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Montclair Martha's Red Velvet Cake


This rendition of a Southern specialty gets its deep-red hue from food coloring and comes from Martha Stewart -- not our Martha but her namesake, a home cook from Montclair, New Jersey.

  • Yield: Makes one 8-inch cake

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, September 2005


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted, plus more for pans
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 one-ounce bottles liquid red food coloring
  • 3 tablespoons lukewarm water
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • Cream Cheese Frosting for Red Velvet Cake


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, and butter again. Dust with flour, and tap out the excess; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, cocoa, and baking powder; set aside.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar, and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 15 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, salt, food coloring, and water; beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until well combined. Add reserved dry ingredients in additions, alternating with the buttermilk; beat on low speed until well combined.

  3. In a small bowl, stir together baking soda and vinegar; add to batter. Beat on medium speed for 10 seconds. Be sure not to overbeat. Divide batter between prepared pans, and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove pans from oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack; let stand until completely cool.

  4. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes so surfaces are level. Place a layer on a cake stand or cardboard round, and spread about 1/3 of the frosting over top. Place the second layer on top, and spread with the remaining frosting over the tops and sides of assembled cake. Transfer to refrigerator, and chill until ready to serve.

Reviews Add a comment

  • Bakebake7
    29 JUN, 2012
    Terrible recipe. In addition to other baked goods, I bake a cake about once a week and everything works out perfectly. This cake took way too long to bake, was overly sweet, the tops collapsed, and the sides fell off. I'm sticking with the REAL Martha's Red Velvet recipe.
  • luscious1cakes
    15 SEP, 2011
    I found this recipe on this site a couple of years ago. You can't go wrong with this recipe TRUST ME!!! I saw someone in the grocery store buying a slice of Red Velvet Cake. I told him the cake he has is not good from this store. He said i love their cake and I told him to give me a call. After I made the cake and gave him a slice, he ordered the cake from me. He told me ever since he tasted my cakes he cannot go back to buying store bought.
  • karenfromvegas
    4 JUL, 2011
    This is a wonderful recipe. The cake is very light and could also be used as a "light chocolate" cake without the red food coloring. The directions state to use 8 inch round by 2 inch tall pans -- and this is important since the batter is fluffy after after adding in the baking soda/vinegar ingredients. My pans were only 1-1/2 inches tall and the batter ran over! I cut up the cake itno squares and made a red, white and blue trifle with blueberries and whipped cream.
  • freetheharpy
    23 MAY, 2011
    A friend was craving a red velvet cake and so I gave this recipe a try. I was so happily surpised at how moist the cake turned out to be. I would use this recipe over any others. Everyone loved it.
  • Nahhhla
    11 OCT, 2010
    Will This Recipe Work Without The Paddle Attachment ?
  • Nahhhla
    11 OCT, 2010
    Will This Recipe Work Without The Paddle Attachment ?
  • Nate78526
    19 JUL, 2010
    Use Apple Cider Vinegar, it is a little sweeter naturally. White Vinegar is just bland get flavor when you can.
  • casey94
    17 JUN, 2010
    this cake is pretty good..i used my aunt's cream cheese frosting recipe, 1 lb powdered sugar, 1 stick butter, 8oz cream cheese, and a tsp of vanilla. just enough.
  • Aussieronnie
    16 FEB, 2010
    Recently moved to USA found everyone buying red velvet cakes for valentines, remembering my husbands grandmother gave this recipe to me in 1984, but called it Waldolf red cake. Aussie Ron
  • MS11024921
    1 JUL, 2009
    This cake recipe is wonderful; I didn't use the icing so I cannot comment on that. I made a 1/4 sheet cake with this recipe and it was fabulous.