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5 from 3 votes

Southern Red Velvet Cake

Southern Red Velvet Cake comes from an easy and moist red velvet cake recipe that will quickly become a family favorite!
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Servings: 16
Calories: 706kcal
Author: Lucy Brewer



  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup full-fat buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1-2 oz. red food coloring


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 8 oz. block regular cream cheese
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt


  • Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 3 9" round cake pans, then line the bottom with parchment paper and grease and flour the parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa. Set aside.
  • In a separate large mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter and oil for about 3 minutes then add the sugar. Cream together until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs and vinegar and mix until just combined.
  • Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk to egg mixture, mixing after each addition. Add vanilla and food coloring, mixing well.
  • Pour batter evenly into prepared cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until done.
  • Frost with cream cheese icing or cooked white icing.


  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add cream cheese and beat until mixed with butter and fluffy. Add sugar a little at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of bowl, beating just until blended. Add vanilla and salt and mix well.


Tips for Making the Best Red Velvet Cake:
  • One 1-ounce bottle of red food coloring will turn the cake a light red while two will give it a deeper red. I use two bottles. 
  • Imitation vanilla is clear so you can use it for the frosting if you want it to be a little whiter. I rarely have imitation so I use regular. 
  • Be sure you use cake flour. It will give the lightest, most consistent texture to this cake. 
  • Use full-fat buttermilk and don't do a buttermilk substitute. I know everyone says you can do the milk and vinegar thing, but when you're making a recipe like this that calls for one whole cup of buttermilk, it's important to use the real thing for the best flavor. 
  • The butter and oil combination is important! Oil makes a moist red velvet cake but butter gives the most flavor. The recipe I adapted from used only oil so I tweaked it a bit. 
  • Don't be tempted to use more cocoa. 
Slightly adapted from Favorite Recipes from the Clearview Mennonite Church, Volume II, Mrs. Miriam Brenneman's recipe.