for buttermilk, wonder why this one doesn't? I used Southern Living's recipe because I thought it would be great. Won't make this again!

ModeChic's Review

May 25, 2009
I did not like this recipe at all. The cake did not come out all light and fluffy, instead it was solid as a brick. After looking at many RVC recipes, it seems like this one has a lot of eggs and very little baking soda compared to others. I am not sure if this was the problem but I do know that I ended up throwing the cake out. Very disappointing since it was for a birthday and it was not cheap to make ($7.00 just for 2 bottles of food coloring). I will use a different recipe next time.