Old Fashioned Red Velvet Cake


Everyone will ooh and ahh when you set this on the dining room table. It’s super moist with a cream cheese frosting that’s just right.

A rich and decadent classic, this cake is perfect fot the most special of occasions.

finished red velvet layer cake with strawberries on top.

Old-Fashioned Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

A sweet and delicious classic, this super moist cake is topped with the best ever cream cheese frosting. Perfect for a birthday or special occasion.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cooling time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Serving Size 12 slices


  • 3 9 inch cake pans


For the Cake

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 pound cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 6-8 cups powdered sugar

For Garnish

  • pecans
  • strawberries


Make the Cake

  • Prep. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.
  • Make the batter. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.
    mixing bowl showing stage of cake batter.
  • Bake and cool. Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Let cool on a cooling rack for 15 minutes, then remove the cakes from the pans and let cool completely before frosting.
    baked cake cooling in pan and on wire rack

Make the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Beat wet ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and mix.
    mixing bowl showing stages of cream cheese frosting.
  • Add sugar to preference. Gradually add the powdered sugar, continually beating until the frosting is light and fluffy. Depending on how stiff/ sweet you like your frosting, you make add the full amount of sugar or not.


  • Place one layer of cake on a cake stand. Spread a layer of frosting on the top. Repeat with the next layer, and then top with the last layer of cake. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Garnish with chopped pecans and fresh berries as desired.
    process shots of icing cake layers and adding strawberries and pecans.
  • Slice and serve!


This recipe uses food coloring to achieve its classic red hue, but you may omit it if you wish. The flavor will remain delightful.
No buttermilk? No problem! You can easily make your own by adding a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk and letting it sit for about 10 minutes.

You’ll need the following for this classic dessert:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Cocoa powder
  • Vegetable oil
  • Buttermilk
  • Large eggs
  • Red food coloring
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Cream cheese
  • Unsalted butter
  • Powdered sugar
  • Pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries for garnish
ingredients on white counter.

🥫 Storage instructions

Your cake can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. Just make sure it’s covered well to prevent it from drying out.

If you want to freeze the cake, wrap it securely in plastic wrap and then foil. It can last in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. Just thaw it in the fridge before serving.

slices cake showing layers of icing.

It will freeze best unfrosted, in individual layers. But if you have leftovers and want to enjoy them later, it’s fine to wrap pieces up and freeze them frosted.

👩🏻‍🍳 Expert tips

  • Make sure your buttermilk and eggs are at room temperature before mixing. This ensures a smoother batter and a more evenly baked cake.
  • When mixing the batter, don’t overdo it. Overmixing can lead to a denser cake.
  • Test the cake for doneness a few minutes before the suggested baking time. Every oven is different, and it’s better to be safe than sorry!
  • For perfectly even layers, weigh your batter. Zero out your scale when you put the cake pan on it and pour until it’s even.
  • Generously grease and flour your pansQ

📘 more classic cake Recipes

🍽 Serve it with

  • A scoop of vanilla ice cream
  • A piping hot cup of coffee or tea
  • A glass of cold milk
plated slice of red velvet cake with fork eating bite.

Old Fashioned Red Velvet Cake

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