Not-So-Red Velvet Cake
Author: adapted from CHOW
Prep time: 45 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 1 hour 20 mins
  • Cake:
  • 2½ cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 2½ tablespoons water
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Frosting:
  • 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 16 ounces (1 pound) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  1. For the cake:
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease two 9” cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  4. Mix the cocoa and water together in a small bowl until smooth and set side.
  5. Place the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and beat for three minutes, scraping the bowl down as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl down in between additions. Add vanilla. Blend in the cocoa mixture.
  6. On low speed, add ½ of the dry ingredients followed by all of the buttermilk. Lastly, blend in the remaining dry ingredients.
  7. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes. The cake will pull away from the sides of the pan and the top will spring back when gently pressed. Do not overbake.
  8. Remove from oven and cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Use a small metal spatula to go around the edges of the pans. Flip pans out onto another cooling rack and then invert cakes to cool completely on a rack. Be sure to remove parchment paper.
  9. For the frosting:
  10. Combine all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir on low speed until blended. Increase the speed and beat until completely smooth.
  11. Gently wipe around the edge of the cakes to release any loose crumbs. Place one cake layer onto a serving plate, bottom side up. Spread 1 cup frosting on top. Place the second cake layer over the frosting, bottom side up.
  12. Cut the corner off a small freezer bag and push a #21 star tip partially through the hole. Place 1¼ cups frosting into the bag and set aside.
  13. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake using an angled metal spatula.
  14. Pipe either shells or stars around the edge of the top and bottom of the cake. Swirl a decoration in the center.
  15. Serve at room temperature.
  16. Betsy's tidbits:
  17. If you want to make a Red Velvet Cake, add 1 ounce of red food coloring (I prefer Wilton's "no taste" red) to the cocoa and decrease the water to 1-1/2 tablespoons.
  18. Decorating the cake with swirls or shells is optional. If you choose not to, add the frosting to the top of the cake.
The pictures for this recipe go back and forth between a Red Velvet Cake and a Not-So-Red Velvet Cake. This was done intentionally so that you are able to get a glimpse at both cakes and decide which you prefer to bake.
Recipe by Desserts Required at