Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Jennifer Hill Booker

Your Resident Gourmet, Atlanta



  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon for preparing pans, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Pernigotti
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1 tablespoon liquid red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature 

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped toasted pecan halves


Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 8-inch cake pans with butter; line the bottom with a parchment round and grease again. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large measuring cup, combine buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until combined. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients, alternately in 3 parts; do not overmix. 

Pour half the batter into each prepared cake pan. Smooth the top of each pan with an offset spatula. Place on the middle rack of your oven and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, and then remove the cake from pans. Remove the parchment rounds and place on a rack to cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting: in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add cream cheese and butter; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add sugar and mix with increasing speed until smooth. Scrape the bowl as needed, add vanilla, and beat on high until well combined. Chill in the refrigerator to firm up before using.

To assemble, place a spoonful of frosting on the center of your serving plate and place one cake flat-side-down. Place four 4-inch wide strips of parchment paper strips around the cake to keep the plate clean and place inside a rimmed baking sheet for easy clean up. 

Using an offset spatula, spread enough frosting to create a 1/4-inch layer. Place the second cake flat-side-up, (note: if the cake is rounded, use a serrated knife to level it). Use remaining frosting to the cover top and side of the cake. 

Gently press handfuls of chopped nuts against the sides of the cake (the rimmed baking sheet will catch any excess pecans). Remove parchment strips. Serve and enjoy.


Recipe photo and food styling by Judy Kim.


one 8-inch two-layer cake or 12 cupcakes