Red Velvet Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cake

Victoria Wall Harris / Photodisc / Getty Images

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 12 to 16 servings
Yield: 1 cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
491 Calories
25g Fat
64g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 16
Amount per serving
Calories 491
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 8g 42%
Cholesterol 77mg 26%
Sodium 399mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 64g 23%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 49g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 116mg 9%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 104mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Red velvet is a classic American dessert most common in the South but loved by millions all over the world thanks to its moist crumb, delicious flavor, and bright and attractive color. Made nowadays with red food coloring and cocoa powder to achieve the deep red color and flavor, red velvet batter can also be made with beetroot powder or natural food colorings if that's what you prefer. Our recipe also uses vanilla instant pudding in the batter to add moisture, flavor, and sweetness, as you don't need to add sugar to the batter. Besides the pudding, you need some baking staples that you might already have in your pantry, like eggs, milk, and oil. Plan ahead because even if the cake doesn't take long to prepare and bake, you need to cool it off completely before frosting it with our irresistible cream cheese and butter frosting. The cake is topped with crushed pecans for a crunchy touch, but if you need to abstain from nuts you can simply add the frosting and decorate it edible red flowers or firm fresh raspberries.

Red velvet has a humble origin and has been present in the American culinary tradition for over two centuries. What differentiates what we know as red velvet now from older editions lies both in the ingredients and even more in the color and overall aspect. Back then, the attempt was to create a cake that was softer and "velvety"—and thus fancier than the humble coarse-crumbed cake. The addition of cocoa provided color and perhaps the addition of vinegar made it a little red. But that cake transitioned to the bright red one we see today thanks to the FDA approving food coloring as safe for human consumption in the late 1930s. A Texan company that produced extracts and food coloring printed a red velvet cake recipe with food coloring on cards, revamped the distribution of its products, and before you know it the bright red velvet as we know it was born. Found in the form of cupcakes, cookies, shakes, and puddings, among many other treats, there's something special about red velvet cakes. Celebratory, pretty, and nowadays considered romantic and key in celebrating Valentine's Day, red velvet cakes are engraved in American culture.


  • 1 box two-layer white cake mix

  • 1 (4-serving) package instant vanilla pudding mix

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 2 ounces red food coloring

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened

  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar

  • 1 cup pecans, chopped, for topping

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C / Gas 4. Grease and flour 3 (8-inch round) cakes pans. Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, cocoa, vinegar, milk, oil, and food coloring; beat for 4 minutes on medium speed, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl several times.

  3. Distribute the batter among the 2 pans evenly.

  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched in the center.

  5. Cool the cake on racks.

Make the Frosting:

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth and light. Add vanilla and confectioners' sugar; beat until smooth.

  3. Spread frosting over layers and sides, sprinkling each layer with chopped pecans.

  4. Serve and enjoy.