Old Fashioned Red Velvet Cake

Hey! I am so glad you stopped by to check out my recent bakes. My name is Kelsey. I have dedicated 2021 to baking from my favorite baking publication – Bake from Scratch. Each quarter is dedicated to one main category of baking: cakes, breads, pies/pastries, cookies/miscellaneous. I am so excited to learn how to master (or try to master) each of these. Follow me along on my journey!

My birthday was February 16 and I decided I was going to bake myself a birthday cake! What better than a red velvet cake? It could double as a Valentine’s cake and it has chocolate in it, plus cream cheese icing is SO good. I created a two-layer cake instead of a three-layer, the third layer I used as its own little red velvet cake to give to my family (we ate it warm out of the oven of course!)

What I would have done differently if I had made a three-layer cake is level off all three layers, spread the frosting between each layer and before I frosted the top and sides I would have inserted paper straws to help hold the cake together (since I am not the best cake stacker in the world). I did not follow either of the cooling instructions (definitely didn’t put it in the fridge), the icing was basically falling off the cake because it was still slightly warm and I forgot to garnish with cake crumbs because I absolutely could not wait to eat it. Oops! If I were going to present this to someone I would have followed the directions correctly but since it was just for me and my family, it was definitely worth it because there is nothing better than warm cake.


For the cake:

  • 1½ cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 (1-ounce) bottle red food coloring
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ cups whole buttermilk, room temperature

For the frosting:

  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 (2-pound) package powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt


For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with baking spray with flour.
  3. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper, and spray pans again.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Add sour cream, food coloring, and vanilla, beating to combine.
  7. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
  8. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition.
  9. Divide batter among prepared pans (smoothing tops if necessary).
  10. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
  11. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes.
  12. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.
  13. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.
  14. Garnish with cake crumbs, if desired.
  15. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

For the frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed until creamy, 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt, beating until smooth.

The gallery below shows step-by-step photos of my baking process.

Shop the products I mentioned and love!

Wilton Cake Leveler
Pam Baking Spray with Flour
Wilton 9-inch Recipe Right Cake Pans
Precut 9-inch Parchment Sheets

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