No Thanks
Keep In Touch With

Sign up and we'll send inspiration straight to you.

Martha Stewart takes your privacy seriously. To learn more, please read our Privacy Policy.

Red Velvet Chocolate Cake

What could make traditional red velvet cake even better? Chocolate, of course!

  • Yield: Makes 1 two-layer cake
Red Velvet Chocolate Cake

Source: Holiday Baking 2002, Special Issue 2002


  • Unsalted butter, for cake pans
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • Seven-Minute Frosting


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans. Sprinkle with flour, and tap out the excess; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk cake flour, salt, and cocoa; set aside.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar and oil, and beat on medium speed until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add food coloring and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

  3. In a small bowl, mix baking soda and vinegar until combined. Add to batter, and beat for 10 seconds. Evenly divide batter between the prepared pans.

  4. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Remove from the pans, and return to the rack to cool completely.

Cook's Note

If you want your cake to be even redder, increase the food coloring by one to three tablespoons.

Reviews (57)

  • 14Deb 16 Sep, 2014

    I feel compelled to comment on this recipe having made it 3 times. Moist and fluffy, this cake is incredibly delicious. I follow the recipe exactly, and each time it has been a huge hit. I always have all ingredients at room temperature, and I use high quality cocoa and butter. I frost it with Martha's buttercream frosting, and if you use that recipe you should be aware that the full recipe will yield too much frosting for this cake, but half will not be enough. Also, add more vanilla.

  • imwende 11 Feb, 2014

    This recipe is very similar to the one my Aunt made me every yr for my birthday over 40 yrs her's she combined the food coloring and the cocoa to make a paste then added all time favorite cake..or it's possible that the beet cake is..I'm on the fence about whether she made me this recipe or the beet cake recipe.?? just know I loved it which ever it was..wish I had known to ask for her recipe all those yrs ago..I recently got this one from my cousin.

  • jupiter1 16 Dec, 2013

    can i replace the cream cheese frosting by buttercream or any other frosting? My husband does not like cream cheese frosting.
    Thank you

  • KSofOhio1 4 Oct, 2013

    I made this cake for my husband and all he could say was, "Mmmmmm". It is that good! I'm really glad I found this recipe. The cake was tender and very flavorful. I used Cream Cheese Icing since we love the tang of the cream cheese and how it tastes with the cake. I will definitely make this again.

  • abhinav 26 Sep, 2013

    Hi, i am The Lead Cake designer at,
    we operate out of gurgaon, india, i had made this recipe for one of our very loyal customer,
    it was his wife’s birthday and he needed something special so we made this red velvet cake for him in heart shape. those guys loved it. thank you for putting this online. thanks again.

  • inigomontoyayoukilledmyfatherp 26 Aug, 2013

    Oh lordy! this be delicious!

  • Daniella_ 21 Aug, 2013

    I made this cake for a birthday and got rave reviews- not even crumbs were left it was so good, and I followed the directions to the T. I'm not a huge fan of food coloring, but I do use a whole bottle for this, though it is less than the 1/4 cup the recipe calls for. Again- one of my best cakes ever, very delicious and well-balanced with the buttercream frosting because I can't stand cream cheese.

  • Daniella_ 21 Aug, 2013

    I made this cake for a birthday and got rave reviews- not even crumbs were left it was so good, and I followed the directions to the T. I'm not a huge fan of food coloring, but I do use a whole bottle for this, though it is less than the 1/4 cup the recipe calls for. Again- one of my best cakes ever, very delicious and well-balanced with the buttercream frosting because I can't stand cream cheese.

  • kiddogardener 8 Jul, 2013

    I don't understand how this is two in one... hasn't Red Velvet Cake ALWAYS been chocolate? I've never had it any other way, and I've eaten more than my fair share, I'm sure.

  • Pamela Pico 23 Jun, 2013

    Hi friendster, I did the cake and It was good but not great :( Instead of buttermilk I use natural yoghurt and a square baking pan. Maybe that was a mistake. I really need your feedback about it.

