A super moist red velvet cake made from scratch with mini chocolate chips to add fun, all covered in a delicious cream cheese glaze.
This cake is easy to make, and full of that red velvet taste everyone loves. The mini chocolate chips are optional, but add a nice touch of chocolate flavor.
This cake is perfect for the holidays, Valentine’s day, or for that special someone who just loves red velvet cake.
Now, I’ve decided to call this cake a ‘pound cake’ because generally, that’s what people think of when they see a bundt cake.
I do realize that technically a pound cake has a pound each of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs, but now the term is just used more loosely and a cake that’s made in a bundt pan and that is potentially a little denser than a fluffy layer cake, is sometimes just called a pound cake.
That’s a long way around to say that it’s okay to call this a pound cake or a bundt cake…or just a good cake!
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!
Now let’s talk a little about the ingredients that are in this cake and frosting. (The list of all ingredients are in the recipe card below.)
All-purpose flour: In this recipe, you won’t have to use any fancy flour as it only calls for all-purpose flour.
Unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-process cocoa): This recipe calls for a bit of natural cocoa powder. The reason this recipe says ‘not Dutch-process cocoa’ is that Dutch-process cocoa is non-acidic and this recipe calls for baking soda, so the acid left in natural cocoa powder is needed.
For more information on the different types of cocoa powders and how they’re used, see this post: Which Cocoa Powder Do I Use?
Buttermilk: A red velvet cake usually calls for buttermilk and this one is no different in that respect. The buttermilk will add a yummy taste and a soft texture to the cake and it won’t make the cake actually taste like buttermilk, I promise.
Vinegar: Yes I know this seems like a weird ingredient for a cake, but it’s usually combined with buttermilk and baking soda in velvet cakes. These all add a bit of flavor and tang and help give the cake a soft texture.
Red food coloring: The best type of food coloring to use is gel food coloring. There are many brands and you can even get a ‘no taste’ red food coloring if you’re super sensitive to the bitter taste that some red food coloring can have.
The worse type of food coloring to use is the liquid drops you can get in the baking aisle at a grocery store. It’s diluted and you’ll have to add a ton of it just to get some color.
Here are some options for red gel food coloring:
- ChefMaster Liqua-gel food coloring in Red
- Americolor Soft Gel Paste food coloring in Red
- ChefMaster Liqua-gel food coloring in Super Red
- ChefMaster Liqua-gel food coloring in Christmas Red
- Americolor Soft Gel Paste food coloring in Super Red
- Wilton gel food coloring in No Taste Red
Unsalted butter: This recipe calls for unsalted butter. In my opinion, unsalted butter is best for baking because you can control the amount of salt added. Make sure to check out the FAQ section for questions.
Mini chocolate chips: This ingredient is optional, but I think it adds a nice touch of chocolate taste and mini chips bake up much better than full-size chocolate chips that tend to sink in the batter when baking.
Mixing Method Notes:
Let’s talk a little about the mixing method. (The exact instructions are in the recipe card below.)
The mixing method for this cake is called the reverse creaming method. That means instead of creaming together the sugar and butter until fluffy first, you’ll actually be adding the butter to the dry ingredients to coat them and then add the liquid.
Don’t worry though, I find this process actually easier than the usual creaming method and all the details will be in the recipe card below.
Essentially the dry ingredients are added to one bowl and the liquid to another bowl.
Then you’ll slowly add in room temperature butter to the dry ingredients while mixing until all the dry ingredients are coated with the butter and the mixture resembles a sand-like texture.
Next, you’ll add the liquid in two parts being careful not to mix too long after the second addition.
Tips & FAQs:
Well historically a pound cake has a pound each of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs, but now the term is used more loosely and a cake that’s made in a bundt pan and that is potentially a little denser than a fluffy layer cake, is now sometimes referred to as a pound cake.
So, technically this isn’t the original type of pound cake, but then again, those original pound cakes can, in my opinion, turn out dry and that’s why over the years, people have adjusted the recipes and used the term more loosely.
No, a red velvet cake generally includes a small amount of cocoa powder in it that gives it just a hint of chocolate flavor.
The vinegar reacts with the small amount of cocoa powder and the other acidic ingredients like buttermilk to help make the cake moist and tender and helps give it a slightly reddish tint, which is then helped out by adding red food coloring.
Cocoa powder reacts with the other acidic ingredients to help make this cake moist and it gives it just a slight hint of light chocolate flavor, which is the hallmark of a red velvet cake. It also helps give the cake a hint of color, a sort of jump-start at getting that deep red color.
For this recipe, you want to use unsweetened natural cocoa powder, not Dutch cocoa powder. The reason is that Dutch cocoa powder is nonacidic and you need the acid to interact with the other ingredients.
You really want to use real buttermilk for this cake. It makes a huge difference in the taste, the moistness, and the texture of the cake.
Yes, the vinegar really is necessary for this cake and you’ll just want to use regular white vinegar. Basically adding vinegar will introduce more acids into the cake, which will react with the other acidic ingredients and help to provide a tender cake texture.
