Red Velvet Birthday Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

In honor of our blog’s first birthday, here is a delicious and celebratory birthday cake!

We’d had red velvet cake before, but didn’t really know what the flavor was. Browsing recipes online, we found out that it’s simply a slightly chocolatey cake with food coloring in it! We suppose next time we could dye it with beet juice. But time was a big factor in this cake, and chemical food coloring was the easy way out! Next time, though, we’ll find out a more natural way to make our cake red.

Actually, we can even make blue velvet cake. Who says it has to be red? Anyone know where it originated? We hear it’s a Southern thing?

Anyway, what drew us to this specific recipe was the frosting. We love cream cheese frosting! We’ve made it before in our carrot cake, but here is a slightly different recipe.

The only thing that we changed here was the amount of food coloring. One bottle was 1 ounce, which was half of what it was called for; we didn’t feel like buying another one, so we just used one. The cake was still significantly red!

Note: There’s still a little time left to enter our birthday giveaway! Hurry; we will announce the winner later today!

Red Velvet Cake, barely adapted from Pinch My Salt


For the cake:

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

*I couldn’t find cake flour, so I made my own.

For the frosting:

  • 16 oz. cream cheese (2 packages), at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick), at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • pinch of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps; set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go.
  5. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined.
  6. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda (It will fizz!). Add it to the cake batter and stir well to combine.
  7. Quickly, divide batter evenly between the cake pans and place them in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  8. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. To remove the cakes from the pan, place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, then gently lift the pan.  Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting.
  9. Frost.