Classic Red Velvet Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting

December 3, 2019

This Classic Red Velvet Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting is a healthier option to the decadent classic—Red Velvet Cake! Not only is it completely moist + fluffy, but it’s also filled with a velvety cream cheese buttercream that when paired with this fluffy cake (made with premium cocoa powder), they all work amazingly together. A definite crowd-pleasing cake for any occasion, celebration, or ‘treat yo’ self day!

Classic Red Velvet Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting

I’ve been so excited to share this recipe with you guys! It’s been a month overdue! Haha.

When it comes to Birthday cakes, there isn’t a time that I had a second thought about making them. It’s a tradition in my house.

For the past few years, I’ve made my own cake along with my husband and son’s. And while my efforts in the beginning were truly all made with love (because the look wasn’t always there. Haha), now, I can finally feel confident that my efforts reflect both love + beauty.

Classic Red Velvet Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting

If you’ve been an avid reader of Orchids + Sweet Tea, then you’ve probably come across my previous cake recipes! While my catalog for cakes is still being built, I do have a few recipes that are a must try!

Need Cake Ideas For a Celebration?

This Vegan Carrot Cake + Orange-infused Frosting isn’t your traditional version of carrot cake. Not only is it completely vegan, fluffy, + moist, but it’s also loaded with shredded carrots, orange zest, pecan/walnuts, pineapple, and a ton of warm, fall spices that create one decadent flavor.

This Vegan Chocolate Cake + Chocolate Buttercream is a healthier option to the decadent classic—Chocolate Cake! 

This Fluffy, Buttery Vanilla Birthday Cake is so moist, delicious, and the best rendition of a perfectly frosted vanilla cake ever made. Not to mention, the airy and fluffy vanilla butter cream which adds a nice velvety taste and texture— perfect for a Birthday or any celebration!

This is K’s first cake (since we made cupcakes for his 1st Birthday!) and we wanted to ensure that he loves it, so we made his favorite–Very Vanilla cake! This recipe is super fluffy, moist, easy, and the best sweet tooth satisfier for sure.

This Vegan Funfetti Cake + Vanilla Buttercream is a healthier option to your classic childhood favorite—funfetti!. Not only is it completely moist + fluffy, but it’s also loaded with sweet little rainbow sprinkles that when paired with this airy vegan vanilla buttercream, they all work amazingly together. 

Classic Red Velvet Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting

OK, so back to this cake. Red Velvet Cake is one of my Husband’s favorite flavors.

Years ago, we would traditionally purchase our cakes from Magnolia Bakery here in NYC, however, since I’ve taken over making them myself (as a way to make it more special), I’ve been aiming to get more creative with the flavors and decor.

Classic Red Velvet Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting

Honestly, Cakes have been super challenging for me since I began pursuing them, however, I still fight through it and create to the best of my ability.

Take this Lemon + Strawberry Layer Spring Cake that I made recently for the Spring. It was my first experimented cake that included real flowers as decor. Yet—it was fun!

With this particular cake, I chose to create a beautiful classic cake that remained fluffy and airy, but also showcased a delicious traditional frosting.

Classic Red Velvet Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting

Tips For Making The Perfect Cake?

Tip #1:

Another thing that I’ve learned about baking a cake is having the right tools. As a basic—-you should have a cake stand (preferably one that has a turnstile table), spatulas (big + small), piping bags + tips, correct baking pans and parchment paper, and if you need to get a bit more fancy—Bake Even Cake Strips (Wilton has some awesome quality ones!), which are such a genius invention.

Have no clue what these are? Whelp, you basically soak them in water before wrapping them around your cake pan while baking. These stripes ensures that your cakes don’t bake with a funny “dome” or anything. Just flat and even.

Tip #2:

Ensuring that you get the right red food coloring is KEY! I always use my tried and true brand, McCormick which is a great premium food coloring.

However, you can always use food gel coloring but you would need a lot less to achieve the perfect red color.

Tip #3:

One of the essential ingredient combos for a light, silky cake texture is baking soda and acid ingredient (usually vinegar or buttermilk). When acid and baking soda reacts, it creates bubbles and helps to create a nice rise for your baked goods, leaving an airy texture.

Tip #4:

Always add your eggs, one at a time. If you’re like me, then you might assume that dumping all the eggs in at the same time would help to get things going more quickly, however, doing this collapses any air bubbles, which as mentioned previously helps to create a fluffy, airy texture.

Therefore, it’s super imperative that you add in your eggs, one at a time, beating them as you add them.

