Indulge in a classic treat with this Red Velvet Cake recipe, made without buttermilk. A moist and fluffy cake with a hint of cocoa powder and a vibrant red color, topped with a creamy cream cheese frosting. Perfect for special occasions or just a sweet treat.
We all love the red velvet cake for its bright red color and for its moist texture and unique flavor. While traditional red velvet cake recipes call for buttermilk, this recipe uses a combination of lemon juice and regular milk as a substitute, giving you the same tangy flavor and moist texture.
The cocoa powder adds a subtle chocolate flavor, and calm down the fake red color of the food coloring.
The cream cheese frosting complements perfectly the cake by adding a creamy and tangy flavor that balances out the sweetness of the cake.
The frosting is very easy to make because you will need just to mix the cream with cream cheese.
Also, it gives you endless possibilities to experiment with the frosting and make it to your liking. This is the place where you can make the cake more unique.
This recipe is perfect if you have a special occasion such as a birthday or because of the bright red color, it is a common option for a sweet treat on Valentine’s Day.
But of course, it is a great option for you for some days when you simply want to indulge in a classic treat.
With its moist texture, unique flavor, and beautiful presentation, this red velvet cake recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
Pro Tip: If you want to get the best results from this cake, I highly recommend starting to make it two days ahead of the day you need to serve it. In order to get the best taste and texture of this red velvet cake, you will need to leave the dough to cool down. After that, you need to cover it with cling film and leave it for another 6 hours or even better overnight to moisten the exterior crust. Then the next day, you will need also to leave the assembled cake to rest for a few hours to make it juicier.
Enough words, let’s get started!
🥰 Why You Will Love This Recipe?
- If you planned to make this recipe, but you noticed that you don’t have buttermilk in the fridge, this recipe will be a lifesaver for you, because you will get similar results even without the buttermilk.
- It is a quick recipe that is easy to follow and doesn’t require any special baking skills which makes it a great option for both experienced and novice bakers.
- It is a versatile cake that lets you experiment with the frosting and the way you will decorate the cake.
🥘 Ingredients and Substitutes
Ingredients for the cake mix:
- Lemon Juice. We used lemon juice because we needed some acid to coagulate the milk and extinguish the baking soda. If you don’t have lemon juice on hand, you could use white vinegar such as apple vinegar or white wine vinegar.
- All-purpose Flour.
- Cane Sugar. You could replace easily cane sugar with brown sugar.
- Baking Powder.
- Baking Soda.
- Cocao. We add cocoa to balance the color a bit, because any red food coloring, will make the cake look too artificial and fake. Therefore, to give a more natural shade of red, we are using cocoa.
- Food coloring. You could use a mix of cold red and warm red color in order to get a more pleasant color. If not, you can only use one shade of red food coloring that you prefer. In my case, I used a red color with a cool shade. For this reason, the cake has a color similar to the color of raspberries.
Ingredients for frosting:
- Cream Cheese.
- Single Cream. I used an 18% fat single cream. So my ratio between single cream and cream cheese is 1:2. If you will use 36% heavy cream, you can use a 1:1 ratio.
- Powdered sugar.
👩🍳 Step-by-step Directions
In the beginning, mix the milk and lemon juice. You will immediately notice that the milk will start to coagulate.
After that, take another large bowl and mix in it the eggs with the sugar.
Quick Note: It is important to immediately mix the sugar with the eggs because otherwise, the yolk may start coagulating and you will get dense particles in the dough that will ruin the texture of the cake.
Add the milk and lemon mixture over the egg and sugar mixture.
Right after that, melt the butter and add it to the composition. Mix everything well.
After this, add the red food coloring. Mix well again.
Now it’s time to mix all the dry ingredients. Take another large bowl, and put all the dry ingredients in it. Mix them until you will combine them.
After that, sift the dry ingredients over the wet and mixed ones.
Quick Note: To avoid the formation of lumps, do this procedure in 2 steps.
Stop mixing the ingredients as soon as the ingredients have been incorporated.
Pro Tip: If you will mix the cake batter for a long period of time, a gluten shell will form and as a result, the cake will not be so airy.
After this, pour the obtained composition into a baking form. In my case, I used a 6″ baking form.
If you will use a larger form, then the cake will not be so high and as a result, you will be forced to make the cake layers thinner or to make it in 4 layers instead of 6. Keep that in mind.
After that, bake the red velvet cake base for 40 minutes at 325°F.
Quick Note: To be sure that the cake is baked, test the dough using the toothpick method.
After baking, let the dough cool down. It will be better and easier for you to work with it.
Pro Tip: If you have time, I would suggest wrapping the top in cling film and to leave it overnight in the fridge. The crust that was formed during baking will soften and have a more uniform texture after that.
As the top layer will be a little convex, I recommend you cut it to make the top surface flat. You can use that piece of the cake dough from the top at the end when you will decorate the cake.
After this, cut the cake into 2 or 3 slices, depending on how many layers you want the cake to have at the end.
Quick Note: I decided that I will make the cake in 6 layers and because of this, I cut the dough into 3 slices to obtain 3 layers of dough and 3 layers of cream.
Making the Frosting
Put all the ingredients for the cream in a large bowl where you can mix them.
Using a mixer, mix the ingredients well until you get a thick and creamy cream.
Assembling the Cake
To make it easier for you, you can use a pastry ring of the same size as the cake that will help you make the right shape. Again, in my case, it was 6”.
Begin assembling the cake by placing the first layer of the cake dough in the pastry ring (Step 1).
After that, using a “sac a poche” in which you will put the cream, pour ¼ of the cream you did over the first cake layer. Spread the cream evenly, until you cover the entire surface of the first layer (Step 2).
Repeat this procedure with all the cake layers you have.
Quick Note: Don’t forget to leave ¼ of the cream for the end. We will use this cream for decoration after the cake will stabilize.
After you have covered all 3 layers with cream, cover the form with cling film and leave the cake in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours. If you have time and want even better results, leave it overnight in the fridge.
Quick Note: If you will not leave the cake to rest for that time, the cake may be dry and not keep its shape when you will remove the pastry ring.
After this time has passed, remove the pastry ring, and decorate it with the rest of the cream and the crumbled top layer that we cut from the top of the cake.
At this stage, your imagination is the limit for decoration. Feel Free to decorate the cake as you want. I opted for the classic variant for it.
Pro Tip: In order for the red velvet cake to be even creamier, I suggest you leave it on the table for another 2 hours before serving it. Thus, all the layers will reach room temperature, and the cream will become softer.
After this long process, you can enjoy an airy, moist, and impressive-looking slice of red velvet cake baked without buttermilk next to a cup of coffee or aromatic tea.
🏆 Expert Tips. What to Pay Attention To?
- As in baking it is important to use the exact amount of ingredients as it is called in recipes, it is preferable to have a kitchen scale near you that will let you measure the ingredients more exactly.
- Make sure to use fresh ingredients, such as eggs and milk, for the best results.
- To avoid forming lumps, consider mixing dry ingredients separately, and liquid ingredients also separately in another bowl. Only after that, you can combine those two bowls to minimize the risks of forming lumps and to ensure a smooth batter.
- Don’t over-mix the batter: Over-mixing the batter can cause the cake to be tough, so be sure to mix the batter just until all the ingredients are combined. The dough should remain airy.
- Don’t over-bake the cake because you risk getting a dry cake. You can use a toothpick in the center of the cake to check its doneness.
- Bring the cream cheese and butter to room temperature. Will make the process of mixing them more easily and you will avoid forming lumps.
- Leave the cake to chill before you decorate it with frosting. By leaving the cake to chill before decoration, the frosting will stick better and the bake will be easier to handle.
- If you think that the procedure of making this perfect red velvet cake takes too long, I recommend you prepare a larger amount of dough at once. After that, wait for it to cool down, wrap it well in cling film, and freeze it. When you will want a delicious red velvet cake, just defrost the baked cake for about 2-3 hours, and you will need only prepare the cream and assemble it.
Answering Your Questions:
Can I make the cake ahead of time?
Yes, you can make the cake ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This cake actually tastes better after sitting in the fridge for a day or two.
Can I freeze the cake?
Yes, you can freeze the cake for up to 2 months. Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil before placing it in the freezer.
Can I use natural food coloring instead of red food coloring?
Yes, you can use natural food coloring like beet juice to achieve a red color. However, the amount of beet juice required may vary, and it may not give the same vibrant red color that red food coloring provides.
What frosting goes best with Red Velvet Cake Without Buttermilk?
Cream cheese frosting is the classic frosting for red velvet cake, but you could also use vanilla or chocolate frosting. The tangy cream cheese frosting balances the sweetness of the cake well.
How do I know when the cake is done baking?
Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. You could also gently press the center of the cake; it should spring back when it’s done.
📋 Recipe Card:
Red Velvet Cake Without Buttermilk
- 2 cup Cream Cheese
- 1 cup Single Cream 18% fat
- ⅜ cup Powdered sugar
Preparing the Cake Dough
- Mix the lemon juice with the milk.2 ½ teaspoon Lemon Juice, ⅔ cup Milk
- Mix the eggs with the suggar.2 Egg, ¾ cup Cane Sugar
- Combine the compositions from the previous two steps.
- Melt the butter and add it to the mix.2.5 oz Butter
- Add the food coloring.3 teaspoon Food coloring
- Take another bowl and mix all the dry ingredients.
- Sift the dry ingredients over the wet and mixed ones.1 ½ cup All-purpose Flour, ½ teaspoon Baking Powder, ½ teaspoon Baking Soda, 1 ½ teaspoon Cacao
- Pour the obtained composition into a baking form. I used a 6" pastry ring.
- Bake the cake base for 40 minutes at 325°F. Check it with a toothpick. Let it to cool down.
- Cut the top layer to make the cake flat. We will use this part at the end to decorate the red velvet cake.
- Cut the cake into 2 or 3 slices, depending on how many layers.
Preparing the frosting
- Take a large bowl and mix in it the single cream with cream cheese.2 cup Cream Cheese, 1 cup Single Cream, ⅜ cup Powdered sugar
- Mix everything well until you will get a uniform cream without any lumps.
Assembling the Cake
- To be easier for you, use a pantry ring of the same size as the cake. It will help you to hold the shape of the cake.
- Put a slice of cake dough at the bottom and cover it with ¼ of the cream. Spread the cream.
- Repeat the previous steps with the rest of the cake layers. Keep in mind that with the last ¼ of the cream, you should decorate it on top and on sides.
- Cover the cake with cling film and leave it to rest in the fridge for about 6 hours.
- In the end, crumble the top slice of the cake that we cut previously and use it for the decor.
I highly recommend reading the entire recipe to find more tips and notes about this recipe. Read Full Recipe ⇑