Slices of Red Velvet cake on serving plates
Red Velvet Cake
24 Votes
Rate This Recipe
Prep: 20 min
Bake: 25 min
Yield: one 8-inch layer cake about 6-8 servings
An American favorite since the 1920s, Red Velvet Cake's creation has been attributed to John A. Adams, owner of the Adams Extract Company and later, New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel, where it was a popular menu item during the 1950s. Red Velvet differs from Devil's Food by using cocoa instead of chocolate.


  • 2 1/4 cups sifted Swans Down Cake Flour®️ (sifted, then measured)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs


  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.
  2. WHISK buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla in a small bowl to blend. Cream the sugar and butter together in the bowl of a stand or electric mixer, until well blended. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition.
  3. ADD the dry ingredients in 4 additions alternating with the buttermilk mixture in 3 additions.
  4. DIVIDE batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until the tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 27 minutes. Cool in pans on racks for 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks lined with parchment paper; cool completely.
  5. MAKE the frosting by creaming together the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand or hand-held electric mixer, until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
  6. PLACE 1 cake layer, flat side up, on a platter or cake stand. Spread 1 cup of frosting over top of the cake. Top with second cake layer, flat side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.

*The cake can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.

  • Savvy says:

    Please email me your red velvet recipe. Thank you

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Savvy, Your info was sent to our Consumer Affairs Department. Someone will get the email out to you. Happy Baking!

  • Vivian Harris says:

    Please email me the red velvet cake recipe and frosting recipe

  • Carla H says:

    I make this every year. I stated earlier my daughters “borred ” my print out from the box. so i fiolowed this to the letter twice tonight. and the cakes are flat. I just realized you all left out the yeast. Cakes made with ake flur require yeast to rise,

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Carla, We are so sorry that you had the happen. Your information was forwarded to our Consumer Affairs Department. Someone will be reaching out to help. Thanks for being a loyal Swans Down baker!

  • Carla Ham says:

    I actually called the customer service number because it used to be on the box. The recipe for the red velvet cake it disappeared so they were kind enough to send it to me. And my daughters have stolen my recipes. Can’t find it anywhere.

  • Cheryl love says:

    I really like the recipes

  • Amy Adams says:

    Make sure you’re spooning your flour into your measuring cup and leveling it with the back of a knife! Don’t dip and scoop! I also added an additional 1/4 tsp of baking powder to this recipe. Cake turned out perfectly!

  • Trina says:

    Can you publish the original frosting on the box that uses milk instead? That was really tasty.

  • Robin says:

    Can I use unbleached Cake Flour in the red velvet recipe.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Robin, Here is a note from our Consumer Affairs Department on the importance of using bleached cake flour for baked goods:

      Cake Flour: The flour with the lowest protein content (5 to 8%). The relative lack of gluten-forming proteins makes cake flour ideal for tender baked goods, such as cakes (of course), but also biscuits, muffins and scones. Cake flour is generally chlorinated, a bleaching process that further weakens the gluten proteins and, just as important, alters the flour’s starch to increase its capacity to absorb more liquid and sugar, and thus ensure a moist cake.

      Hope this information is helpful. Happy baking!

  • Juanita Isaac says:

    I love the swans cake flour, and it make good red velvet cakes and great pound cakes and sometimes it very hard to find in Georgia.

  • Elandris says:

    Can this recipe be done without the baking powder because I just have baking soda

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Elandris, While both baking soda and baking powder are both leavening agents, baking soda is much stronger than baking powder and would not be an equal substitute. The reaction between the buttermilk, vinegar, and baking soda help to aid in the leavening process.

  • Jean says:

    How long should the beating process take. Seems like my cake be crumbly what is the secret to this?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Jean, That’s a great question. You should beat or mix your ingredients just until they are incorporated. Visit our Baking Tips page for more information. Happy baking!

  • George Moy says:

    If you have a unopened box of cake flour that isn’t used and expired (3-14-2011) toss it out? Also any recipe for jello cake?(any flavor,mixed cake flour =cherry cake).

