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An American classic, red velvet cake is known for its eye-catching coloring and unique flavor profile. While velvet cakes date back to the 1800s, the emergence of red velvet is unclear. The Waldorf-Astoria in New York claims to have created it in the 1930s, though many Southern bakers suggest it has earlier origins.

Bringing together the flavors of vanilla, buttermilk, vinegar and cocoa, this recipe for classic red velvet cake delivers a taste that's sweet and tangy with a mild chocolate flavor, and a texture that's dense, yet moist and fluffy with a soft, velvety crumble.

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1. What You'll Need

For the cake:

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • ½ cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • For the cream cheese frosting:

    • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
    • 1 cup butter, softened
    • 4 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • mayina / Getty Images
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