Historically, red velvet cake was just chocolate cake tinted red from the acid in cocoa powder, not from food coloring. Nowadays most cocoa powders are alkalized, as in stripped of acid. Look for a non-alkalized one for this old-fashioned recipe. Completing the classic look is a coat of bright white ermine frosting, cooked the old-fashioned way.

Recipe Summary

prep:
50 mins
cook:
30 mins
additional:
2 hrs 5 mins
total:
3 hrs 25 mins
Servings:
16
Yield:
1 three-tier 9-inch cake
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Ingredients

16
Original recipe yields 16 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Cake:
Ermine Frosting:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (163 degrees C). Line the bottoms of three 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Spray the sides with cooking spray.

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  • Sift all-purpose flour, cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.

  • Microwave buttermilk just until warm, about 30 seconds. Stir in vanilla extract.

  • Beat brown sugar and butter together in a bowl until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly before each addition. Blend in the flour mixture and buttermilk in 3 additions until fully combined. Let mixer run on low for 5 minutes. Distribute the cake batter between the prepared cake pans.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center the cakes comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.

  • Let cool for 15 minutes in the pans. Turn cakes out and let cool completely on a wire rack, at least 30 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.

  • Meanwhile, whisk sugar, milk, flour, and salt together in a medium saucepan for the frosting. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and begins to simmer, about 10 minutes. Pour into a medium bowl and chill for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Beat butter until smooth, about 5 minutes. Slowly add the milk and flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, beating in between each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Mix in the vanilla extract.

  • Level the cake layers before assembling the cake. Scoop about 2/3 cup of frosting onto the first layer and spread into an even layer. Repeat with the second and third cake layers. Frost the outsides of the cake with thin layer of frosting to catch any crumbs and chill for 20 minutes.

  • Finish frosting the cake with remaining frosting. Cut and serve.

Nutrition Facts

669 calories; protein 5.9g; carbohydrates 89.1g; fat 33.8g; cholesterol 117mg; sodium 312.4mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (3)

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
09/14/2019
My mom used to make this cake every year from my birthday as a child it is still my favorite. NO ONE makes it like she does! Read More
8 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 4
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: 4 stars
08/04/2020
It was delicious and everyone said it tasted amazing and very dense. But it didn t turn out red. Still loved the flavor nevertheless. Read More
Rating: 1 stars
02/21/2020
I had to start again with a different recipe. The brown sugar completely ruined the texture and made it as dense as a brick. I whipped the brown sugar and butter until it was as light as possible but the use of only brown sugar is definitely to blame. The basic ermine frosting recipe is fine though classic ratios! Read More
Rating: 1 stars
02/14/2021
I wasted my time making this cake. Awful recipe but if you still decide to make it atleast double up on the frosting recipe. Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
09/14/2019
My mom used to make this cake every year from my birthday as a child it is still my favorite. NO ONE makes it like she does! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
12/21/2020
I am going to make this recipe...I am curious about the frosting. It sounds delicious. I usually use a cream cheese based frosting. Also, to the person upset about the brown sugar--the recipe calls for white sugar. Read More