Five Layer Red Velvet Cake


Another birthday at work called for another homemade birthday cake! But not just any cake. The birthday girl requested Red Velvet…so I did a lot of research, merged a couple recipes, threw in a little coffee (sounds weird, but it’s delicious!) and decided to use the following ingredients:


  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 3/4 cups granulated white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 3/4  cups vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon instant coffee, dissolved in 1 Tbsp boiling water


  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted lightly to remove any lumps
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • dash salt
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Preheat oven to 325. Grease and lay a strip of parchment paper in two nine-inch round cake pans (see pictures). In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and red food coloring. Stir in the coffee, and white vinegar. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients a little at time, mixing after each addition, until justcombined. Divide the batter evenly between five large bowls. Each bowl should have about 2 cups of batter.Bake in the middle rack for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Keep a close eye on the cakes, you don’t want them to over bake! It will continue to cook as it cools. You can bake two pans at a time to speed up this process. Let the layers cool in the pan for about five minutes, then remove them from the pans onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Slide a knife or offset spatula around the inside of the pans to loosen the cake from the pan.

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While the cakes cool, make the frosting. Combine the softened butter, cream cheese, shortening, vanilla, salt, and powdered  sugar in a large bowl. gently mix by hand, then finish combining with a hand mixer. Whip until the frosting is fluffy.

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Frost the cake with cream cheese frosting when the cakes have cooled completely. Lightly frost each layer, and then cover the entire exterior of the cake. Make sure to alternate the layers top up, top down, to help the cake remain level. Let this crumb coat harden over night, and reserve remaining frosting. Finish frosting the following morning, smoothing the exterior, and piping on decorative touches. 
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This is the moistest red velvet recipe I’ve ever made. I was pleasantly surprised by the balance in this cake. It’s not overly sweet, and each ingredient is able to shine. The frosting is also subtle, and I love that you get a bit of it in each bite since this cake has so many thin layers. This will now be my go-to red velvet recipe 😀

14 thoughts on “Five Layer Red Velvet Cake

  1. Can I substitute butter for the oil to make the layers more stackable/sturdy? I’m making a beer can cake and I don’t want it to bulge out the sides. Thanks!

    1. It’s basically a finer flour! You can actually substitute a mixture of flour and cornstarch if you can’t find it at your grocery store, but most grocery stores carry it 🙂

  2. If i’m using this recipe to make a tiered cake (one 6″ tier, one 8″ tier) and I guesstimate about 3 layers in each tier, would 2 batches of this be good? Or would that be too tall/short? Would you recommend more than 3 layers per tier or is that a good amount?

    1. I think three layers per tier will turn out great, and 2 batches should be great for a tiered cake that size 🙂

Let me know what you think!