This pink velvet cake is the perfect cake for a princess. Ok, even if you’re not a princess, you’ll love this tender and moist cake made from scratch.
The cake layers are a delicate pink with a soft crumb with vanilla flavoring and just a slight hint of lemon, then it’s all covered in a yummy cream cheese frosting. It’s the perfect homemade cake for a birthday party.
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!
So, I’m sure you’ve eaten red velvet cake and possibly have even heard of purple velvet cake. Now, some people will say that velvet cakes are just cakes with food coloring added in.
But that’s actually not completely accurate. Yes, velvet cakes do have food coloring in them, but they also generally use vinegar and red velvet cake has a bit of added cocoa powder in it. Oh and a lot of them use buttermilk as well.
By the way, if you’re interested in my red velvet cake, you can find it here. I use sour cream in that one and it’s so moist and so good.
So, back to my point…velvet cakes aren’t just regular cakes with food coloring and this pink velvet cake’s got way more going on than just pink food coloring.
I’m also loving the buttercream for this cake. It’s a yummy, vanilla and lightly lemon flavored cream cheese buttercream and it’s so addicting.
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LETS TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS IN THE PINK VELVET CAKE:
All purpose flour: We’re just going with all purpose flour here, so you don’t need to worry about going to the store and getting cake flour.
Lemon juice & vinegar Yes, we’re adding in a bit of lemon juice and vinegar. Don’t panic, the cake will NOT taste like vinegar. We’ll essentially be making buttermilk by adding the lemon juice to the milk and the vinegar just gives the cake some extra flavor.
Egg whites: We’re using egg whites because they won’t add as much yellow coloring as using whole eggs would. We don’t want the yellow competing with the soft pink color you’ll be adding. That would give you an orange cake.
Princess emulsion: Ok, this flavoring is what really makes this cake special. This emulsion is from LorAnn oils and you can get it here: Princess emulsion (If you can’t order it, I’ve included a substitution in the recipe card below. I don’t promise it’ll be exactly the same, but it will work in a pinch.) This emulsion is also really good for other cakes, icings, cookies and even in pancakes…there are multiple uses for it.
For the buttercream: This buttercream has a bit of tang to it because we’ll be adding cream cheese to it AND a bit of that princess emulsion.
Oh and I almost forgot the final touch! The sprinkles! I found these sprinkles on Amazon and they’re so pretty!
MIXING METHOD FOR THE PINK VELVET CAKE:
You’ll be using the reverse creaming method for this cake. So, instead of mixing up the sugar and butter upfront, you’ll be mixing your dry ingredients first, then adding in the butter to coat the dry mixture.
After that, you’ll add in your liquid ingredients. (Don’t worry, the video and recipe instructions will explain this.) It’s actually an easier process that the regular creaming method.
TIPS & FAQ’S FOR THE PINK VELVET CAKE:
- Use unsalted butter for the cake: You want unsalted, room temperature butter when you make the cake. Don’t allow your butter to get too warm though, or this particular mixing method won’t work as well.
- I don’t have princess emulsion, what can I substitute with? Princess Emulsion will taste best, but if you can’t get it, substitute with 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp almond extract and 1/2 tsp lemon extract.
- Do I have to add in the vinegar? The short answer is yes. You want to do that because it adds a little more flavor to the cake in addition to the fact that the cake recipe calls for baking soda and the vinegar is needed in the recipe for that.
- Do I have to add the pink food coloring? No, you don’t. It will still taste very good, but it just won’t be a ‘pink’ cake.
- Do I have to use both unsalted and salted butter in the buttercream? No, but it makes it really tasty if you can do that. You can use all unsalted butter if that’s what you have and then just add a pinch of salt.
- Do I have to color my icing pink? Nope! You can color it any color you like, or just leave it white.
