Three layers of Red Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting will wow your guests! It’s impressive and irresistible!

This Best Red Velvet Cake recipe is tender and moist with 3 layers separated by the dreamiest frosting! Perfect for birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or anytime you’re craving red velvet.

Red Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting | Triple layered decadence.

Why You Must Make

  • This THREE layer cake makes a gorgeous presentation!
  • The buttermilk in the batter ensures a moist tender cake.
  • It’s iced with cream cheese frosting enhanced with white chocolate. It’s irresistible!!

Another birthday has come and gone. Katie is pretty predictable when it comes to her birthday cake. It has always been predictable: Red Velvet, Tres Leches, Funfetti Cake, or Cheesecake. This was a red velvet year…and a three-layer cake was a must for a 25th birthday celebration.

Red velvet cake ingredients in small glass bowls with labels on a sheet pan.

Ingredient Notes:

  • Buttermilk – If you’re in a pinch, you can make buttermilk at home by measuring out 1 cup of whole or 2% milk, then mixing in a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Let it rest a few minutes, then stir before using.
  • Cake Flour – This flour has less gluten than all-purpose flour and creates more tender cakes. If you don’t have cake flour on hand, you can make an easy substitution. For each cup, measure out a cup of all-purpose flour. Remove 2 tablespoons of the flour and replace it with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Whisk to combine before using.
  • Oil – Use a neutral flavored oil like canola.
  • White Chocolate – My addition to the cream cheese frosting. The frosting can be made without it if you’re not a fan.

The subtle chocolate flavor from a bit of cocoa powder in the typical red velvet cake is enough for my girl…and the addition of white chocolate to the frosting kicks it up a notch.

Red Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting on a white cake plate.

The BEST Red Velvet Cake Recipe

This is the ultimate red velvet cake recipe…I’ve made numerous cakes and cupcakes and have had oodles of recipe requests. In fact, here in Indianapolis, this recipe actually saved a basement from devastating flood damage. You may wonder, “How can that be???” Well, my jet-setting friends are often out of the country (or at least the state) on lecture tours. They’re the couple we ran into in Venice. I think the hubby needs to look into this talk circuit thing…but I digress.

Anyhow, their daughter just adores red velvet cupcakes, and my friend often has a stash in her basement freezer. So Julie popped over to her parent’s house, hoping to find a frozen treat waiting for her. Well, she found more than that. The hot water heater had sprung a leak and major damage was averted due to this discovery. See, red velvet cake can be very useful, as well as extremely tasty. Everyone needs a stash…you won’t regret it.

Overhead view Red Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting on a white cake plate.

How to Make a Red Velvet Cake

There are 4 crucial ingredients to make an official red velvet cake: cocoa, some sort of red food coloring, vinegar, and buttermilk. As my husband, a true chocoholic will attest, a red velvet cake is not a chocolate cake. There is some cocoa powder in a red velvet cake, but nowhere as much cocoa or chocolate as in a chocolate cake. Rich and moist with a fine texture, it traditionally is iced with cream cheese frosting.

  1. Make the cake batter.
  2. Bake in well-greased, parchment-lined cake pans. Make sure to divide evenly, by weighing or eyeing the depth of the batter.
  3. Let cool completely before frosting.
  4. When cool, place the first layer on a cake stand or plate, and tuck pieces of parchment paper around the perimeter of the cake to keep the frosting off the cake stand.
  5. Stack the 3 cake layers, adding a generous portion of frosting across the surface before stacking the next layer.
  6. Using an offset spatula, frost the exterior of the cake and garnish if desired.

Expert Tips:

  • PRO-Tip: Have all your ingredients at room temperature. Set out your eggs and buttermilk for 1-2 hours before baking to get the chill off.
  • Atypically, the cream cheese frosting recipe doesn’t call for room-temperature cream cheese.
  • Mix in eggs one at a time. This gives the batter time to thicken and emulsify.
  • PRO-Tip: Alternate adding wet and dry ingredients. Adding all the wet ingredients at once could saturate the creamed sugar and butter mixture which could lead to separation.
  • Adding all the dry ingredients at once could create a very thick batter that would need to be beaten longer. Excessive beating can result in a tough cake.
  • If you want perfectly even cake layers, you can weigh your cake pans and divvy up the batter so that all pans weigh the same. Alternatively, you can use toothpicks to compare the depth of the batter of each pan or just eyeball each pan.
  • When the cake is almost finished baking, you will smell the delicious, sweet aroma of baked cake. Peek through the oven door to see if it’s time to test the cake for doneness.
  • To test your cake, use a toothpick and insert it into the middle of the cake. When a cake is done, the toothpick will come out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. There will be no batter on the toothpick.
  • I also like to use my forefinger to tap near the center of the cake. If the cake springs back up, it’s done baking. If an indentation is left, add a few more minutes to the baking time, then repeat.
  • Cool your baked cakes on cooling racks for 10-20 minutes before inverting them out of the pans. Remove the parchment and allow them to cool completely on the racks before icing.
  • If you frost while the cakes are warm, the frosting will melt into the cake. 
  • If you’d prefer to save the cakes to frost later, wrap the layers well with plastic wrap and freeze. Defrost the layers in the refrigerator before frosting.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Red Velvet Cake?

Popularized during the great depression, since cocoa was easier to procure than chocolate, red velvet cake is a cross between Devil’s Food Cake and Velvet Cake. A chemical reaction between the acids in the batter and the cocoa powder turned the batter a dark red.

What Makes a Red Velvet Cake Red?

The original version was not the deep red that’s seen in today’s red velvet cakes. Instead of relying on the chemical reaction, red food coloring or even beet juice is added for a more intense red color.

What Flavor is Red Velvet Cake?

Despite cocoa powder in the batter, red velvet cake does not taste like chocolate. Instead, its primary flavor is vanilla with just a whisper of cocoa.

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Red Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting | Triple layered decade

Red Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Yield 16 servings

The PERFECT Red Velvet Cake adapted from The Confetti Cookbook



  • 3 ½ cups cake flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 2 ¼ cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 ounces red food coloring
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 ½ teaspoons white vinegar


  • 16 ounces cream cheese, cold
  • 12 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 ounces white chocolate, melted gently in microwave and cooled slightly
  • 6 cups powdered sugar, sifted


  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Grease three 9-inch cake pans with butter and line the bottoms with parchment. Grease the top of the parchment. Set aside.
  2. Whisk flour, cocoa, and salt together in a bowl.
  3. Beat oil and sugar in an electric mixer on medium till well blended.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Lower the mixer speed to low, and carefully add the red food coloring.
  5. Add vanilla, then alternate flour with buttermilk, starting with half the flour, then half the buttermilk, the rest of the flour, then ending with buttermilk. Scrape down the bowl, then mix just briefly till combined.
  6. Place the baking soda and vinegar in a dish and stir to combine. Add to batter with mixer running. Beat for just 10 seconds.
  7. Divide batter between the 3 pans.
  8. Bake for 40-45 minutes or till a cake tester comes out clean.
  9. Let cool for about 10-20 minutes, then remove from pan and peel off parchment. Cool completely before icing.
  10. For the frosting, beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla just till blended. Mix in white chocolate.
  11. Add powdered sugar slowly (2 cups at a time) and beat till the frosting is smooth and at your desired consistency.
  12. Frost and garnish as desired.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 904Total Fat: 52gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 33gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 577mgCarbohydrates: 105gFiber: 1gSugar: 79gProtein: 7g


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The birthday girl in Seattle.