Red Velvet Layer Cake

Red Velvet Layer Cake is a classic! This version is super moist with just the right amount of tang! Plus, it’s super easy to make! I wanted to devour the whole cake on my own.

Red Velvet Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting!

Red Velvet Layer Cake

Red Velvet Layer Cake

Are you a sprinkle lover? I sure hope so, because this cake is literally covered in sprinkles! I bought these sprinkles several months ago and have been dying to use them on a cake. I actually think I had to make this cake just so I could use the sprinkles. 🙂

If you haven’t seen her shop yet, Sweetapolita opened an online sprinkle shop last year and it’s full of some of the best sprinkle mixes out there. So many colors, occasions and types of sprinkles. It’s a sprinkle lover’s dream and so is this cake.

After sharing some Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookie Cups with you last week, I have one more red velvet dessert to share for Valentine’s Day. This one is the classic layered cake! And it’s covered in my new favorite sprinkles!

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

This Red Velvet Cake is based off of the Moist Vanilla Cupcakes I shared with you a couple weeks ago. I’m a huge fan of how simple the recipe is! It’s so easy to put together and makes a moist cake that’s also wonderfully fluffy. I knew it’d make a great red velvet too.

I swapped a few things around to get the perfect red velvet flavor. First, buttermilk is a must. Red velvet is full of tang and buttermilk is part of the crew of ingredients enlisted to bring the tang. The vinegar also contributes to the tang, in addition to adding to the leavening (rise) of the cake. Two other signature parts of red velvet are a touch of cocoa and it’s red color. Covering the cake is the classic cream cheese frosting. Together they make the perfect pair!

I love this cake! It’s so moist and has such great flavor! The oil in the cake makes it wonderfully moist, yet there isn’t so much oil that the cake feels too oily. It’s just right! If you’re a red velvet fan, you should definitely give it a try! And if you’ve never had red velvet – you should try it. It’s always better homemade – trust me. 🙂

Easy Red Velvet CakeRed Velvet Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting recipe

You might also like

Red Velvet Cookie Cups
Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake
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Red Velvet Ice Cream Cake
Red Velvet Cheesecake Bundt Cake
Red Velvet Cheesecake

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slice of Red Velvet Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Layer Cake

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 23 minutes
  • Total Time: 38 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 Servings
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


Red Velvet Layer Cake is a classic! This version is super moist with just the right amount of tang! Plus, it’s super easy to make! I wanted to devour the whole cake on my own.



  • 2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour
  • 2 cups (414g) sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tsp (9g) natural unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 4 tsp red food coloring
  • 1 cup (240ml) hot water


  • 16 oz (452g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (172g) butter, room temperature
  • 10 cups (1150g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Sprinkles


1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare three 8 inch pans with parchment paper in the bottom and spray the sides with non-stick spray.
2. Add the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa and salt to a large mixer bowl and combine. Set aside.
3. Add the buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, eggs, vinegar and red food coloring to a medium sized bowl and combine.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat until well combined.
5. Slowly add the hot water to the batter and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.
6. Divide the batter evenly between the three pans and bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
7. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
8. To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in a large mixer bowl and mix until smooth.
9. Add about half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
10. Add the vanilla extract and mix until smooth.
11. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
12. When the cakes are cool, build the cake. Remove the domes from the tops of the cake layers with a large serrated knife.
13. Place the first layer of cake on a cake circle or serving stand, then spread about 1 cup of frosting on top in an even layer.
14. Repeat with the next layer of cake and frosting, then top the cake with the final layer of cake.
15. Frost the outside of the cake. I used my offset spatula to get a nice, even layer. This cream cheese frosting is stickier than some other frostings. Keep aside about 1/2 – 3/4 cup of frosting for the top border.
16. Press the sprinkles onto the sides of the cake.
17. Pipe a border around the top edge of the cake. I used Ateco tip 844, but Wilton 2D or 1M would work as well.
18. Refrigerate cake until ready to serve.

Keywords: red velvet cake recipe, red velvet cake easy recipe, how to make red velvet cake, homemade red velvet cake, layer cake, layer cake recipe, red velvet recipe, easy cake recipe, best cake recipe



Red Velvet Layer Cake decorated

Red Velvet Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting!

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Recipe rating

  1. Tabassum

    I made this cake but it’s taking longer than 25 mins
    Is the batter supposed to be so watery? Asin so funny?

    1. Lindsay

      There can be a little variation between ovens. You want to bake it until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Yes, it’s a very thin batter.

  2. Alicia

    I have made so many red velvet cakes on my quest to find the “perfect” one and this is it!!!! It is a no fail, super moist, always perfect recipe!!!. I am so glad I discovered it.

  3. Tiffany Lin

    Hi, I want to make this for my friend’s birthday this Friday, do you have any tips on making cream cheese frosting? I’ve tried it before and it came out too runny and would not set!

    1. Lindsay

      Cream cheese frosting can be tricky. The butter and cream cheese make it fairly thin, so to end up with a thicker consistency, you’ll need to make sure to add enough powdered sugar to thicken it. For my recipe, the amount of powdered sugar listed in the recipe is really going to be best. I know some people like to reduce it, but for it to be thicker, it’s going to be best.

  4. Alice.jane

    This is the best red velvet recipe out here… can’t stress enough on how moist these cakes are… I’m now obsessed with your recipes as this is the 5th recipe I’m using from your site… thank you… wish I could send you pics.. 

  5. Donna Mitz Valenzuela

    Hi, Lindsay! I’m about to do this but in our country, there’s only limited store that sells buttermilk. So I won’t be able to use them. Can i replace it with regular milk instead? Will there be any changes if I do this?

  6. Jade

    Hi, love all your recipes!! Just wondering with the red velvet cake, swapping red food colouring for pink should be okay shouldn’t it? I’ve got gender reveal cake to do and hoping I can use this recipe!
    Thankyou Jade xx

    1. Lindsay

      I’m so glad you enjoy the recipes! If you are going to make this pink, you’ll want to leave out the cocoa.

  7. Jade Fletcher

    Hi I’m wanting to make this cake for my partner for Valentine’s day. Could I swap out the white vinegar for Apple cider vinegar instead?

  8. Laura

    Hi Lindsay,
    This looks really good. May i ask where you got the sprinkles from and also can you recommended the best food colour brand for redvelvet cakes with your years of experience? Thank you

    1. Lindsay

      Hi Laura! There’s a link to the sprinkles in the recipe. They are from Sweetopolita. 🙂 I usually use McCormick brand food coloring.

  9. Dora L

    Hi Lindsay,

    I tried half the recipe for a 6 inch two layer cake. It is quite tasty. However went through a small problem…

     Is the batter supposed to be runny? I have springform cake pans  and it was leaking through…


    1. Lindsay

      It is a pretty thin batter so unless your springform pan is super well sealed, it probably would leak. A regular cake pan would be better.

  10. Elaine

    Hi Lindsay!
    What a fantastic cake! i think this cake is absolutely perfect for Valentine’s Day! Thank you very much for sharing!

  11. Emily

    I tried this recipe and followed it to a “t”. My cakes were about 1″ high. I have all fresh rising ingredients so that’s not the issue. NEver have had that happen before. 

    1. Lindsay

      Are you sure you fulling creamed the butter and sugar? I’ve often seen people not cream them properly and they don’t get the proper rise and the cakes end up kind of dense.

      1. Amanda

        Hi Lindsay! I am making this for my Grandmother’s birthday on Saturday, and reading the above comment confused me. You said that she may not have creamed the butter and sugar properly, but there isn’t any butter listed in the cake ingredients, only oil. I really want this to come out well. Can you clarify for me? Thanks a million!

      2. Lindsay

        Well that is my mistake. I’m used to most of my cakes having butter and sugar creamed at the beginning. I honestly don’t know why she had that result – the cake seems fairly straight forward and I obviously didn’t have a bad result or I wouldn’t have shared the recipe. It can be very hard to say why someone gets a bad result without being there to physically see what happened. It could be any number of things.

    2. Hannah

      I had the same result. Followed every step exactly. The batter was too liquidy once the water is mixed in and cakes didn’t rise. I’m guessing need to beat it for longer to get air ino the batter and thicken it. Some time indicators or texture info at step 4 & 5 would help understand what to expect for amateur bakers like me.

      1. Shanelle Simpson

        What I’ve found is most of the time it has to do with your oil, if you’ve had it for too long, or lets say you only had a little left so transferred it to anything besides its original container, the oil gets all wonky, and often times has a peculiar smell (not always) and it’ll effect the cake like this. I found this out the HARD WAY and now I tell my family that the oil in it’s original bottle is to be left there, even if it’s only a little bit in the gallon for when I need to bake. I’ve tried countless of Lindsay’s recipes and after getting over this oil hump they ALL come out absolutely perfect in taste and texture! Hope you give it a go again!

  12. Ali

    Hi, I would love to try this cake! It looks fabulous ???? I just want to know if it is alright to use gel food colouring instead of liquid colouring. If so how much should be used? Thanks 

    1. Lindsay

      Yes, you can certainly use gel coloring. I’m not sure exactly how much. You’d want to add a bit at a time and use your judgement.

  13. Marlize Willemse

    I make wedding cakes, birthday cakes etc here in South Africa, and I always struggled to find the ‘perfect’ red velvet recipe, until I tried this one! It is perfect! Moist, tasty and stable but still soft. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Sarah Niederer

    This was a really good cake! I made it for my mom for her birthday and it was so good. So good you could eat it by it self. I wish I could show a picture of the cake. As soon as they were done baking, and cooled and the tops were cut off we (my mom and I) ate it. So good. Add the cream cheese frosting and it’s amazing! This is the best red velevet cake I have ever had! And I was never a fan of red velvet before I found a good recipe. 
    I want to try this as cupcakes. How long should I leave it in the oven? 18-20 minutes I think would be good to start with. 
    I have also made your red velvet sandwich cookies. They are so good!
     Thank you for all the good recipes.
    Thanks, Sarah.

  15. Kimberly

    Hi! I made this cake today and used a 9×3 cake pan. I timed it for 25 min but felt it should come out at 22min. The top was still “sticky” but the inside clean. Should I keep it in there longer? I was trying to get that moist cake without it drying out. 

    1. Lindsay

      The best way to test I think is with a toothpick. Stick it in the center of the cake and as long as what’s sticking to it is moist crumbs and not liquid and batter-like, it should be fine.

  16. Scarlet Aura

    Hi, really disappointed with the outcome of this cake… Followed all the steps, apart from falling apart, the icing was soft and will not settle in a firm way… Alot of work for nothing…

    1. Brittany

      Hmm, that’s strange you had that outcome. I made this cake and it turned out amazing. Maybe you missed a step or ingredient.  I have made at least 50 recipes from this blog and never had a bad outcome. I would recommend trying this again because it’s delicious! 

  17. Kristine

    Hi! This will be the 4th of your recipes that I’ve tried and I love them all!! I was wondering what you think about swapping the buttermilk for the sour cream?

    1. Lindsay

      So glad you’ve enjoyed them! Not sure about the substitution – it’d probably bake fine, but I do love the tang from buttermilk in red velvet.

  18. Perri

    I wanted to make a blue velvet cake. I’ve read things about alterations that need to be made so that it doesn’t come out looking like teal. Any suggestions on how I can work this recipe?

    1. Lindsay

      It definitely can turn a funny shade. It’s been years since I made a blue velvet cake but I can’t remember what I did. I think I had to try out a few different shades of blue.

  19. Natalie

    Lindsay, oh my goodness. This cake. It was so good. The texture was so spot on and the flavor was incredible. I never understood the rave over red velvet before, but I think I do now. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

    1. Lindsay

      Yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I used to feel the same about red velvet but a good recipe really makes you love it! 🙂

  20. Vanessa

    I made cupcakes to compare to my usual recipe and this recipe won hands down!! It s so moist and so flavorful! Thank you!