SUPPLIES USED TO MAKE THE PINK VELVET CAKE & BUTTERCREAM:
- Glass batter bowl
- Princess Emulsion
- Pink Gel Food Coloring
- KitchenAid Stand Mixer or Handheld Mixer
- Flat Beater Attachment for stand mixer
- 8″ Round Cake Pans
- Cooling Racks
Ok, let’s get to the recipe!
**By the way, this recipe was developed and tested using volume measurements (cups etc.). I do this because most people are used to measuring, instead of weighing. You may use the metric converter button to see the weight (gram) measurements. Those numbers are estimates on weight. Your results may vary a bit if you use the weight measurements.
Scratch Pink Velvet Cake Recipe
For the cake:
- 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cup sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter (room temp)
- 1 1/2 cups milk (preferably whole milk)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil (or canola oil)
- 2 1/2 tsp princess emulsion (If you can't get this, substitute with 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp almond extract and 1/2 tsp lemon extract)
- 6 egg whites
- 3 drops red or pink gel food coloring (or about 3 drops red liquid food coloring)
- pink & mint sprinkles optional
For the buttercream:
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temp
- 1 cup salted butter (Room temp.) (Using half salted butter tastes better, but if you don't have it, just use unsalted here and add in a pinch of salt.)
- 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese (room temp)
- 7-8 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp princess emulsion (If you can't get this, substitute with 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp almond extract and 1/4 tsp lemon extract)
- 1-2 tbsp milk
- 2 drops of pink or red gel food coloring (optional)
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease and flour two 8" round (2" inch deep) cake pans and set aside.
- Add one cup of milk to a measuring cup and add in one tablespoon of lemon juice. Stir and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- In another bowl, add the milk & lemon juice mixture, another 1/2 cup of milk, the vinegar, oil, food coloring, princess emulsion (or extract) and egg whites. Whisk well and set aside.
- Make sure your butter is at room temperature. Add the butter (in chunks) slowly to your dry ingredients. (You can turn your stand mixer on low and leave it on while you add the butter chunks at a time, or you can use a hand mixer.)
- Turn the mixer up to medium and mix until all the flour is coated with the butter and the mixture is crumbly. It will have a sand-like texture.
- Pour in about a third of the liquid mixture. Mix on low to medium until just combined. About 15-20 seconds.
- Pour the last of the liquid mixture and mix again until combined. Don’t over mix the batter. Mixing it for several minutes is too long. Once all the ingredients are incorporated well, stop mixing.
- Use a rubber spatula and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix again for only about 10 to 15 seconds.
- Check the color, if it needs to be more pink, add in another drop or two of the gel food coloring. (The batter will need to be a bit brighter than you want the baked cake to be, since the cake will darken a bit and become more golden and may over power a super light pink color.)
- Mix until the food coloring is well incorporated, but be careful not to mix too long here, or it will affect your cake’s texture.
- Pour into prepared pans and bake at 325 degrees for approximately 45 minutes. A toothpick inserted should come out with some crumbs on it.
- Set on wire racks to cool for 10-15 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto the racks and let them cool out of the pans completely before adding frosting.
- Once cooled, add buttercream.
For the buttercream:
- If you’re using a stand mixer, use the flat beater attachment to mix with. (If you don’t have a paddle attachment, just use the whisk attachment, or use a handheld mixer.)
- Cream the room temperature butter and cream cheese well for several minutes on medium speed. (If you’re not using any salted butter, go ahead and add in a pinch of salt here.)
- Add in three cups of confectioner’s sugar and beat on low until incorporated and then on medium until well mixed.
- Add one tablespoon of milk and beat until incorporated.
- Add the last four cups of confectioner’s sugar and beat on low, then on medium until well mixed.
- Add in the food coloring (optional) and the princess emulsion (or extracts), then beat on medium until well mixed.
- Now, check the consistency. If it’s too thick, add another tablespoon of milk. If it’s too thin, add another cup of confectioner’s sugar.
- Once you reach the consistency desired, beat on medium speed for about four to five minutes. The icing will fluff up and will lighten a bit in color.
I hope you really enjoy this one!
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