Tip #5:

One of my latest tricks to a perfect cake has been to ensure that ALL of my dry ingredients are sifted. Trust me, ya’ll—-this works!

Making all the dry ingredients fully sifted makes things airy, as you’ve guessed it and allows everything to combine faster.

Tip #6:

Never Over-mix! When creating a cake, it’s so important to add the dry ingredients and wet ingredients alternately and as soon as everything is combined very well, THAT’S IT!

Over-mixing creates a more dense cake.

Classic Red Velvet Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting

Looking for a Healthier Sweetener Option?

The Best Healthy Sugar Alternatives + Substitutes list is all about finding better ways to enjoy your favorite sweets without compromising your healthy lifestyle. For those who follow a vegetarian and/or vegan lifestyle, this lists offers a few great ideas to incorporate healthy sweeteners into your diet.

Classic Red Velvet Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting

While I chose to use a premium cocoa powder by Ghirardelli, I often use Cacao powder as a healthier alternative.

Classic Red Velvet Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting

What is Cacao really? Cacao vs. Cocoa.

OK, so can we talk about Cacao for a sec? Did you know that Cacao AND Cocoa are the same thing?

I know. Insane. I was totally confused about this for a long time and honestly assumed that once was healthier than the other. However, it’s come to be determined that they are just used interchangeably.

Chocolate is actually made from Cacao beans (or seeds). It’s said that companies who use the term ‘Cacao’ are referring to the beans, pods, or ground up version of the beans. However, the term Cocoa is often referred to as the powdered version of it all (which is formed after the fat is pressed out of the bean).

Classic Red Velvet Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting

Of course there’s a whole process that happens and you can find out more about that here.

However, be mindful that since Cocoa has the fat removed for it to be powder-like, it does make Cacao a greater option in terms of health benefits.

Cacao has a host of health benefits which include: antioxidant properties, heart-protective and anti-cancer properties, contains iron and tryptophan (which is an amino acid that helps the body make serotonin—a relaxing chemical).

Lover of Red Velvet? Try these delicious recipes!

These Vegan Red Velvet Baked Donuts are the perfect way to indulge your sweet tooth without compromising healthier ingredients. These donuts are perfectly sweet, fluffy, and can be whipped together in the matter of a few short minutes, just requiring one bowl. A great addition to the holidays and fun for the entire family. Gluten-free option available.

This Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes + Vanilla Buttercream recipe is the perfect way to indulge your sweet tooth without the dairy and other not so great ingredients. They are perfectly sweet, fluffy, and can be whipped together in the matter of a few short minutes.

Classic Red Velvet Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting

Now, let’s dig right into this recipe, shall we?

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease (with unsalted butter) AND line with parchment paper the following cake pans: THREE 8-inch round cake pans.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the Almond milk and Apple Cider Vinegar. Set aside for 5-10 minutes. This creates the dairy-free ‘Buttermilk’.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and sea salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer (attached with a paddle), beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the oil and vanilla. Mix for a minute or two, until well combined, scraping the bottom and sides as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until well combined.

Now, add the red food coloring until desired shade of red is achieved.

On low speed, add in HALF the dry ingredients and HALF the ‘buttermilk’ and continue to mix until well incorporated and batter is smooth, about 1-2 minutes.

Add in the remaining dry ingredients and ‘buttermilk’ and continue to mix.

Pour batter evenly into prepared pans, spreading everything around for a perfect roundness. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the center of the cakes come out clean using a toothpick.

Once done, remove cakes from the oven and let cool completely. **NOTE: I often let my cakes cool for 30 minutes or until them are very cool when touched and then place them in the refrigerator to cool completely for another hour or so; this makes icing easier.**

To Make Cream Cheese Frosting/Buttercream:

Simply combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer & beat together on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and heavy cream, continuing to mix on medium speed until you reach the desired consistency. **Add more heavy (1 Tbsp at a time if too thick) or powdered sugar (for more thickness).*

Assembly:

Using a large knife (or cake slicer), slice a thin layer of cake off the tops of each cake to create a flat surface. **NOTE: Sometimes this step is not needed, especially when you use the cake strips as mentioned in the Tips above.**

Place first cake layer on your cake stand and evenly cover the top with buttercream. Now, top with 2nd layer and evenly cover the top with the same buttercream **NOTE: Repeat another step if using 3-layers.**

Once fully layered, add remaining buttercream atop cake and spread it over the tops and sides of cake, evenly. **NOTE: Adding a thin layer of buttercream around cake and chilling it for 30 minutes to 1 hour before adding remaining buttercream does the trick for an easier frosting of cake; this is called a ‘crumb coat’.**

Once fully chilled, create small little designs of the buttercream using a piping bag + tip around the sides and top of cake. Chill for 5 minutes to ensure that buttercream sets. To be fancy, decorate with flowers or Sprinkles, or whatever. Slice and enjoy!

Bon Appetit!

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you choose to make this Classic Red Velvet Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting recipe or any other recipe from us, be sure to tag us on Instagram at #Orchidsandsweettea so that we can share the love!

Classic Red Velvet Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting
Classic Red Velvet Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting

Classic Red Velvet Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
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Ingredients

Red Velvet Cake:

  • 1 cup organic all purpose flour (I use Bob's Red Mill; See Notes!)
  • 1/2 cup Super fine cake flour (I use Bob's Red Mill; See Notes!)
  • 4 Tbsps unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1 1/2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (I use Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 cup organic pure cane sugar (I use Wholesome Organic Sweetener)
  • 1/2 cup Almond milk  (You can use your fave plant-based milk)
  • 1 Tbsps Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 large organic egg, room temp.
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil  (See Notes!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tbsps Red food coloring (I use McCormicks)
  • 2 Tbsps premium Cacao Powder (I use Ghirardelli)

Cream Cheese Frosting/Buttercream:

  • 8 oz. organic cream cheese, softened at room temp.  (I use Organic Valley)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4-5 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 Tbsps organic heavy cream (I use Organic Valley)
  • 6 Tbsps unsalted butter, softened at room temp.

Instructions

  • Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease (with unsalted butter) AND line with parchment paper the following cake pans: THREE 8-inch round cake pans.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the Almond milk and Apple Cider Vinegar. Set aside for 5-10 minutes. This creates the dairy-free 'Buttermilk'.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and sea salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer (attached with a paddle), beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the oil and vanilla. Mix for a minute or two, until well combined, scraping the bottom and sides as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until well combined.
  • Now, add the red food coloring until desired shade of red is achieved.
  • On low speed, add in HALF the dry ingredients and HALF the 'buttermilk' and continue to mix until well incorporated and batter is smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add in the remaining dry ingredients and 'buttermilk' and continue to mix.
  • Pour batter evenly into prepared pans, spreading everything around for a perfect roundness. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the center of the cakes come out clean using a toothpick.
  • Once done, remove cakes from the oven and let cool completely. **NOTE: I often let my cakes cool for 30 minutes or until them are very cool when touched and then place them in the refrigerator to cool completely for another hour or so; this makes icing easier.**

To Make Cream Cheese Frosting/Buttercream:

  • Simply combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer & beat together on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and heavy cream, continuing to mix on medium speed until you reach the desired consistency. **Add more heavy (1 Tbsp at a time if too thick) or powdered sugar (for more thickness).*

Assembly:

  • Using a large knife (or cake slicer), slice a thin layer of cake off the tops of each cake to create a flat surface. **NOTE: Sometimes this step is not needed, especially when you use the cake strips as mentioned in the Tips above.**
  • Place first cake layer on your cake stand and evenly cover the top with buttercream. Now, top with 2nd layer and evenly cover the top with the same buttercream **NOTE: Repeat another step if using 3-layers.**
  • Once fully layered, add remaining buttercream atop cake and spread it over the tops and sides of cake, evenly. **NOTE: Adding a thin layer of buttercream around cake and chilling it for 30 minutes to 1 hour before adding remaining buttercream does the trick for an easier frosting of cake; this is called a ‘crumb coat’.**
  • Once fully chilled, create small little designs of the buttercream using a piping bag + tip around the sides and top of cake. Chill for 5 minutes to ensure that buttercream sets. To be fancy, decorate with flowers or Sprinkles, or whatever. Slice and enjoy!
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

FLOUR: If you don’t have cake flour, you can always just use all-purpose flour entirely instead. 
LAYERS: For THREE 6-inch layer cake, just DOUBLE the ingredient measurements; for THREE 8-inch layer cake or TWO 9-inch layer cake, just TRIPLE the ingredient measurements.
STORAGE: Keep cake tightly wrapped using plastic wrap and refrigerated for about 1 week.
RED VELVET CUPCAKES: This recipe yields about 30 cupcakes. Simply bake for 18-20 minutes instead, until centers come out clean.
OIL: Instead of vegetable oil, you can also use Canola oil, if preferred.

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Classic Red Velvet Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting.

ORCHIDS + SWEET TEA

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