  21. Leah

    Hello Lindsay! I was thinking about making this recipe into cupcakes or using a 13×9 in cake pan. Do you have any cooking time suggestions? Thank you for all the great recipes!

    1. Lindsay

      For cupcakes, I’d say about 15-18 minutes. For a 9×13, I’d guess around 30 minutes, but I haven’t actually done it to know for sure. 🙂

    1. Lindsay

      There are some photos in this post that show I usually add sprinkles to the sides. For how many, I used most of a 7oz bottle, so probably one to 1 1/2 cups.

  22. Vanessa L Rivera

    This cake is too cute! I am so glad you posted this. I planned on testing out a new red velvet cupcake recipe today and this is going to be the one. Would you change the amounts of baking soda or baking powder to create a cupcake? If not, I will let you know how it turns out. 🙂

    You make the most beautiful cakes!! 🙂

      1. Kendra

        Hi. I love your website and have tried this red velvet cake multiple times. Love love the texture and moistness. However, I can’t seem to get consistency in the baking. I have had to throw out a whole cake once fully decorated because when I cut into the cake it was rubbery and not good at all. I can’t figure out what I could be doing wrong. Simple recipe to follow but sometimes I get success and other are a total failure. I have to have consistency and I’m getting frustrated not knowing the cause. Any tips?

      2. Lindsay

        I’m sorry to hear you’ve been having trouble with it. It seems so strange that you would get different results. I’m honestly not sure what we cause that other than an ingredient not being fresh or some thing. But I’m sure you’ve probably tested that.

  23. Lynda

    What a gorgeous cake! Thanks for all the red velvet goodness! It is my very favorite and perfect for Valentine’s Day!

  24. Lorna

    Hi Lyndsay, what a fabulous looking cake and perfect for my daughter’s 6th birthday coming up! I was wondering quantity wise, how much sprinkles you had to use to cover the side of the cake. I’ve been online to Sweetapolita and just wondering if I can get away with the medium bottle (200g) or do I need to buy the large (400g)! Can you let me know the name of the sprinkles you used too – trying to work it out from pictures but I don’t see the identical one on sweetapolita’s website 🙂 Also any tips on putting the sprinkles around the side of the cake?!? Many thanks, Lorna.

    1. Lindsay

      Yes, it’d be so fun for a birthday! And there are so many awesome sprinkle choices! These are the ones I used. My bottle is 7 oz (200g) and I used most of it for this cake. There are a couple photos in this post showing how I usually add my sprinkles. I just cup them in my fingers and press them into the cake. The cream cheese frosting is pretty sticky so they stick pretty easily. It helps to set the cake over a cookie sheet or something so that it catches the excess sprinkles as they fall. The round/ball sprinkles are pretty bouncy, so high sides are helpful for catching runaway sprinkles. 🙂

      1. Lorna

        Thanks for your reply Lindsay, went to purchase those sprinkles but unfortunately the postage was a crazy price of €38 to post to Europe so I’ll have to get creative 🙂

    1. Tara S Jones

      I just completed my 2nd version of your recipe and i absolutely love it. I’ve done loads of red velvet cakes over the years but this is the best sponge by far. 
      What I did find tricky was icing the cake. I found when it came to doing the outside layer the sponges started to move and by the end it looked a bits slanted. Do you need to do a crumb base and then refrigerate it half way though? Any tips would be appreciated as this icing is very sticky and you have to work quickly before it became too warm to work with 

      1. Lindsay

        Are you in a warmer climate? That could affect the frosting. I know people also sometimes like to reduce the amount of powdered sugar, which thins out the frosting. Aside from those possibilities for thinner frosting, you can certainly apply a crumb coat and refrigerate it so that it’s a little firmer when you frost the rest of it. You could also refrigerate the frosting for about 20 minutes before using it so that it’s already a little cooler. There’s no doubt that cream cheese frosting can be tricky. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the cake!

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12