  • Teresa Bartz 14 Apr, 2013

    I dont know what everyone else is tasting but all we could taste was oil. I followed it exactly but 1 1/2 oil is insane. Worst cake EVER.

  • KaterinaAn 13 Mar, 2013

    How many people does this recipe serve?

  • Alice7588 1 Mar, 2013

    This recipe was fantastic! Moist, melt in your mouth satisfaction. Defiantly going to be putting this one in my recipe box.
    I did use splenda sugar mix and cut the food coloring to 2 tablespoons. Coating these cakes with creamcheese frosting from this website.

  • lrol 28 Feb, 2013

    I am new to this site and feel compelled to respond to Nayana Rajeevan's question of 23 Jan. 2013. I hope that my doing so is acceptable to Martha Stewart & Co. Nayana, the answers to your questions can be found at the following website:
    1 stick of butter is 1/2 a cup. 1 stick of butter is also 4 ounces, which is 113.398 grams. Hope that helps.

  • lrol 28 Feb, 2013

    Although I do not know what it has to do with this recipe, which uses butter only for the cake pans, not in the cake batter, I feel compelled to respond to Nayana Rajeevan's question posted on 23 January 2013. A helpful website for converting food measurements can be found with this link:
    One stick of butter is 1/2 cup. In ounces, one stick of butter is 4 ounces. 4 ounces [weight] = 113.398 grams
    Hope that helps.

  • Nayana Rajeevan 23 Jan, 2013

    heyy can anyone tell me the conversion of one cup into grams? is one butter stick equal to 100grams?

  • Webmom 18 Dec, 2012

    I made this cake for Christmas last year. It was a huge hit. My husband thinks the frosting was too sweet, but he was alone. The rest of the family really liked it. And the cake itself - without frosting - would be just as enjoyable. It's a moist cake with a pleasing flavor. Red or not, it's a fantastic chocolate cake.

  • smakager 2 Dec, 2012

    Whos Stella Parks?? Red velvet cake??

  • sdebrango 2 Dec, 2012

    I can't wait to make this cake, this is the recipe I have been looking for. I wanted a Red Velvet cake that uses cake flour and vegetable oil. Thank you for posting this and I look forward to making it for my Holiday Party!

  • tonyvoice 13 Nov, 2012

    I was looking to Martha Stewart for a more traditional recipe, one that evokes the true culinary magic of natural cocoa turning red in the presence of something acidic like vinegar or buttermilk. The name of the cake historically refers to the velvet texture. The huge quantities of red dye were only introduced during the Great Depression to promote the sale of food coloring. For a superior recipe -- one that contains NO food coloring, not even beet juice -- I recommend Stella Parks instead

  • yamini 17 Mar, 2012

    simple. delicious. elegant. didnt change a thing except reduced the sugar by a 1/4 just because it felt like too much. would definitely make again to make an impression!

  • hidz 1 Mar, 2012

    Absolutly gorgous cake.... moist and yummy..... however i use this as a filling and icing....
    1/4 cup cream cheese
    2 Tablespoons butter sofened.
    mix untill creamy... then add
    1 cup icing sugar
    3 Tablespoons of thickened cream
    80 grams melted white chocklate
    mix together and yummy!!!!!
    Thanks Martha for the great cake recipe!

  • winktin 22 Oct, 2011

    This is the best red velvet cake ever!!! I've been baking cakes regularly for three years now, and this is my most requested cake. I do have my own cream cheese frosting recipe that I use with this cake. This cake is moist, not too sweet, great color. But one has to REALLY follow the instructions, esp the last part, where you only stir in the batter, the baking soda with vinegar for "10 seconds". One time I wasn't paying attention and overstirred.The batter overflowed while baking!

  • chunkylover2000 18 Sep, 2011

    I absolutely love this cake delicious!!

    i used coolwhip +(store bought) cream cheese frosting, folded it together and BAM!! AWESOMENESS!!

