Recently, my best friend’s parents (Rick and Jan) were in town staying with my Mom and Step-Dad before they embarked on a cruise in celebration of their anniversary. It also happened to be Rick’s birthday so I happily baked him his favorite cake, red velvet.

Me and the birthday boy man. 😀

For basic cakes, like chocolate and vanilla, I ‘doctor’ a Duncan Hines box mix. It’s much simpler and always comes out really moist. I always make frosting from scratch though, it’s my favorite part!

Red Velvet Cake

  • 1 box Duncan Hines Red Velvet cake mix
  • 1 small box Chocolate Cook and Serve pudding. (do not use instant)
  • 1 package Dream Whip
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs

Cream Cheese Buttercream (from Martha Stewart) *I doubled the recipe for the 4 layer cake and had a good amount excess.*

  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 lbs confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions for the Red Velvet Cake:

Put all dry ingredients (box mix, dream whip, pudding mix) into the bowl of a mixer and slowly beat in the water and oil. Then beat in the eggs, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on medium speed for 4 minutes. Pour into two 8″ round pans that have been greased and floured. Bake at 325° for 35-40 minutes (my oven usually bakes hot and mine took 37 minutes).

Directions for the Cream Cheese Buttercream:

Beat the cream cheese and butter together until creamy on medium speed. Reduce speed to low and gradually add sugar, scraping down the side of the bowl often. Increase speed to medium and add vanilla, beating until fluffy.

Assembling the cake:

Level both layers of the cake then cut each layer in half horizontally. I use a cake leveler that I bought at Michael’s, but you can use a bread knife if you have calibrated eyeballs.

Put your bottom layer on your cake board or whatever you plan to serve it on. I put mine directly on my cake carrier. Put a nice blob of frosting down and spread it so that it’s level. I’m not sure how much I used, but I had made more frosting than necessary so that I wouldn’t have to worry about running out. Repeat until all 4 layers are down.

Now it’s time for the crumb coat, which is necessary when decorating a red velvet cake with white icing! The crumb coat is exactly as it sounds, a thin layer of icing to trap all the crumbs. I found this video to be useful:

After you put down your crumb coat be sure to put the cake in the fridge for 10-15 minutes so that it firms up.

Slather on the remainder of your frosting and decorate how you wish. I always say that I like to keep my cakes simple but the truth is that I’m horrible at doing anything beyond this: