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Pink Velvet Cake

Whether you plan to spend Valentine’s Day with your friends, galentines, or significant other, this delicious pink velvet cake is the perfect way to celebrate.

It’s made with tender pink velvet cake layers and rich cream cheese buttercream frosting. If that combination doesn’t say “Happy Valentine’s Day,” I don’t know what does!

slice of pink velvet cake on a plate that's been frosted with cream cheese buttercream frosting

How to Make This Pink Velvet Layer Cake

To make sure this cake turns out as amazing as possible, let’s walk through each step together! I’ve also included a video tutorial of the process below.

I figured it might be helpful to know what tools I use too, so I’ve shared a list below.

Not all of these are mandatory, but they make the process a lot easier.

If you don’t have all these things on hand, feel free to improvise and work with what you have.

Step 1: Bake the Pink Velvet Cake Layers

Make the pink velvet cake layers first following the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

After coloring the batter, divide it evenly between the prepared cake pans and bake for 33-37 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

pink velvet cake batter that's been poured in 7-inch cake pans are ready to be baked

Remove the cake layers from the oven and let them cool in the pans for about 30 minutes. Or if you’re in a rush, place the pans directly in the freezer to accelerate the cooling process.

Then gently run an offset spatula around the rim of the cake pans to loosen them and flip them onto wire racks to finish cooling.

These layers bake up pretty flat, so leveling them is optional! If you want to level them, use a serrated knife to level the top of each cake layer.

I also like to trim away the caramelization around the sides of the layers and tort each layer to create eight, thinner layers.

light and dark pink velvet cake layers that have been trimmed and torted with a serrated knife

If you’re making these in advance, you can wrap and freeze them at this point.

Step 2: Make the Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

While the cake layers bake and cool, make the cream cheese buttercream.

I like to use an American buttercream base to make this frosting because I think it’s the easiest to make and I love eating it. However, it is quite sweet!

image of cream cheese buttercream being mixed that's smooth

If you want to use a less sweet frosting base, I’d recommend making a batch of my Swiss meringue buttercream or my hybrid buttercream and using the same ratio of butter to cream cheese that this recipe calls for.

This frosting can also be made in advance if needed and kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for a month.

Step 3: Stack and Frost the Cake Layers

Then it’s time to assemble this cake! Stack and frost cake layers on a greaseproof cake board or flat plate. Use a dab of buttercream to help stick the first cake layer to the board.

Spread an even layer of cream cheese buttercream on top of each cake layer with a large offset spatula.

image of 8, thin, pink velvet cake layers that have been stacked with cream cheese buttercream frosting

Alternate the light pink and dark pink cake layers.

Repeat with the remaining cake layers and place the top cake layer upside down to make the cake easier to frost.

Step 4: Crumb Coat the Cake

Spread a thin coat of frosting around the cake to fully cover the cake layers.

a pink velvet cake that has been crumb coated with cream cheese buttercream frosting

Smooth the frosting using a large offset spatula or bench scraper, then chill the cake in the fridge (30 minutes) or freezer (10 minutes) until the frosting is firm to the touch.

Step 5: Add the Second Layer of Frosting & Decorate

Then add a second, thicker layer of frosting to the cake.

Smooth the frosting using a large offset spatula or bench scraper.

a second layer of cream cheese buttercream being smoothed onto a pink velvet cake with a warm metal bench scraper

If you’re struggling to get smooth sides on the cake, check out my video tutorial on how to frost a cake smoothly.

Color the remaining buttercream 3 different shades of pink using the same gel food coloring you used to make the cake layers.

3 different shades of pink buttercream that have been placed in small piping bags fit with round piping tips

Place them in small piping bags fitted with a coupler and a small round tip like a Wilton 10.

I like to use a small heart shaped cookie cutter to map out where I want to pipe the hearts and to make sure they end up being roughly the same size.

Pipe hearts around the cake with the different colored frosting, then swap out the piping tip for a smaller round tip like a Wilton 3.

