Best Red Velvet Cake {From Scratch}

The best, easy, moist homemade red velvet cake recipe from scratch requires simple ingredients. Soft and moist. Pairs well with cream cheese frosting or chocolate icing.

I have been working on this recipe for a few years now. Thank God! This cake has the perfect texture. It’s soft but firm enough to not crumble and fall apart when you slice it. The flavor is phenomenal with a nice vanilla taste and hints of chocolate flavor too- the way it is supposed to be! Some other red velvet desserts you can try are: Best Red Velvet Cupcakes {With Cream Cheese Frosting}, Red Velvet Cookies {With Cake Mix}, Red Velvet Truffles, and Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies . Traditionally, this cake is paired with cream cheese frosting but I did something different. I spread ooey gooey chocolate marshmallow fluff all over this cake and covered it in mini pink marshmallows.

Slice of Easy Homemade Red Velvet Cake on Yellow Plate

What Is Red Velvet Cake Flavor/Taste? Is It Just Chocolate Cake?

It’s soft and moist but also very rich. It has a predominant vanilla flavor with hints of chocolate flavor.

How To Make Easy Red Velvet Cake Recipe From Scratch?

  1. Cream butter and sugar– Until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the eggs– One at a time.
  3. Add wet ingredients– This includes sour cream, milk, vanilla extract, food coloring.
  4. Whisk dry ingredients– Including the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  5. Combine dry and wet mixtures– Pour batter into prepped round cake pans.
  6. Bake– Until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Prepare frosting– Add the marshmallow fluff, cream cheese and cocoa powder and whip.
  8. Decorate cake– With this icing and stick mini marshmallows.

Key ingredients

  • Flour- All-purpose is best.
  • Cocoa powder– This should unsweetened.
  • Butter- This should be unsalted.
  • Sugar- Regular granulated sugar is best.
  • Eggs- This helps make the cake fluffy.
  • Sour cream– This makes the cake super moist.
  • Milk– This also adds moisture and richness to the cake.
  • Red food coloring- You can use gel food coloring or liquid food coloring.

Red Velvet Frosting

The classic choice is Cream Cheese Frosting of course, but you can also use Chocolate Ganache Frosting, American Buttercream Frosting Recipe, Marshmallow Frosting Recipe, Chocolate Frosting, or White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.

How To Make Moist Cake?

Different people swear by different ingredients that result in the moistest cake. Mine is full fat sour cream. Other people like to use buttermilk or Greek yogurt and some prefer cream cheese.

Why Is Vinegar Added To Cake?

Vinegar is usually used to make homemade buttermilk and the main purpose of buttermilk is used to make the cake moist. However, my recipe does not use buttermilk or vinegar and uses sour cream instead. I firmly believe this gives a better result.

Partially Sliced Best Red Velvet Cake With Icing Dripping

Variations For Best Red Velvet Birthday Cake

Make a layer cake– It’s a super soft cake but also firm enough for stacking and making layer cakes.

Decorate it– With fondant or frosting for occasions like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Wedding, Anniversary and even Halloween.

Make it in a jar– Bake the cake first and allow it to cool down. Use a circle cutter (same size as your jar) to cut out circular cake pieces. Place a piece in the jar and frost the top with cream cheese icing. Continue alternating with cake piece and icing until you reach the top of the jar.

Add ins– Add dark chocolate or white chocolate chips, pecans and other nuts, or add a cheesecake layer (this one is INCREDIBLE!).

Make cake balls/cake pops? Bake the cake first. When it cools down, crumble it and mix in some frosting to make a thick dough-like mixture. Scoop out small portions, make little balls, push a popsicle stick into each ball (if making cake pops) and chill in the fridge until the balls become firm. Dip them in melted white chocolate and enjoy.

Spoonful of Velvet Cake on Yellow Plate

Tips And Techniques

All ingredients must be at room temperature– Because they mix together more evenly and that yields a better cake.

Don’t omit the red food coloring– Yes! You will need a lot of food coloring to get this vibrant red shade.

Don’t omit the cocoa powder– Because if you do, you are just making a vanilla cake.

Don’t replace butter with oil– Because in this recipe, the butter helps with the texture of the cake and also makes it rich.

Use full fat sour cream and whole milk– Because they have a higher fat content and yield the best results.

If you have time, I highly recommend baking your cake, letting it cool down, covering it in saran wrap and then freezing it overnight– Because this really seals in the moisture and makes the cake super soft. When you are ready to frost it, let it thaw (covered in saran wrap) on your countertop at room temperature for about an hour.

How to make this cake without food coloring? Some people like to use beet juice or you can use natural food coloring which are made from dried fruits and veggies.

Salted butter or unsalted butter? Use unsalted butter always because you can control the saltiness.

Plain flour or self-rising flour? I always use all-purpose flour since I add baking powder and baking soda separately.

Sour cream or buttermilk? I have tried both and feel that sour cream gave me the best results, hands down!

Why is my cake brown? There could be 3 factors causing this:

  • Not enough red food coloring was used
  • Too much cocoa powder was added to the recipe
  • Cake was over-baked and the top and sides have become brown
Tiny Kinds Hands Decorating Cake With Mini Marshmallows

Storage For Homemade Cake

Refrigerate– In a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Freeze– An unfrosted cake can be covered tightly in saran wrap and frozen for up to 1 month. When you are ready to enjoy it, thaw to room temperature and assemble, as per instructions below.

More Classic Cake Recipes

Slice of Easy Homemade Red Velvet Cake on Yellow Plate

Best Red Velvet Cake Recipe

The best, easy, moist homemade red velvet cake recipe from scratch requires simple ingredients. Soft and moist. Pairs well with cream cheese frosting or chocolate icing.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword easy red velvet cake from scratch
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Decorating time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 9 Slices
Calories 735kcal
Author Abeer Rizvi



  • 1 cup Butter Unsalted, Softened
  • 2 cups Sugar Granulated
  • 4 Eggs Large
  • 1 cup Sour cream Full fat
  • ½ cup Milk Whole
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla extract
  • 3-4 tbsp Red food coloring
  • cups All-purpose flour
  • ½ cup Cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • ½ tsp Baking powder
  • ½ tsp Salt

Chocolate marshmallow fluff/cream

  • 2 cups Marshmallow fluff
  • ¾ cup Cream cheese
  • 1- 2 tbsp Cocoa powder


  • Mini marshmallows


  • In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  • Add sour cream, milk, vanilla extract, food coloring and mix until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Dump this dry mixture into the wet mixture and mix until just combined.
  • Pour this batter into two greased and floured round cake pans (Dimensions: 9×2).
  • Note: Since I was not planning on making a layer cake, I used an 8×3 round cake pan and filled it about two thirds and baked it for about 50-55 minutes (Yes! It took long!). I also had a little leftover batter for a few cupcakes. However, I highly recommend making this cake in two 9 inch round cake pans for the perfect red velvet layer cake.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • To prepare the chocolate marshmallow fluff/cream, add the marshmallow fluff, cream cheese and cocoa powder in a mixing bowl and whip everything until smooth.
  • Prior to serving, spread chocolate marshmallow fluff/cream all over the cake and stick mini marshmallows. DO NOT spread this chocolate marshmallow fluff until you are ready to serve or else it will drip off the cake.
  • Serve and enjoy!


  • Read all my tips above.
  • Instead of chocolate marshmallow fluff/cream, you can use cream cheese frosting instead. 
  • Leftovers can be stored in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days.


Calories: 735kcal | Carbohydrates: 101g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 162mg | Sodium: 566mg | Potassium: 278mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 64g | Vitamin A: 1170IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 3mg

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