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi George, Yes, we think you should throw that box out! Sorry we don’t have any Jello Cake recipes, but will pass this suggestion on to The Kitchen. Happy baking!

  • Sheila says:

    Can the flour in this particular recipe be replaced with a gluten free all purpose flour? If so, would I need to adjust the formula in this recipe?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Sheila, We imagine it can and recommend that you contact your gluten free all purpose flour manufacturer for the flour conversion. Happy baking!

  • Gloria says:

    Ive made this and a chocolate cake from the recipe’s here, however they keep turning out very fluffy but crumbly and dry. Is this the normal texture?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Gloria, We are so sorry that you had this experience. Your information has been forwarded to our Consumer Relations Department. Someone will be reaching out. Happy baking!

  • MICHAEL says:

    Can you use oil instead of butter?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Michael, You can use oil instead of butter use 3/4 the amount of oil for the specified amount of butter in a recipe. Note that the oil doesn’t have as much flavor as butter but will make a moist cake. Happy baking!

  • Sheri Wilson says:

    How do you get the cakes to rise so perfectly and to that particular height in the video?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Sheri, Great question. This recipe calls for, and the cake should rise to a nice height using 2 – 8″ pans. Using a larger pan would result in a thinner layer. Some bakers don’t realize that the difference in capacity of an 8″ to a 9″ round pan is 2 cups. It makes a big difference. AND…sometimes Red Velvet can be a little tricky. Happy baking!

  • Fran says:

    The bake time is 150 minutes. What kind of cake bakes for 2½ hours. You need to adjust the time or you will be Marie calendared, for burning people cakes and homes!! My question is why change the recipe from the original to this new one? What makes this one better?

    • Swans Down says:

      Goodness gracious! We don’t want that to happen. Thank you Fran that’s a great catch. Prep time should be 20 minutes and bake time approximately 25 minutes. We’ve updated the recipe on the site and have forwarded your info to Consumer Relations. They will reach out to help with the old to new recipe question. Happy Baking!

  • Antoinette Moore says:

    I have a new oven and my pound cakes are not cooking throughout at 325, so what temp should I set it for and for how long?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Antoinette, It’s difficult to say. Most all of Swans Downs Pound Cake recipes bake at 325 and at different time ranges depending on the recipe itself. But all ovens perform differently. Since your oven is new, have you used an oven thermometer to test to see if it is heating to the correct level? It may need to be calibrated. Your oven manufacturer may have a recommendation for you as well. And, it may take a little trail and error for you to adjust to the new ovens performance level. Happy baking.

  • Rosanelle Woods says:

    Hi, thanks for the information on Red Velvet cupcakes. We just made them and they came out pretty good. Do they need to be refrigerated?

  • Marsha A Thomas says:

    What do I do to make cookies with this recipe

  • Teresa says:

    I want to make 3 layers and I notice it was answer to add more flour but what the other ingredients?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Teresa, You can use 1 and 1/2 of the ingredients the recipe calls for. Happy Baking!

      2 1/4 cups sifted Swans Down Cake Flour®️ (sifted, then measured) – add 1 1/8 cup
      3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder – add 1 1/2 tablespoon
      1 teaspoon baking powder – add 1/2 teaspoon
      1 teaspoon baking soda – add 1/2 teaspoon
      1/2 teaspoon salt – add 1/4 teaspoon
      1 cup buttermilk – add 1/2 cup
      1 tablespoon red food coloring – add 1/2 tablespoon
      1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar – add 1/2 teaspoon
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract – add 1/2 teaspoon
      1 1/2 cups sugar – add 3/4 cup
      1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature – add 1/4 cup
      2 large eggs – add 1 egg

  • Frank Austin says:

    I made this for the first time yesterday 12-10-21 and it turned out perfect

  • Paige Hartman says:

    Step 3 is confusing to me. I’ve read it many times. I want to make this for Christmas, but I’m not sure if I can if I can figure out step 3. Help please.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Paige,
      Step 3: It may be easier to divide the dry ingredients into 4 portions and the buttermilk mixture into 3 portions, then:
      After you add the eggs, add
      1/4 of the dry ingredients, 1/3 of the buttermilk, mix just to combine
      add 1/4 dry ingredients, 1/3 buttermilk, mix
      add 1/4 dry ingredients, 1/3 buttermilk, mix
      add 1/4 dry ingredients. Mix and into the prepared pan. Be careful to not overmix.