Pipe little dots and hearts between the bigger hearts to fill in any empty spaces or gaps.

cute pink velvet cake that's been decorated with little buttercream hearts for valentine's day

Then enjoy! If you’re making this cake in advance, it can sit at room temperature for a few hours or be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

Substitutions and Swaps – Pink Velvet Layers

This recipe uses quite a few ingredients and I know you might not have them all on hand. Or if you have food allergies or restrictions, I’ve got you covered.

Below are some swaps and substitutions that can be made in this cake recipe.

  • Cake Flour – This recipe turns out best with cake flour, but you can use a gluten-free flour blend or all-purpose flour if that’s all you have on hand.
  • Granulated Sugar – I do not recommend changing the type or reducing the amount of sugar because it will change the texture of the cake layers.
  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand, you can use it in place of the unsalted butter in this recipe. Just be sure to omit the salt that this cake recipe calls for. You can also use vegan butter in its place (and also omit the salt)!
  • Egg whites – I like to use the pasteurized egg whites that come in a carton, but you can also use 7 fresh egg whites or 4 whole, large eggs. If you have an egg allergy you can use flaxseed eggs or a vegan egg replacer.
  • Buttermilk – You can also use full fat yogurt, whole milk, sour cream, or an alternative yogurt or milk (almond, soy, oat) if you’re dairy free.
  • Vegetable Oil – Any flavorless oil will work in this recipe. Canola or even sunflower oil would work great!
  • Pink Gel Food Coloring – Gel food coloring works best to color these cake layers. Liquid food coloring can be used, but it’s more difficult to create vibrant colors.
slice of pink velvet cake on a plate that's been frosted with cream cheese buttercream frosting and cut into to show how tender the cake is

Substitutions and Swaps – Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand, you can use it in place of the unsalted butter. Just be sure to omit the salt that this frosting recipe calls for. You can also use vegan butter in its place (and omit the salt)!
  • Cream Cheese– This recipe turns out best with full-fat cream cheese. I recommend using the type that comes in a block.
  • Heavy Cream – Whole milk or alternative milk (soy, almond, oat) will work fine in this frosting recipe if that’s what you have on hand.
image of buttercream frosting in a glass mixing bowl

Making This Pink Velvet Cake in Different Sizes

I used 4, 7-inch” cake pans to make this cake, but this recipe can be used to make different sized cakes.

You can make three, 8- or four, 6-inch cake layers with one batch of batter. Bake the cake layers at 350 F / 175 C for 34-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

One batch of batter can also be used to make one 9×13-inch sheet cake.

Bake it at 350 F / 175 C for 40-50 minutes and use flower nails or heating cores to help the cake bake evenly. It should end up being about 2 inches tall.

If you want to make cupcakes, I highly recommend using my vanilla cupcake recipe and adding a bit of pink gel food coloring. One batch makes a dozen cupcakes.

image of a cake that's been cut into to show its pretty pink velvet cake layers

Tips for Making the Best Pink Velvet Cake

  • Ingredients at room temp mix together better! Set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.
  • Properly measure the cake flour (spoon into the cup measure, then level). Or better yet, use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients.
  • Use a scale to weigh your cake pans as you fill them. It will make the cake layers bake up to the same height and bake more evenly.
  • Level the room temperature or thawed cake layers with a serrated knife to make them easier to stack.
  • Make sure the buttercream is the right consistency. This will help give the cake proper structure and make it easier to decorate.
  • Chill the cake layers in the freezer for about 20 minutes before assembling the cake. It makes them so much easier to stack and frost!
  • If your cake layers turn out less than perfect, read my cake troubleshooting guide to see where things might’ve gone awry.
cute pink velvet cake that's been decorated with little buttercream hearts for valentine's day

Making This Pink Velvet Cake in Advance

I highly recommend making these cake layers in advance and freezing themIt breaks the process up and makes it more approachable.

You can also make the frosting ahead of time too or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to a month.

Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!

If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you make this pink velvet cake recipe, I’d love to hear what you think of it! Let me know by leaving a rating and comment below.

And don’t forget to tag me @chelsweets use #chelsweets if you share on social media so that I can see your amazing creations.

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 24

Pink Velvet Cake Recipe

slice of pink velvet cake on a plate that's been frosted with cream cheese buttercream frosting

This delicious pink velvet cake bakes up so tender and is frosted with the best cream cheese buttercream frosting!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes

Ingredients

Pink Velvet Cake Recipe

  • 3 cups cake flour (360g)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar (600g)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder (10g)
  • 1 tsp fine salt (6g)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp (226g)
  • 1 cup egg whites from a carton or about 7 egg whites, room temp (235g)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temp (360g)
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil (30g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)
  • pink gel food coloring

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temp (452g)
  • 1 cup cream cheese, room temperature (226g)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (12g)
  • 1 tsp fine salt (6g)
  • 11 cups powdered sugar (1375g)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or whipping cream (60g)
  • pink gel food coloring

Recommend Tools and Equipment

Instructions

Pink Velvet Cake Layers

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line four, 7-inch or three 8-inch pans with parchment rounds and grease with non-stick baking spray or homemade cake pan release. I used 7-inch cake pans.
  2. Mix 3 cups cake flour, 3 cups sugar, 2 1/2 tsp baking powder, and 1 tsp salt together in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or hand mixer until fully combined.
  3. Mix in 1 cup of room temperature, unsalted butter slowly into the dry ingredients on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture looks like moist sand.
  4. Pour in 1 cup of egg whites and mix on low until just incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.
  5. Then mix in 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil, and 1 tsp of vanilla extract on a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula one more time, then beat on a medium speed for about 30 seconds to make sure everything is properly mixed together. This also helps lighten the texture of the cake layers. The batter will be thin, but don't worry! That's how it's supposed to be.
  6. If you make four, 7-inch cake layers, pour half of the batter into a separate bowl (roughly 900g). Color one bowl light pink and the other bowl a deeper shade of pink using pink gel food coloring. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans, making 2 light pink and 2 deeper pink cake layers. I like to use a scale to make sure each pan has the same amount of batter and will bake up to the same height.
  7. If you make three, 8-inch cake layers, pour 1/3 of the batter into a separate bowl (roughly 600g). Color the bowl with more batter light pink and the other bowl a deeper shade of pink using pink gel food coloring. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans to make 2 light pink cake layers and 1 deeper pink cake layer
  8. Bake for 33-37 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Rotate the pans halfway through to help them bake evenly.
  9. Let the pans cool for 10 minutes, then run a small offset spatula around the perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan.
  10. Place the cake layers into the freezer for 30 minutes to accelerate the cooling process. Once the layers are fully cooled, carefully flip the pans, and remove the layers.
  11. Use a serrated knife to level the tops and remove any caramelization around the sides of the layers. I also like to torte the cake layers horizontally (see picture above) to create thinner cake layers, but this is optional. You can also trim the layers, then wrap and freeze them if you're making them in advance.
  12. If you make these cake layers in advance and freeze them, let them thaw for about 15 minutes before making the cake. The cake layers should still be slightly cold to the touch, which will make it easier to assemble the cake.

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:

  1. While the cake layers bake and cool, make the cream cheese buttercream frosting.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, beat 2 cups of unsalted butter and 1 cup of cream cheese on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a stand mixer and paddle attachment or hand mixer until smooth.
  3. Mix in 1 Tbsp of vanilla extract and 1 tsp salt on a low speed.
  4. Gradually mix in 11 cups of powdered sugar and 1/4 cup of heavy cream on a low speed.
  5. Continue to mix on a low speed for a few minutes until the desired consistency is reached.  If the frosting seems too thick, add in additional cream (1 Tbsp at a time). If the frosting seems too thin, add in more powdered sugar (a quarter of a cup at a time).
  6. Wait to color the buttercream until we've filled and frosted the cake. Cover the buttercream flush with plastic wrap to prevent crusting, then set aside.

Making This Pink Velvet Layer Cake:

  1. Stack and frost cake layers on a greaseproof cake board or flat plate using a dab of frosting to help stick the first cake layer to the board.
  2. Spread an even layer of buttercream between each cake layer with a large offset spatula.
  3. Add a thin coat of frosting around the cake to fully cover the cake layers.
  4. Smooth using a bench scraper, then chill the cake in the fridge (30 minutes) or freezer (10 minutes) until the frosting is firm to the touch.
  5. Add a second, thicker layer of frosting to the cake and smooth using a bench scraper. If you're struggling to get smooth sides on the cake, check out my in-depth tutorial on how to frost a cake smoothly.
  6. Color the remaining buttercream three different shades of pink using the same gel food coloring you used to make the cake layers. Place each color in its own small piping bag fittedto with a plastic coupler and a small round tip like a Wilton 10.
  7. I like to use a small heart shaped cookie cutter to map out where I want to pipe the hearts, and to make sure they end up being similar in size.
  8. Pipe hearts around the cake with the different colored frosting, then swap out the piping tip for a smaller round tip like a Wilton 3. Pipe little dots and hearts between the bigger hearts to fill in any empty spaces or gaps.
  9. Then enjoy! If you're making this cake in advance, it can sit at room temperature for a few hours or be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

Notes

If you need to make any substitutions or swaps in this recipe, please see the section in the post above on ingredient substitutions.

Recipe Variations

One batch of cake batter makes about 1800 grams, or 10 cups. If you plan to use four circular cake pans, add 450 grams of batter into each pan. If you make 3 layers, add 600 grams to each pan.

This recipe can also be used to make a pink velvet sheet cake! One batch will make 2, 9 x 13-inch cake layers that are about 1-inch tall.

Bake for 35-40 mins at 350 F / 175 C. I recommend using heating cores if you have them to help large cake layers like this bake more evenly and quickly.

You can also make one 9 x 13-inch cake layer that's about 2 inches tall, but bake time will be 45-55 minutes at 350 F/ 175 C.

Tips for Making the Best Pink Velvet Cake

  • Ingredients at room temp mix together better! Set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.
  • Properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure, then level). Or better yet, use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients.
  • Use a scale to weigh your cake pans as you fill them. It will make the cake layers bake up to the same height and bake more evenly.
  • Level the room temperature or thawed cake layers with a serrated knife to make them easier to stack.
  • Make sure the buttercream is the right consistency. This will help give the cake proper structure and make it easier to decorate.
  • Chill the cake layers in the freezer for about 20 minutes before assembling the cake. It makes them so much easier to stack and frost!
  • If your cake layers turn out less than perfect, read my cake troubleshooting guide to see where things might've gone awry.

Making This Pink Velvet Layer Cake in Advance & Storage Tips

Make these cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and makes it more approachable.

This cream cheese frosting can also be made ahead of time too or you can save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to a month.

Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!

If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Nutrition Information

Yield

24

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 511Total Fat 24gSaturated Fat 14gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 61mgSodium 278mgCarbohydrates 72gFiber 0gSugar 58gProtein 5g

For a walk down memory lane, here are some pictures of my original version of this cake from back in 2018.

stacked valentine's day cake pink layers
Pink Velvet Valentine's Day Cake Slice
image of pink velvet layer cake made with marbled fondant hearts

Jackie

Friday 3rd of February 2023

There’s a lot of sugar in this recipe, think if I took out a cup I’d have to decrease the other ingredients too much?

Bianca

Thursday 2nd of February 2023

Hi I’m going to be using 5x2” cake pans. How do I cook them? Thanks!

Shashi

Wednesday 25th of January 2023

Hi ! Its such a beautiful cake ..... I want to make an eggfree cake as I don't consume eggs .... What would be the best egg replacement for this cake ....thanks ...take care

Chelsweets

Sunday 29th of January 2023

Hi Shashi,

Thank you!! I would recommend either using 4 flax eggs (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 Tbsp water per egg) or apple sauce (1 cup in place of the egg whites). It will change the taste and texture a bit, but it should still taste great. Hope that helps, happy baking!

30 beaux et délicieux gâteaux de la Saint-Valentin | mes emplois préférés

Tuesday 1st of February 2022

[…] Moulé Chelsweets […]

Samantha

Wednesday 1st of December 2021

Quick question your vanilla layer cake has 13g (2.5tsp) of baking powder on the recipe card but this pink velvet says 2tsp is 13g of baking powder. Just trying to make sure I have the right numbers so they each bake correctly. I have made the vanilla cake many times with the 10g of baking powder it says. Please advise! Cannot wait to try this pink velvet recipe!

Thank you for all you do!

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