Been Baking: Red Velvet Cake

Don't let the shoddy photography or tragic icing fool you—this cake was delicious. It was supposed to be a birthday cake for W, but my cake-baking neighbor saved me for the pressure by bringing over a yummy golf-themed carrot cake the morning of the big day (Side note: When looking for a place to settle down, do look for neighbors who bake—I highly recommend it.).

I'd never made a red velvet cake before, but I've had many after I got over the fact that it was so trendy. Ella's first birthday cake had a layer of red velvet and it was amazing. This being my first, I wasn't going for amazing. I was just hoping for edible and red, food-coloring stained fingers crossed.

What a pleasant surprise—this was pretty darn delish. Although not quite as moist and velvet-y as I've had before, and maybe not as red (I ran out of food coloring. Who knew this needed a lot of food coloring?). I'll definitely be trying this again.

I won't post the recipe here as I pretty much followed the original to the letter, shaking in my boots as I was. Thanks for the lovely treat, Bakerella!

I didn't use the cream cheese frosting she included in her recipe because I didn't have that much confectioner's sugar on hand (6 cups!), but the one I eventually went with, from Alton Brown was divine and paired really well with this cake. Swapped half of the vanilla extract with the almond extract we had lying around. The result tasted a bit like Betty Crocker tub icing, which in my book isn't a bad thing (I know, shame on me). Just sweet enough to make you feel like hitting the gym, but good enough to make you stay put for another slice.


13.5 oz (3 cups) powdered sugar
12 oz (1.5 sticks) cream cheese, room temperature
3 oz (6 tbsp.) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
Pinch of salt


In an electric mixer, mix cream cheese and butter on medium speed with a paddle attachment, stopping to scrape the sides with a rubber spatula to make sure everything gets combined. Add extracts and salt and continue mixing. On low speed, add powdered sugar in batches, beating until smooth and tasting for desired sweetness. Refrigerate before frosting for better consistency and spreadability.

Notes to self for next time

I think next time it could stand to be a little less sweet, so I'll add the powdered sugar in gradually, to taste. Also I might double the recipe. This batch just about fit a two layer red velvet cake, but I'd like a little extra so I can stuff my face be more liberal and less restrained while frosting, since I'm just getting learning how to frost a cake.

What's your go-to icing for red velvet cakes?