      If you need additional assistance please reach out to our Customer Relations Department. They will be happy to walk you through it. 1-800-535-1961. Happy Baking!

  • Suzanne Renteria says:

    Can I halve the recipe to make chocoflan with this?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Suzanne, What an interesting combination. While sometimes halving a recipe is not always successful, making cupcakes with the remaining batter is always an added treat! Happy Baking!

  • Kimberly Walker says:

    Can I use this same recipe but in a pound cake pan?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Kimberly, You can use a loaf pan for this recipe. You will need to use 2 (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans. Make sure to not fill the pans more than 2/3 of the way full. Happy Baking!

  • Kristy Rodriguez says:

    Is this the recipe that was printed on your flour boxes years ago?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Kristy, The recipe on is slightly different. Here is the historic Red Velvet recipe. Happy Baking!

      Makes 1 (3-layer) 9-inch cake

      2 ½ cups sifted Swans Down® Cake Flour
      1 ½ cups sugar
      3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
      1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
      1 teaspoon salt
      1 ½ cups vegetable oil
      1 cup whole buttermilk
      2 large eggs
      1 (1-ounce) bottle red food coloring
      2 teaspoons vanilla extract
      1 teaspoon vinegar
      Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
      Garnish: white chocolate curls

      Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Beat in oil, buttermilk, and eggs at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar. Pour ¾ cup of cake batter into each cake pan,
      turning to distribute batter evenly.

      Bake 20 minutes. Let cool in pans 5 minutes; remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting evenly between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish with white chocolate curls, if desired.

  • Wenona Johnson says:

    Can I use this in 11×15 pan ?
    Thank you

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Wenona, You can use an 11 x 15 but it would make a very thin Jelly Roll type of layer. You would need to adjust the bake time to approx. 12 – 15 minutes or when an inserted cake tester comes out clean. It will bake much quicker. Happy Baking!

  • Rosanelle Woods says:

    I want to make red velvet cupcakes using the red velvet cake recipe. What should I do different? Thank you.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Rosanelle, You would not have to do anything different to the recipe except adjust your bake time. The Red Velvet Cake recipe will make 24 to 30 standard size cupcakes, or about 48 to 60 mini depending if you fill them 1/2 full or 2/3 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let us know how they turn out. Happy Baking!

  • Esther Younce says:

    I want to make this tomorrow in my bundt pan, how long should I bake it at.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Ester, This recipe should convert nicely to a Bundt pan. Be sure to only fill the pan 2/3 of the way and bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 – 35 minutes. Happy Baking!

  • Ashley B. says:

    I love the recipe but I was just wondering can I use a 12 cup bundt pan?

  • Lawana Croskey says:

    I love your flour and this recipe. I have made the cake many times. It is one of my most requested cakes. Do you know about how many mini cupcakes it will make?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Lawana, Great question! A 2 layer 8″ cake would convert to approximately 24 to 30 standard or 48 to 60 mini cupcakes depending if you fill them 1/2 full or 2/3 full. Happy Baking!

  • Natalie Tosney says:

    Hi, from the uk and we measure/weigh rather than use cups – what would the weight be for the flour please. Thank you

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Natalie!
      1 cup Swans Down Cake Flour is 1 standard, 8 fluid ounce measuring cup or = 3.5 ounces sifted cake flour (weight) or 100 grams.
      Or = 4.5 ounces unsifted cake flour (weight) or 130 grams.
      If you have additional inquiry’s please contact our Consumer Affairs Department at 1-504-272-2939. Happy baking!

