Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream cheese frosting is traditional for this beautiful cake, but vanilla frosting is another option.

Serves: 10Hands-on: 45 minutesTotal: 1 hour 15 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 10


  • 1 1⁄4 cup softened butter, divided
  • 1 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp. red gel food coloring
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease and flour 3 layer cake pans (8 inches) or 2 layer cake pans (9 inches).
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together 3⁄4 cup butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla.
  • In a small bowl, combine cocoa, food coloring, and water; blend well. Beat cocoa mixture into creamed mixture.
  • Combine flour and 3⁄4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl; gradually beat it into creamed mixture, alternating with buttermilk. Combine vinegar and soda in a cup and beat into batter.
  • Spoon batter evenly into prepared layer cake pans. Bake for 22 to 30 minutes until cake bounces back when lightly touched. Cool cake in pans on wire racks.
  • While cake cools, combine remaining 1⁄2 cup butter, cream cheese, remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, confectioners' sugar, and remaining 2 teaspoons vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat well with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy.
  • Remove cakes from the pans. Spread frosting over the top of each layer. Stack the cake layers and frost the sides, spreading the frosting evenly over the entire cake.