Red-Velvet Sheet Cake

red-velvet sheet cake recipe
Photo: Con Poulos
Prep Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 15 mins
10 to 12 Serves

With less food coloring than traditional recipes call for, this red velvet looks more like an elegant mauve velvet; the balance of cocoa powder, butter, sugar, eggs, and sour cream gives it an almost fudgy flavor. Swoops of tangy cream-cheese frosting offset the cake's richness, as well as its striking hue.



  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more, softened, for pan

  • 1 ⅓ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • ½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (we use Diamond Crystal)

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature

  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla paste or extract

  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature


  • 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or paste


  1. Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush a 9-by-13-inch or 8-by-12-inch baking pan with butter. Line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on long sides. Butter parchment.

  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Combine eggs and granulated sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until thick and pale, about 4 minutes. Add flour mixture; beat just to combine. Add butter, food coloring, and vanilla; beat to combine. Add sour cream; beat until smooth.

  3. Scrape batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with a spatula. Bake until top springs back when lightly touched and a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes (for 9-by-13-inch) or about 40 minutes (for 8-by-12).

  4. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Using parchment overhangs, lift out of pan; let cool completely on rack. (Cake can be made to this point and stored at room temperature, wrapped in plastic, up to 1 day.)

  5. Frosting: Beat together cream cheese, butter, and confectioners' sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Spread frosting over cake. Frosted cake is best the day it's assembled, but can be refrigerated, wrapped in plastic, up to 1 day. Return to room temperature before serving.

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