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Red Velvet Sheet Cake Recipe & Video

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This Red Velvet Sheet Cake is a one layer cake that is buttery sweet with a soft and tender crumb. My favorite frosting for this cake is a Cream Cheese Frosting as its tangy flavor complements the flavor and sweetness of the cake. You can serve this cake year round but it is especially well suited for Christmas and Valentine's Day with its bright red color. For those who would prefer a layer cake I have a Red Velvet Layer Cake recipe here.   


If you look beyond the red color of this cake, you will find that it is a butter cake with a mild chocolate flavor. It is made with cake flour which is a low gluten flour (it does not contain baking powder or salt) which gives the cake a soft and tender crumb. If you can't find it in your local grocery store, you could use an equal amount of all purpose flour or you can make cake flour. For 1 cup cake flour, take 1 cup all purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons and replace with 2 tablespoons cornstarch. The mild chocolate flavor of the cake comes from unsweetened cocoa powder and you can use regular unsweetened or Dutch processed cocoa powder. Buttermilk is used instead of milk in this cake batter as it contributes to the cake's wonderfully moist and tender crumb. Buttermilk has a thick creamy texture with a rich tangy and buttery taste. You can make a good substitute for commercial buttermilk by adding 1 1/2 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar, cider vinegar, or lemon juice to 1 1/2 cups (360 ml/grams) of milk and letting this mixture sit at room temperature about 10 minutes before using.

While you could frost the Red Velvet Cake with any frosting, my favorite is this delicious Cream Cheese Frosting. The frosting is also used to pipe pretty rosettes. And if you want to garnish the cake with red cake crumbs, simply remove the edges of the baked cake and either process them in your food processor until you have fine crumbs or you can use a box grater.

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Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Sheet Cake: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a non stick cooking spray, a 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) baking pan. Then line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

In a bowl, sift or whisk the flour with the salt and cocoa powder.  

In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract, on medium high speed, until light and fluffy (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

In a measuring cup, carefully whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture (in three additions), with the buttermilk (in two additions), beginning and ending with the flour.

In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly mix or fold into the cake batter. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon or offset spatula. Bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean (the cake will be starting to pull away from the sides of the pan). Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes. Then place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan. Remove the parchment paper and re-invert onto an oiled wire rack (this will prevent the cakes from sticking to the wire rack). Let cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting: In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment (or with a hand mixer), whip the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. Transfer to a bowl. In the same bowl as you whipped the cream, using the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the cream cheese, vanilla extract, and confectioners sugar until smooth and fluffy. Gradually fold, or beat the whipped cream into the cream cheese frosting until smooth and of spreading consistency. Remove about one cup of the frosting and place in a piping bag fitted with a star tip (I used Wilton 1M #ad). (This frosting will used to pipe rosettes on the top of the cake.)

Assemble: Place the cake on your serving plate. Spread the remaining frosting on the top and sides of the cake. With a sharp knife cut the cake into 18 to 24 pieces. Pipe rosettes in the center of each piece of cake. This cake is at its best the day it is made, but it can be covered and stored for a few days in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving. The cake can also be frozen. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.

Serves about 18 to 24 people.

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Red Velvet Sheet Cake Recipe:

3 cups plus 3 tablespoons (375 grams) cake flour

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) fine kosher salt

1/4 cup (25 grams) regular unsweetened or Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups (400 grams) granulated white sugar

2 teaspoons (8 grams) pure vanilla extract

3 large eggs (150 grams out of shell), at room temperature

1 1/2 cups (360 ml/grams) buttermilk, at room temperature

Scant 3 tablespoons liquid red food coloring (I used 1 fluid ounce bottle (29 ml) of McCormick's liquid red food coloring #ad)

1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) white distilled vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) baking soda

Cream Cheese Frosting:

16 ounces (450 grams) full fat cream cheese, at room temperature

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

1 cup (115 grams) confectioners (icing or powdered) sugar, sifted

1 1/4 cups (300 ml/grams) cold heavy whipping cream (cream with a 35-40% butterfat content)

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