  • Paula says:

    I find myself a little confused about the measurement of the sifted cake flour, If the recipe stated 3 cups before the sifting how much do I measure for the recipe after the sifting if the 3 cups was listed for the recipe?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Paula, We apologize if the wording is confusing. The paraphrase after the ingredient is to reiterate that you need to sift the flour first, then measure out the 2 1/4 cups. Please reach out to our Customer Affairs department if this is still confusing. They will be happy to walk you thorough the recipe. Happy Baking!

  • Amy says:

    Will this also work for mini bundts? If so, what would be the difference in baking time?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Amy, These would make the cutest little mini Bundt cakes. We’d recommend to grease and flour the Bundt pans well, fill each mold 2/3 way and test at 20 minutes. A tester inserted into the center should come out clean when done. We’d LOVE to see how they turn out. Happy baking!

  • Pat Phillips says:

    Can I use regular AP flour instead of cake flour?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Pat, We suggest you remove 2 tablespoons per cup when want to use all purpose flour and recipe is formulated for cake flour. Please know that you may see a difference in texture. We also recommend one to contact the all purpose flour manufacturer to confirm with them what their recommendation is. Happy baking!

  • Melissa says:

    Can this cake be baked in a 9 x 13” pan?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Melissa, Yes you can definitely bake the Red Velvet cake in a 9 x 13 pan. You may need to adjust the bake time a bit longer. Test at the 27 minutes, and adjust if needed. Happy baking!

  • Susan says:

    I’d love to have a German Chocolate cake recipe.

  • Eva Lewis says:

    This cake flour is the best I been using it for years love it .

  • Lisa says:

    My grandmother has used swansdown for as long as I can remember. My mom has as well and I would love to, however it is very difficult to find in California (San Bernardino County) What’s the best way to get this in my area?

  • Fannie says:

    I like three layer cakes. What is the recipe to make a three layer Red Velvet Cake using Swans Down flour?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Fannie, You can adjust the ingredient measurements by adding 1/2 more of each ingredient to make a 3 layer Red Velvet Cake. For instance, this recipe calls for “2 1/4 cups sifted Swans Down Cake Flour®️ (sifted, then measured)”. Adjust this measurement to 3 cups pls 6 tablespoons. Happy baking!

  • Dyrieathea Smith says:

    I love Swan Down flower I enjoying cooking with swan

  • Linda says:

    Swans Down, love this recipe and the flour, my grandmother used it and now I do, I will search until I find Swans Down or no baking will be done. Is there a recipe book?

  • Antoinette Harris says:

    I absolutely love this brand of cake flour. How can I do commercials for this brand?

  • P J Keenum says:

    Please make your pictures of the finished recipe so we can copy them. I like to copy recipes with photos for my file.
    Thanks, PJ

  • linda ervin says:

    i have allways used swans cake flour making my cakes love it would noy use any other kind

  • Emma J. Bentley says:


  • Ariela Marie says:

    Can I use a 9 inch cake pan???

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Ariela, You can definitely use 9 inch cake panes for this recipe. Just watch your bake time as it may bake a bit quicker than it would with the 8 inch ones. Happy baking!

  • Tammy says:

    How can I become a spokesperson that use your product for baking goods. We love your product and use it to bake our goods! Could you send us your product to help us with our nonprofit organization. This would help us with serving children, youth and families that are disproportionate individuals.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Tammy, Thank you for reaching out to Swans Down Cake Flour. We will forward your information to our Consumer Affairs department. Someone will be in touch.

  • danielle james says:

    can I make cupcakes with the same measurement?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Danielle, You can use cake batter per the recipe for cupcakes. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Lower baking time to 15 – 20 minutes and enjoy!

  • jean moshiri says:

    Love the product…..never had a failure!!!!

  • Vickie Rabon says:

    Would love more recipes and a cook book

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