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Red Velvet Layer Cake Recipe, this classic cake is moist, buttery, tender, and boldly red. This dessert is perfect for any special occasion or whenever you feel like treating yourself.

Red Velvet Layer Cake

There’s no denying that red velvet cake is a beautiful, delicious cake. As well, this cake has a special place in my ‘food memories’. My mom made a Red Velvet Cake topped with sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting every year for Christmas. It’s the perfect cake for Christmas!

Red Velvet Layer Cake

but what exactly is RED VELVET?

Is it chocolate in disguise? Or, is it vanilla in costume? If you’ve ever had a red velvet flavored dessert, you know that beyond the color it has a distinct flavor. There’s a slight chocolate cocoa flavor but in a mild, unique way.

Traditionally, what gave the beautiful red color to this cake also gave it a distinct flavor and texture. The combination of vinegar and unsweetened cocoa powder gives flavor and creates a tender, ‘velvety’ textured cake. Originally, the cocoa powder reacted with the vinegar and made a reddish colored cake. However, now most Red Velvet Cakes contain red dye or beets to give the red hue.

Red Velvet Layer Cake

Red Velvet Layer Cake Recipe

For the cake, you can make a layer cake as I did. You could also make it in a 9×13-inch cake pan.

For the frosting, I prefer Cream Cheese Frosting. However, you could also use Buttercream Frosting, the more traditional Ermine Frosting would be delicious. Another option, if you don’t want to go with the traditional white frosting, a rich chocolate frosting would be amazing paired with red velvet.

Need a smaller cake? Try this Small Red Velvet Cake.

Red Velvet Layer Cake

You’ll need to store this cake in the refrigerator.

Red Velvet Layer Cake

Red Velvet Layer Cake Recipe

Red Velvet Layer Cake Recipe, this classic cake is moist, buttery, tender, and boldly red. 
Author: Paula
4.96 from 22 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 23 minutes
Servings: 18 servings



  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour sifted, then measured
  • 1 and ¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup butter softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons red food coloring


  • ½ cup butter real butter, no substitutions, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3 and ½ – 4 cups confectioners' sugar sifted then measured
  • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract



  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray three 8-inch cake pans with non-stick spray or coat with Wilton cake release.
  • Add the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Add the oil, eggs, vanilla extract, and vinegar and beat on high for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  • With the mixer on low, pour the dry ingredients alternating with the buttermilk into the wet ingredients in the mixer. Beat until well combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Beat in the food coloring just until combined.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the three pans. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with no crumbs or a few dry crumbs.
  • Remove the cake layers from the oven. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack. Invert the cake layers onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely.


  • Beat ½ cup butter and 8 ounces of cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth
  • With the mixer on low, add sifted confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and heavy whipping cream and mix until smooth.


  • Wait until the cake is completely cool before frosting.
  • For a more professional cake, remove the domes from the tops of the cake layers with a cake leveler or large serrated knife.
  • Place one layer of cake on a serving plate. Spread about 1 cup of the frosting on top in an even layer. Repeat with the next layer of cake and frosting, then top the cake with the final layer of cake (if you have 3 layers)
  • Frost the outside of the cake. An offset spatula makes it really easy to get an even layer.
  • Decorate the side or top with an assortment of sprinkles or nuts.


Calories: 576kcal | Carbohydrates: 90g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 368mg | Potassium: 81mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 72g | Vitamin A: 579IU | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg
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  1. Hi Paula,
    Having only 2 8″ round pans, Do I have cut back on the ingredients ?

    Thanks Paula….

  2. the original recipe calls for superfine sugar, it gives the cake a velvet texture and taste and instead of cooking oil try crisco shortening. also try making a rue frosting its the original my grandmothers recipe i remember making this cake with her the rue frosting very tricky because it must be cooked. trust me when i say it’s all about the texture velvet and don’t over cook. my age right now 68

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