Red Velvet Birthday Cake

There’s something about making birthday cakes which always causes me to break out in a cold sweat. Since it’s a cake for a special ocassion, there’s a lot of pressure not to mess it up. Per birthday tradition, it was time for me to make a cake for the Englishman, and this year he requested red velvet birthday cake.

red velvet birthday cakeI’ve never made red velvet cake before and normally my cakes turn out to be more like quick breads, but I was down for the challenge. I ordered special cake pans, got all-natural food coloring, and consulted my baking guru Karla for moral support.

With my game face on, I scoured the internet for red velvet birthday cake recipes and finally decided on this one from Real Simple Magazine.

After getting my cakes ready and in the oven, it was time to tackle the frosting.  I was initially going to go with a buttercream frosting, but I didn’t allocate enough butter, so I went with a simple vanilla frosting recipe instead.  Martha Stewart has never steered me wrong, so I went with her recipe.

The cakes came out perfectly cooked (although not as red as I hoped due to the natural food coloring) and after letting them cool for a half hour, it was time to frost.

red velvet cakes

My frosting skills are pretty amateur, but I figured the cake was going to be covered in birthday candles anyway, so if it was a little uneven, it wouldn’t be the total end of the world.

red velvet cake frostingThen came the official taste test.  Would the birthday boy like his cake?  I’m happy to report that he declared it was one of the best cakes he’s ever had.  Red velvet birthday cake success!

I’ve included the cake recipe below in case you want to make this cake yourself.  It’s very easy to follow and the end result is a delicious, moist (I know) cake.  Traditional red velvet calls for cream cheese frosting, but I think the vanilla worked perfectly.

red velvet birthday cake

Red Velvet Birthday Cake (from Real Simple)


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk

Vanilla Frosting Ingredients:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons cashew milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt


Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a separate bowl using a stand mixer or hand mixer beat the butter and sugar on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the eggs, vanilla, vinegar, and food coloring until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Slowly add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until well combined.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean for 45 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pans for 15-30 minutes.

While the cakes are baking, make your frosting. In a small bowl, beat together butter, sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt until light and fluffy.

Transfer one of your cakes to a plate and spread with frosting. Place the second cake on top and spread the remaining frosting on the cake. Serve and enjoy!

Now that I’ve conquered this cake, I’m ready to try another one.  What should I bake next?

2 thoughts on “Red Velvet Birthday Cake

  1. Karla @ Foodologie

    I knew he’d love it! Cake made my a loved one is always better than a store-bought one. It looks great! The only thing I do differently is I put the cakes in the fridge or freezer for a bit before frosting them to make sure they’re really cold.

    I don’t think I’ve ever made red velvet. I’m not usually a big fan but I think I’m going to have to give it a try soon (especially given my cake making obsession).

    1. allie@sweetpotatobites Post author

      I need to try freezing a cake next time. I just let it cool to room temperature before frosting it, but I think having it colder would be beneficial!

      I’m not the biggest red velvet fan either (I think it’s the cream cheese frosting) but this one was great with vanilla. Add it to the list 🙂


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