Red velvet cake is a chocolate layer cake with red food coloring added to give the chocolate a reddish tone. It's traditionally topped with a thick cream cheese frosting.

Georgana McNeil, Houston, Texas
Recipe by Southern Living November 1996


Recipe Summary test

1 (3-layer) cake


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Beat shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.

  • Stir in food coloring and vanilla, blending well.

  • Combine flour, salt, and cocoa; set aside.

  • Combine buttermilk, vinegar, and soda in a 4-cup liquid measuring cup. (Mixture will bubble.)

  • Add flour mixture to shortening mixture, alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Beat at medium speed 2 minutes; pour batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch round cakepans.

  • Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

  • Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top of cake. Garnish with chopped pecans, if desired.

  • Sheet Cake: Pour batter into a greased and floured 13- x 9-inch pan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Spread cream cheese frosting on top of cake. Garnish, if desired. Yield: 1 (13- x 9-inch) cake.

  • Petit Fours: Pour half of batter into a greased and floured 15- x 10-inch jellyroll pan; chill remaining batter. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until center of cake springs back when lightly touched (do not overbake). Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat procedure with remaining batter. Reserve 1/2 cup Cream Cheese Frosting. Place 1 cake layer on a large cutting board or baking sheet; spread with remaining 3 cups frosting. Top with remaining cake layer; cover and chill. Using round cutter or knife, cut into 1 1/2 inch circles or squares. Pipe or dollop reserved 1/2 cup frosting on tops of cakes. Garnish with pecan halves, if desired. Yield: about 3 dozen.