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 moist red velvet cake recipe for a few years now. I must have tried 50-60 recipes and finally, I can stop experimenting. 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!

By the way, it really annoys me when someone calls all red colored cakes “red velvet” because that’s not true at all.This cake is supposed to be red, but it should also have some cocoa powder to give it a subtle “chocolicious” kick! These recipes all fit into that category: Best Red Velvet Cupcakes {With Cream Cheese Frosting}, Red Velvet Cookies {With Cake Mix}, Red Velvet Truffles, and Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies .

Traditionally, this easy 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.

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 Moist Cake?

  1. Cream butter and sugar– Until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the eggs– One at a time.
  3. Add wet ingredients– Sour cream, milk, vanilla extract, food coloring and mix.
  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 chocolate marshmallow fluff/cream– Add the marshmallow fluff, cream cheese and cocoa powder and whip.
  8. Decorate cake– Spread chocolate marshmallow fluff/cream all over the cake and stick mini marshmallows.
  9. Serve– Enjoy!

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 Cake Moist?

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.

Variations For Easy Red Velvet 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.

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 and not really red velvet.

Don’t replace butter with oil– Because in this moist red velvet cake 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 red velvet cake without food coloring? Some people like to use beet juice.

Should I use oil, butter or shortening? Salted butter or unsalted butter? Plain flour or self-rising flour? Sour cream or buttermilk? I am a big fan of using unsalted butter in this cake. It really enhances the flavor without being too greasy like shortening. I always use all-purpose flour since I add baking powder and baking soda separately. I have tried both, sour cream and buttermilk and feel that sour cream gave me the best results, hands down!

Red velvet cake mix vs scratch? Scratch is always best and tastes so fresh but here is no shame in making red velvet cake with cake mix, especially when you are short on time.

Are red velvet and chocolate cake the same?How is red velvet cake different from chocolate cake? Red velvet cake vs vanilla? No, they are not the same. Classic red velvet cake has a strong vanilla flavor but hints of chocolate flavor too. Chocolate cake is pure “chocolicious” bliss and packed with melted chocolate or cocoa powder. Red velvet cake and vanilla cake are different too. Vanilla cake has no cocoa powder but red velvet does.

Why is my red velvet 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

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.

More Classic Cake Recipes

Slice of Easy Homemade Red Velvet Cake on Yellow Plate
Partially Sliced Best Red Velvet Cake With Icing Dripping
Spoonful of Velvet Cake on Yellow Plate
Tiny Kinds Hands Decorating Cake With Mini Marshmallows
Slice of Easy Homemade Red Velvet Cake on Yellow Plate
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
5 from 4 ratings
Rate this Recipe »

Best Red Velvet Cake Recipe

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Decorating time: 15 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 5 mins
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.
Yield: 9 Slices



  • 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 my best 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
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Calories: 735
Author: Abeer Rizvi

12 comments on “Best Red Velvet Cake {From Scratch}”

  1. I made the cakes wrapped them in the pans with syran wrap once they cooled..they were super moist and perfect!!! Great recipe!!!! Btw…loved that I didn’t need buttermilk…ty5 stars

  2. This recipe was a triumph. I’m an amateur baker, with little baking experience. I followed your instructions precisely and the cake turned out just like your pictures. Thank you! 5 stars

  3. Hi – If I want to make 2 10-inch cakes (pans are 10×2) – would I double this recipe?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating