This sour cream red velvet cake is so moist and delicious, you’ll want to make it ALL the time. Add cream cheese buttercream and you won’t be disappointed.
Hey there! Before you scroll, there’s lot’s of important stuff in the post!…including the FAQ section, which may answer any questions you might have about this recipe. Enjoy!
Just take a look around the internet and you’ll find tons of recipes for red velvet cake. Most of those recipes call for buttermilk, which is fine and I love it in cakes, but I’m even more of a fan of sour cream in cakes.
I just think it’s one of the best ways to add moisture to your cakes. So, I set out to make a sour cream red velvet cake and I really think I hit the jackpot with this one.
Ok, since we talked about buttermilk earlier and since we’re not using it in this recipe, I have a story and a question for you. I think this might be a southern thing, but I’m not really sure.
One of my dad’s favorite snacks was cornbread and buttermilk. Now, if you get grossed out by buttermilk, just scroll on past this part of the post. Just warning you now.
My dad would take cornbread, put it into the bottom of a tall glass and then pour buttermilk over it. He’d take a spoon, break up the cornbread and then just eat it all mixed up in the buttercream.
He’d then leave the glass on the coffee table, apparently just to gross everyone out. The buttermilk would make these lines on the glass and it was just…ewww.
Here’s my question…is this just a southern thing? Did anyone else’s parents do this? Or maybe do you do it? Just curious. I’m not sure whether that or my dad’s sardine snacks were worse. Ok, my point is we’re not using buttermilk in this cake. Yes, I know that was a weird segue, but here we are.
LET’S TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS IN THE SOUR CREAM RED VELVET CAKE:
Sour cream: So, as the name of this recipe implies, we’re using sour cream instead of the normal buttermilk in this red velvet cake. The sour cream just makes it super moist.
Cocoa powder: There’s just a hint of cocoa powder in this cake as well (which is normally the case in a red velvet cake). And contrary to what some people might say, red velvet cake isn’t just chocolate cake with red food coloring in it. There isn’t much cocoa powder here…just enough to give it a slight flavor to it.
Vinegar: This is the additional ingredient that makes it a velvet cake. This, along with the cocoa powder helps give the cake a red tint and the additional acidity of the sour cream, really gives it that red velvet flavor.
No taste red gel food coloring: I used ‘no-taste’ red gel coloring in this cake. There are different brands out there, but I just used the one I had available near me, which was the Wilton brand. You can grab it here.
I like using the gel food coloring because it’s more concentrated. You’re not having to add so much of it and it’s not going to add any unnecessary liquid to your cake batter.
I only used about a tablespoon of the gel coloring, which was slightly over half the container. You can always add more if you want a really bright red color, but I tend to go a little lighter on the food coloring, just because I’m sure it’s not exceedingly good for your body. (Um, like sugar, butter and flour are?) Anyway, it was my effort to at least be a little health conscious.
ICING FOR THE RED VELVET CAKE:
Now, one of my favorite things about red velvet cake is the cream cheese buttercream that’s slathered all over it. You’ll want to try my recipe here: Cream Cheese Buttercream Recipe
MIXING METHOD FOR THE SOUR CREAM RED VELVET CAKE:
The mixing method for this cake is the creaming method, which essentially just means you’ll whip up the butter and sugar together until it’s really fluffy…incorporating as much air as you can in this process to get a nice fluffy cake.
After that, you’ll add in your eggs one at a time and then alternately add in your dry and liquid ingredients.
TIPS & FAQ’S FOR THE RED VELVET CAKE:
You want to spoon your flour into your measuring cups. Don’t just scoop it out of your flour container directly into your measuring cup, because that will pack down the flour and you’ll end up adding too much flour to your cake.
I think sour cream is best, but if you can’t get it, you can substitute by using yogurt. Try to get the full fat version of yogurt though. (And using milk in place of the sour cream will get you a cake that’s not nearly as moist.)
Whole milk isn’t ‘cream’. It’s just milk that hasn’t had the fat removed like 2% or skim milk has. It’s best to use whole milk if you can get it because the fat will help make a moist cake. If you can’t get it, then just use the milk you have on hand.
Gel food coloring is better because it’s concentrated and you don’t have to add as much. You can probably get away with using the liquid although you will have to use a lot more. Whichever you choose, make sure to get the ‘no taste’ food coloring.
Be very careful not to mix your cake batter for too long. Scratch cakes are different then making a mix cake and if you mix them too long, the cake will be dense and possibly not rise at all. Only mix just until all the ingredients are well combined. You don’t have to get every tiny lump out.
Ok, now to the recipe.
***I write recipes using volume (cups) measurements because here in the U.S., this is what people are used to seeing and using. For weight in metric measurements, click the ‘metric’ button under the ingredients in the recipe card. The weights are converted by a program, not me, and it’s a best guess. Please note that because I develop recipes using ‘cups’ I can’t guarantee that weighing the ingredients will produce the exact same results.
Sour Cream Red Velvet Cake
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsalted butter (room temp)
- 1 ¾ cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon no taste red gel food coloring (can use a bit more for a darker red color)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease and flour two 8" round cake pans.
- In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Whisk together and set aside.
- In another bowl, mix together the sour cream, milk, vinegar and vanilla. Whisk well and set aside.
- Now in your mixing bowl, mix the butter until creamy.
- Add the sugar and whip until fluffy. (About a couple minutes.)
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each one, but only just until combined.
- Alternately add in the dry and liquid ingredients. Start with ⅓ of the dry mixture, mix just until combined. Add in ½ the liquid mixture, mix until combined, then another third of the dry mixture and mix only until combined. Add in the last ½ of the liquid mixture, mix, then add in the last third of the dry mixture and mix just until combined. Be careful not to over mix here because you'll need to mix in the red food coloring next.
- Add in the red food coloring. If you want your cake to be a deep red, add a little more red food coloring. Mix until the food coloring is well incorporated.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for about 50 minutes. Start checking at 45 minutes. The middle should spring back when touched and a few crumbs should stick to a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake.
- Cover with cream cheese buttercream. (Grab that recipe on the blog.)
How to Share
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Don’t forget to grab the recipe for the Cream Cheese Buttercream!
I hope you try this one out and if you do, let me know how you like it!
Items & Tools Used to Make the Sour Cream Red Velvet Cake:
- KitchenAid Mixer
- 8″ cake pans
- Large Icing Spatula
- Icing Bags
- 2D Icing Tip
- Cream Cheese Buttercream Recipe
Don’t Forget to Pin it for Later!