For best results, you’ll want to use unsalted butter, that way you can predict the amount of salt that’s added to the recipe. If you can’t get unsalted butter, you can substitute with salted, but omit any additional salt the recipe calls for.
Make sure to allow the butter to come to room temperature on its own. Don’t heat it or microwave it, just set it out ahead of time and let it slowly come to room temperature.
Do not use the liquid kind that you can find in the baking aisle. To get enough color, you’d have to add way too much of it. You’ll need a concentrated food dye like gel food coloring.
You can find them at craft stores or on Amazon. I like Chefmaster, Americolor super red, or Wilton no taste red. I have provided links to these in the ingredient section of the post above.
Sure! The cake won’t be super red, but it will still taste good.
You may have used liquid food coloring and not gel food coloring, or you may not have used enough food coloring.
No, you don’t have to add them. Personally, I add them because I love the small bits of chocolate in this cake, but it’s not necessary.
You can, but the full-sized chocolate chips tend to sink a little while the cake is baking. To help combat this, you could try chopping up the full-sized chips in a food processor a bit before adding them to the cake batter.
Be sure to let the cake cool in the pan for at least 45 minutes before trying to remove it. This cake is very moist and will easily stick to the pan if it’s still very warm.
I have not tested this recipe out as a layer cake, but it should work just fine if you use two, eight-inch round cake pans. You will need to bake it for a shorter amount of time, maybe around 40 minutes. Just check with a toothpick inserted into the middle. It should come out with a few moist crumbs on it.
Now, if you want a red velvet cake recipe that was specifically written as a layer cake that is light and fluffy, then you’ll want to check this recipe out here: Sour Cream Red Velvet Cake
You’ll also want to use another frosting instead of a glaze if making it into a layer cake. You can try this buttercream here: Cream Cheese Buttercream
This cake can be stored for several hours at room temperature, covered well. After that, store in the refrigerator, well covered for up to about 6 days.
This cake will last about 6 days if kept covered and in the refrigerator. This cake is best served close to room temperature, so when taken out of the fridge, allow it to come closer to room temperature before serving.
This cake should be just fine if frozen correctly. Wrap the unglazed cake in plastic wrap, then in foil to prevent freezer burn. This cake can be frozen for up to a month.
To defrost, set the wrapped cake onto the counter and let defrost while still wrapped (about a couple of hours). Once defrosted, take the wrappings off and add the glaze.
Supplies Used for this Cake:
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
- Red gel food coloring: ChefMaster Liqua-gel food coloring in Red, Americolor Soft Gel Paste food coloring in Red, ChefMaster Liqua-gel food coloring in Super Red, ChefMaster Liqua-gel food coloring in Christmas Red, Americolor Soft Gel Paste food coloring in Super Red, or Wilton gel food coloring in No Taste Red
- Bundt pan
- Mixing bowls
- Silicone spatulas
- Stand mixer or Hand mixer
- Cooling rack
Ok, let’s get 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.
Red Velvet Pound Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze
For the cake:
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch process cocoa)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 1 ½ tablespoons red gel food coloring (can use up to 2 tablespoons or 1 oz. if needed)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into chunks (2 sticks)
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
For the glaze:
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature (1 stick)
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature (1 package)
- 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 3 tablespoons milk or cream (can use up to 4 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Grease and flour at least a 9 inch sized bundt pan. Make sure to grease and flour the pan very well as this cake is super moist and will stick if the pan isnt prepared well.
- Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk and set aside.
- In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, vinegar, vanilla, eggs and food coloring . Mix well with a whisk.
- Turn the mixer on low and add in the butter slowly to the dry ingredients. Mix on medium to medium-high until all the flour is coated with the butter and the mixture is crumbly with a sand-like texture.
- Pour in about half of the liquid mixture. Mix on medium speed until just combined. Only about 30 seconds.
- Pour the last of the liquid mixture and mix on medium speed again until well combined. Be careful not to over-mix the batter. Only mix until everything is combined.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix again for only about 10 to 15 seconds.
- Add in the mini chocolate chips if desired and stir by hand.
- Pour into prepared pan.
- Bake approximately 50 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the cake will come out with a few moist crumbs on it but no raw batter.
- Set on a wire rack to cool in the pan for no less than 45 minutes, then turn the cake out onto the rack and let cool out of the pan completely before adding glaze. Make sure to let the cake sit in the pan, on a rack for 45 minutes before trying to remove it from the pan as the cake is very moist and will stick to the pan if if still very warm.
For the glaze:
- In a mixing bowl, mix the butter and cream cheese well with an electric mixer on medium to medium high speed.
- Add the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and two tablespoons of milk. Mix well.
- If the glaze is too thick, add in milk by teaspoonful. If it's too thin, it will run off the cake and pool around the bottom, so only add additional milk by the teaspoonful.
- Once desired consistency is reached and the cake is cooled, spoon on the glaze, or use a piping bag or squeeze bottle to drizzle it on.
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