Red Velvet Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Red velvet cake is so much more than a white or chocolate cake tinted red. This iconic cake is a masterpiece of flavors, textures, and frosting. Learn all my tricks and tips to perfecting this classic recipe at home!

I’m out of control excited to share this recipe with you.

This is the holy grail of layer cakes. The most romantic, gorgeous, vibrant cake of all time. The “I can’t quite put my finger on the flavor” cake. Dense, yet soft ‘n light. The sweet marriage of buttermilk and vanilla with a little cocoa on the side. Tall, dramatic, and completely covered in tangy cream cheese frosting.

This, everyone, is one and only red velvet.

As I’ve told you many, many times before, I’ve always been unsure about red velvet. Quite honestly, I don’t really trust a cake that has a mystery flavor. Is it vanilla? Is it chocolate? Is it just a butter cake colored red? Why is dessert so confusing! Whatever, I’m ordering cheese fries.
That was until I learned the beauty of this mighty flavor. From brownies and cookies to bars and brownies again, I’ve had quite a lot of fun getting to know red velvet. Mild chocolate intertwined with the unmistakable taste of buttermilk, a generous dose of vanilla, and plenty of butter flavor. These four flavors make up the mystery of red velvet and are essential to perfecting a red velvet layer cake. Not only are the flavors fabulous, red velvet cake’s texture is something to write home about. It’s dense but soft with a moist, tender crumb. My absolute favorite part about red velvet cake, though, is the cream cheese frosting. Slathered on thick, this frosting is delicately sweet and undeniably creamy.

Red Velvet Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Red Velvet Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 3 cups (345g) cake flour (spoon & leveled)1
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons (10g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature2
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (240ml) canola or vegetable oil
  • 4 large Eggland’s Best eggs, room temperature and separated
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons (22ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • liquid or gel red food coloring3
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk, room temperature4

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16 ounces (450g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature5
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups (480g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons (30-45ml) cream or milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray or lightly butter two 9×2 (deep dish) cake pans6. Set aside.
  2. Make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy – about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed together fairly well. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the oil and beat on high for 2 minutes. The butter may look “piece-y” and not completely combine with the oil. This is normal and ok.
  4. Add four egg yolks and the vanilla. (Set the egg whites aside.) Beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the vinegar and the food coloring– until you reach your desired color. I used 3 and 1/2 Tablespoons. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mixing each addition just until incorporated. Do not overmix. Vigorously whisk or beat the 4 egg whites until thick and foamy as pictured above, about 3 minutes. Fold into cake batter with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. The batter will be silky and slightly thick. (If there are still small pieces of butter – again, this is ok. They will melt inside as the cakes bake. Making them even more buttery tasting.)

You can find complete recipes of this Red Velvet Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting in sallysbakingaddiction.com

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