Red Velvet Cake

Red velvet cake complements the wispy January sky, filling us with joy and cream cheese. It’s a dessert that everyone loves, am I right? Pristine on the outside, with a harlot-y interior, its taste total comfort and indulgence. In learning to cook, reading recipes and discovering baking isn’t so daunting, I am becoming someone who can make as well as someone who appreciates. Most of my life I have been an observer and reporter, a fairly reliable one, I think. Now I am teaching myself how to create – sometimes out of thin air – that which is meaningful and good. And so, without further ado, as Marie Antionette most likely did not say, let them eat cake!

Red Velvet CakeRed Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


For the cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 oz red food coloring
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 (room temperature) eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (room temperature) buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar

For the frosting:

  • 16 oz softened cream cheese
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar


For the cake:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 and prepare cake pans with butter and flour.

Step 2: Sift flour, then measure, sift together with baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Step 3: In a small bowl make a paste of the cocoa powder and food coloring.

Step 4: In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment cream butter and sugar until white and fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla, cocoa paste, some of the buttermilk, half the dry ingredients, the rest of the buttermilk and the remainder of the dry ingredients.

Step 5: Finally, and quickly, combine baking soda and vinegar and mix into batter. Pour batter into pans and bake immediately, 25-30 minutes.

For the frosting:

In the mixer combine cream cheese and butter. Add vanilla, salt and sugar. Keep chilled until ready to use.

Notes: Two things: Red food coloring stains your fingers. Substitute for buttermilk is 1 tablespoon white vinegar into one cup of milk.

Happy One Week Birthday, Violet Maeve.


Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road.


  1. John, I consulted a couple of sources (Joy of Baking, Pioneer Woman) as well as recipes for Waldorf-Astoria cake. I’ve never made it before, but it turned out great. Thanks for reading!

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