Red Velvet Cake Recipe with Buttercream Frosting

This homemade cake gets its deep color from cocoa powder and food coloring.

Winter 2018

  • A slice of Red Velvet Cake with Buttercream Frosting.
    Photo by GettyImages/AbbieImages

Yield: about 12 servings

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• 4 sticks salted butter, softened, divided
• 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
• 2 eggs
• 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
• 1 to 11⁄2 ounces red food coloring
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 1⁄2 cups cake flour
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 tablespoon vinegar
• 6 teaspoons vanilla, divided
• 6 cups powdered sugar
• 2 to 4 tablespoons milk


1. Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 3 8-inch layer cake pans; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream 1 stick butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.

3. In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder and food coloring to form a paste. Stir into butter mixture.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together salt and cake flour; set aside.

5. Pour buttermilk into a small bowl. Add vinegar, baking soda, and 2 teaspoons vanilla, and stir to combine.

6. Add half the flour mixture and half the buttermilk mixture to the creamed mixture, and stir to combine. Add remaining flour mixture and remaining buttermilk mixture, and beat until batter is thoroughly blended.

7. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans, and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of each cake comes out clean. Cool completely in pans on wire racks.

8. Meanwhile, combine powdered sugar, remaining sticks of butter, remaining vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until powdered sugar is incorporated. Increase speed to medium, and beat until thoroughly combined. Add more milk, a little at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

9. Top two cake layers with a generous amount of frosting, and stack them. Cover top and sides with additional frosting.