Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas
Hands-on Time
1 Hour 10 Mins
Total Time
2 Hours 10 Mins
Makes 12 to 16 servings

The origin of red velvet cakes came about from the result of baking soda interacting with natural cocoa and other acids in the batter. Through the years, the red velvet craze has only continued, fueled in part by the red velvet cakes that have graced the Southern Living Christmas cover three times. 

How to Make It

Step 1

Prepare Cake Layers: Preheat oven to 350°. Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add red food coloring and vanilla, beating at low speed just until blended.

Step 2

Stir together sour cream and 1/2 cup water until blended. Sift together flour and next 3 ingredients; gradually add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Spoon batter into 3 greased (with shortening) and floured 9-inch round shiny cake pans (about 2 1/2 cups batter in each pan).

Step 3

Bake at 350° for 20 to 24 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 30 minutes).

Step 4

Prepare Glaze: Pulse strawberry preserves in a food processor until smooth; transfer to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave strawberry preserves at HIGH 30 to 45 seconds or until melted; stir in almond liqueur. Brush 1/4 cup warm glaze over top of each cooled cake layer. Reserve remaining 1/4 cup glaze.

Step 5

Prepare Frosting: Beat 3/4 cup softened butter at medium speed 20 seconds or until fluffy. Gradually add 5 cups powdered sugar and 1/2 cup diced strawberries, beating at low speed until creamy. Add 1/4 cup diced strawberries, 1 Tbsp. at a time, beating until frosting reaches desired consistency. Reserve remaining 1 cup diced strawberries.

Step 6

Place 1 cake layer, glazed side up, on serving platter. Spread one-third of frosting over cake layer; sprinkle with 1/2 cup reserved diced strawberries. Repeat procedure with second cake layer. Top with remaining cake layer; spread with remaining frosting. Drizzle remaining 1/4 cup strawberry glaze over cake.

Chef's Notes

If your berries are juicy, you may not need the entire amount in the frosting.

Ratings & Reviews

Why so much red food coloring?

November 16, 2016
All the recipes of my youth in the South used the right type of cocoa in combination with buttermilk or vinegar to give the best tasting cocoa cake with a naturally reddish tint. Why are suddenly all of these Red Velvet recipes making the cake so horribly red? C'mon now.