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Hi Bold Bakers!
WHAT YOU GET: Soft, tender red velvet cake with a touch of cocoa, made all the more homey and inviting as a crowd-pleasing sheet cake.
Red velvet cake is, by and large, an all-time fan favorite. Some people write the brightly colored cake off as a novelty, made popular just by food dye alone. But the real reason why it’s everyone’s go-to choice at a cupcake shop? It’s plain good.
This recipe takes that beloved cake and makes it even simpler for a larger crowd by baking it in a sheet pan. Make this cake a classic by topping it with my homemade Cream Cheese Frosting!
What Makes Red Velvet Cake Red?
Red velvet cake differs from traditional chocolate cake because of its ingredients. The acid in this cake, which is the buttermilk and the vinegar, breaks down the gluten in the cake flour, giving it a “silky” mouth feel, which is how it got its “velvet” name, but there is also a chemical reaction happening with the cocoa powder.
When raw cocoa powder meets acidic ingredients, it will naturally turn a dark red, making this cake look maroon even without the red food dye. However, that reaction is harder to achieve now since most store-bought cocoa powder has been treated with an alkalizing agent to negate acidity.
What’s The Difference Between Red Velvet And Chocolate Cake?
While red velvet and chocolate cake contain cocoa powder, red velvet cake also includes buttermilk and vinegar and is traditionally topped with cream cheese frosting. These ingredients give red velvet cake a silky texture and its iconic tangy twist. Red velvet cakes tend to be richer than their chocolate cake cousins and have a less crumbly texture.
What Type Of Flour Should I Use For Red Velvet?
I highly recommend using cake flour to make this red velvet sheet cake. It is essential for the tender, tight crumb of red velvet. If you don’t have cake flour at home, you can easily make your own with my homemade 2-ingredient Cake Flour recipe!
Tools You Need To Make Red Velvet Sheet Cake
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Stand mixer or handheld electric mixer
- Mixing bowls
- 13 x 18-inch (33 x 46-cm) half-sheet pan
Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Red Velvet Sheet Cake
- Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature before you start.
- Cake flour is essential for a red velvet cake’s tender, tight crumb. If you don’t have any, you can easily make your own. Use my Cake Flour recipe.
- Use my Cream Cheese Frosting. Be sure the frosting is soft and at room temperature before using; otherwise, it will tear this delicate cake.
- A crumb coat is helpful when frosting this cake: to do this, spread a very thin layer of frosting over the entire surface of the cake to seal in the crumbs, then refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to firm up to crumb coat. Proceed with frosting the cake.
- You can turn this into a simple layer cake by cutting the cake into thirds and stacking the layers with frosting in between.
Make More Sheet Cake
- One-Bowl Peanut Butter Sheet Cake
- Funfetti Sheet Cake
- Carrot Cake Sheet Cake
- The Ultimate Texas Sheet Cake
- Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake (Texas Sheet Cake)
Want To Go Deeper?
Level up your baking skills even further and subscribe to the Bold Baking Academy today! You’ll get access to all the in-depth baking courses both past and present, access to the Bold Baking Academy Community, and the one-of-a-kind Baking Concierge — which is a fast & direct connection to Gemma & her team of culinary experts to answer any baking question you might have.
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Red Velvet Sheet Cake Recipe
- 1 cup (8 oz/225 g) butter (softened)
- 1¾ cups (14 oz/395 g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 1 cup (8 fl oz/240 ml) buttermilk (at room temperature)
- 3 tablespoons red food coloring
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 2¼ cups (9½ oz/270 g) cake flour
- ¼ cup (1 oz/28 g) cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and butter and flour a 13 x 18-inch (33 x 46-cm) half-sheet pan. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a medium bowl with a handheld electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla extract and vinegar.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt, then fold into the batter.
- Spread evenly in the prepared pan and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let cool completely in the pan before frosting with Cream Cheese Frosting.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.