  • sweetcakes12 21 Aug, 2011

    This was a wonderful cake. My family and I really enjoyed this cake. However I made a cream cheese frosting.

  • Stephstraface 5 Apr, 2011

    Absolutely THEE best red velvet recipe I have made. It was so incredibly moist that you could even eat it without any frosting!! Thank you Martha this will be a definite keeper!!

  • Polgara 26 Feb, 2011

    I made this cake for an audition for a TV show in the UK. I was really pleased with it. The frosting looked great, the cake tasted good. (I put a bit in a cupcake case and baked it) Took it along and the two celebrities judging had this to say on the crumb: " too doughy" "bland" "flavourless" "left a baking soda tang in the throat" . The frosting was not nice apparently - the meringue should taste of smooth caramel and have a bit of a crust. I was at a loss.

  • KakiJ 13 Feb, 2011

    Made cupcakes - very moist and yummy! Changes I made were: regular flour in place of cake flour (didn"t have any in the pantry) and only about 1/8th cup of red food coloring ( all I had on hand). I also used a cream cheese frosting. Recipe is a keeper!!

  • Perfectionist101 13 Jan, 2011

    Yes Claire86 I did have to add extra time too it .The middle was a little wet still when I first tested it..This tasted delicious however when it was finish! :)

  • tourtes 11 Dec, 2010

    Where do you purchase Red Food Coloring in that amount...the ones we buy here in Ottawa the bottles are about 1 inch high not 1/4 cup in that!

  • tourtes 11 Dec, 2010

    Where do you purchase Red Food Coloring in that amount...the ones we buy here in Ottawa the bottles are about 1 inch high not 1/4 cup in that!

  • Claire86 9 Dec, 2010

    Did anyone else have to add an extra 10 minutes to baking time??? When I tested the cakes at 30-35 mins they were NOT done! Jiggly in the middle and the cake tester came out with wet cake batter on it. :P I followed the recipe strictly, so I'm not sure what happened...BUT, they sure turned out delicious!!

  • dancinrain21 8 Dec, 2010

    Try this version. Make 2 cakes batches, 1 red and 1 green but use ONLY 1/8 cup (2 OZ) green, trust me on this one for the 2nd cake. Make 3-8 inch layers of each batch. Assemble 2 cakes, one red/green/red and the other green/red/green. Frost and decorate with silver cake beads and glitter for a frosty, snowy, dreamy look. When you cut the cake it is beautiful. I also grew up with the cake and this is my version. Enjoy

  • SheilaMichelle 12 Oct, 2010

    Ack, never mind - I must need eye glasses. Swear I did not see the buttermilk ingredient first time I looked. Sorry! But try buttercream frosting - it really is delicious too. :)

  • SheilaMichelle 12 Oct, 2010

    Love ya Martha, but no, red velvet cake is NOT simply chocolate cake with lots of red food color! I've grown up loving my Mom's authentic southern red velvet cake recipe, it calls for buttermilk and has many differences from a standard chocolate cake recipe. Also buttercream frosting, although cream cheese icing seems to be the standard now - I understand what is considered authentic depends in part on region.

  • mobear 9 Oct, 2010

    This cake is AMAZING! I made it for an Aunt's Birthday and everyone LOVED it! Avery one raved about how moist it was. I used the cream cheese frosting instead of the 7 minute and it was a great pairing. A cousin liked it so much he asked ME to make the same cake for him for his birthday and not his Aunt who is an expert baker! Thanks Martha!

  • TanujaSindhia 19 Sep, 2010

    Lil help needed pls. I own an OTG - Morphy 28 ltrs. A newbee to baking - Can I pre-heat the otg at 350F for 10 mins? - At what temperature do I bake the cake for 30-35 minutes (as mentioned)?

  • USCStephanie 23 Aug, 2010

    I made this cake for a birthday party and was so happy with the results! I only added a 1 oz. bottle of red food coloring, instead of the 1/4 c. (2 oz.) the recipe calls for, which produced a very red cake and used Martha's cream cheese frosting instead. What a great recipe. I will definitely be adding it to my repertoire.

  • adiro 17 Aug, 2010

    I am from Israel. I wish to know how much butter need to use for this cake (gram). We have a deferent quantity here.

  • MrsJocokolyn 2 Aug, 2010

    I wanted to do something special for my husband on his promotion to captain. Searching for a recipe for a chocolate red velvet cake I found and trusted this one ..OF COURSE ANYTHING THAT HAS THE NAME MARTHA STEWART ATTACHED HAS TO BE A GOOD RECIPE. Two hours after the cake finished baking it was gone and my husband was in his favorite chair asleep and happy. Thanks Martha.

  • susiecricut 9 May, 2010

    I made this for a Mothers Day luncheon. It was the best cake EVER !!!!!!!

  • megspell 4 May, 2010

    Anyone know the conversion to use gel food coloring instead of liquid?

  • emai07 18 Apr, 2010

    This was an amazing cake for a friend's birthday. So moist and delicious! I also used the cream cheese frosting recipe found here:

  • TheKingOfDomisticArts 27 Mar, 2010

    The cake was alright but I hate the icing.

  • jkalaghan 28 Dec, 2009

    Excellent! Extremely moist and delicious. I found the red coloring to be fine as is and not necessary to add more food coloring. I prepared with cream cheese frosting and it was wonderful. I highly recommend and will definitely make again and again!

  • GeorgiaLee 2 May, 2009

    This is the best chocolate cake I've ever made - or tasted. I use vegetable oil instead of canola oil.

  • roni7070 12 Apr, 2009

    This is one of the best red velvet cakes I've had! It came out very moist and delicious! I used the cream cheese frosting and got many compliments.

  • laurenbrooke86 24 Mar, 2009

    This is a great cake that isn't hard to make, yet very impressive! I loved it, so moist, chocolatey, and pretty! I used a thick chocolate ganache frosting and it came out decadent!

  • valerie316 22 Mar, 2009

    Try the wonderful cream cheese frosting that is listed with Martha's hummingbird cake. It is delightful and I am using it today with this recipe.

  • SeasideRose 5 Feb, 2009

    The frosting link is working again. If you run into trouble, here's the web address for it:

  • SeasideRose 5 Feb, 2009

    The frosting link is working again. If you run into trouble, here's the web address for it:

  • AnyPenny 5 Nov, 2008

    Fantastic. I made cupcakes from this recipe and they were divine, very moist and spongy. I topped them with cream cheese frosting, haven't tried the 7-min. frosting yet.

  • camillelepen 29 Sep, 2008

    the seven minute frosting recipe is unavailable ! someone have it???

  • ShirleysGoodThings 14 Feb, 2008

    My Valentine's Day cupcakes were moist and yummy! Baked about 20 minutes, topped with Seven Minute Frosting. They looked so pretty that I didn't even add sprinkles! I'll keep this recipe...

  • rosemi 14 Feb, 2008

    I made Valentine cupcakes with this recipe (and Buttercream frosting). I agree with the previous comment: check on the cake! I baked the cupcakes for 25 minutes. I didn't have cake flour, so I used all purpose flour, sifted it 3 times, and remeasured. They are the best cupcakes I've ever made.

  • DessertFanatic 13 Feb, 2008

    This recipe is Fabulous! I searched for THE Perfect RV Cake recipe, and this is it. It's light in texture and has an excellent crumb. It's not heavy like a lot of other homemade cakes. The flavor is yummy, and the cake was very moist. I baked it for 28 minutes. I would recommend checking the cakes before the minimum baking time. I added an extra tablespoon of coloring. It had a nice, dark red color. Thanks Martha for delivering a cake recipe with everything I was looking for!

  • rosemi 12 Feb, 2008

    This was delicious. My in-laws say it's the best birthday cake to date. I'm going to use this batter to make cupcakes for Valentine's Day.

Related Topics