Red Velvet Cake

For batter amounts for pans, see below under ingredients; this recipe can be multiplied. You will need to fill and bake 3 each of the 6-, 9-, 12-, and 15-inch pans; trim to make 1 1/4-inch-high layers. Fill and bake two 4-inch pans; trim to make 1 1/2-inch-high layers.

  • Yield: Makes 5 cups batter
Red Velvet Cake

Photography: Dana Gallagher

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer 2004


  • Unsalted butter, softened, for pans
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • Batter for each 3-inch-deep pan: 4-inch, 1 1/2 cups; 6-inch, 3 1/2 cups; 9-inch, 5 cups; 12-inch, 8 cups; 15-inch, 12 cups


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter pans; line with parchment paper. Butter lining; dust with cocoa, tapping out excess. Set aside. Whisk together flour, salt, and cocoa in a medium bowl; set aside.

  2. Mix sugar and oil on medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk until combined. Add eggs one at a time; mix well after each addition. Mix in food coloring and vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with flour, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.

  3. Stir together baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl. Add baking-soda mixture to batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool completely in pans on wire racks.


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