Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Classic Red Velvet Frosting

Total Time:
1 hr
20 min
20 min
20 min

24 servings

  • Sheet Cake:
  • Nonstick baking spray
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 fluid ounces red food coloring
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Classic Red Velvet Frosting:
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
Sheet Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Thoroughly spray a large (18-by-12-inch) sheet cake pan (or you can use a slightly smaller jelly roll pan) with nonstick baking spray. Be sure to get in all the corners of the pan.

Sift together the cake flour and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, stir together the buttermilk, vanilla, baking soda and eggs. Add the vinegar and stir. Set aside.

In a separate small bowl, mix together the cocoa and red food coloring. Set aside. Cream together the shortening and sugar until fluffy. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk/egg mixture until all combined. Pour in the red mixture and beat until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared sheet cake pan. Use a large offset spatula or knife to even out the surface. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes.

Place a large cutting board on top of the cake pan, then invert the cake, allowing it to turn out onto the cutting board. Allow the cake to cool completely before icing.

Classic Red Velvet Frosting:

Combine the milk and flour in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk constantly until thick. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Add the vanilla once cooled.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cooled milk mixture and beat very well. It may look separated, which means you have to keep beating until fully combined. It should be fluffy and light, similar to whipped cream.

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    Check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer-- most ovens bake way too hot and will ruin this cake. You need a stand mixer to beat the icing for 20 minutes. If you don't do this right, you won't like the result.
    Made these last night and the batter was super easy to throw together! I actually made cupcakes instead and they turned out great. Makes exactly 24 cupcakes. I liked that the batter wasn't runny and it made it easier to scoop into cupcake liners. The cupcakes taste great and I would definitely make these again! I hope to make the frosting next time!
    I have used a similar Frosting recipe for years. It uses 1 cup of Shortening instead of Butter. Says nice and white. So light and not too sweet. Worth the work!
    I had never made red velvet cake before and I would definitely do it again! So good, everyone loved it. It is time consuming to make, but so worth it. You really have to beat the frosting for a long time to get the correct consistency.
    I grew up only eating this frosting that my mom made for every cake. I don't like anything else. Yes, you have to get the cooked part thick and even chill it in the fridge. It's got to be totally cool. Beat the dickens out of the butter and sugar. I've never had this frosting granulated before and I've been eating it since the 70s. My mom always made the frosting the day before and it gets even better as it sits overnight. That is my tip :-)
    FINALLY someone taking the time to make the icing intended to go with it. Recipe originated from the Waldorf Astoria, NY
    Dry, dense, flavorless. I give it a generous 3 because it looked pretty. I'm not a great baker, but it said it was easy so when following the recipe exactly I expect a good result.
    You need a stand mixer to mix the frosting for 20 minutes or more. And check your oven with an oven thermometer -- I'd bet it bakes too hot!
    This cake was so easy to make and the cake baked in just minutes...the icing....well, I took the sugar and put it in my bullet and blended it till it was real fine..there was no gritty sugar in the icing which I had read from other comments and it came out fluffy and light..not a over powering taste like the store bought icing... I am taking it to our family Christmas dinner and it smells heavenly..the icing taste just like my Aunt used to make...the real icing...that you make at home...I will be making this again....
    FINALLY! I have tried for 40 years to find a recipe for the Red Velvet Cake like my mom used to make. It seems that every recipe I have found calls for cream cheese icing. I loved the icing on my Mom's cake, and it WAS NOT cream cheese! Everyone thought I was crazy, but here it is!!! THANK YOU!
    I'm pretty sure that this is the Red Velvet Cake and Real Red Velvet Cake Icing, I've never made one my mother always made these for my many birthdays and for all our special family gatherings. Yall need to try this, even if you love the Crean Cheese Icings. Thanks for sparking some unbelievable memories....and it isn't even my birthday! Thanks,
    I love that someone finally showed how to make the ORIGINAL red velvet cake! My great aunt has been making this recipe since the 50s- I always loved it but don't have much talent when it comes to layer cakes. The fact that this is a sheet cake makes it all the better. Way to go Ree!
    My mom has been making me this cake for years. I have people who thinks I am nuts because I do not like it with cream cheese frosting. I think this is far better!! So does my family!! Way to go Ree for finally putting a red velvet cake out there that does not have cream cheese icing!!
    I think the secret is to cook the milk and flour to mashed potato consistency and to beat the living devil out of the butter and sugar (both before and after adding the milk). Unless you are a glutton for punishment, don't even try this without a stand mixer! Since I had nearly half the recipe left over after having frosted a box red velvet cake, I decided to experiment with the rest and beat in some Hershey's dark cocoa (didn't measure, just kept adding tablespoons to taste) to frost a chocolate cake. If you aren't adding cocoa, you are missing the boat! I even folded in a little Cool Whip to stretch it a little further, and it was just wonderful!
    I made cupcakes instead of the cake and they were delicious!!!! The cake was light and fluffy and so was the frosting. There's nothing worse than a dense cake. I will be making them again as favors for my grandaughters christening. Thank you Ree for a great recipe.
    This cake was o.k., but I don't think it was worth the work or the expense.
    I have never made a red velvet cake before. I watched her make this on the show and decided to try it because it did not have the cream cheese frosting. I did not make it into a cake, I did cupcakes.....Oh my, everyone raved that this was the best cupcake they had ever had and that the frosting was so light and refreshing because it was not to sweet. I have not personally tasted one due to a strict diet I am on. Making the frosting again right now to top mini cheesecakes I'm taking to work. Will use this recipe over and over again. By the way...I followed it to the exact recipe with no alterations.
    THIS is how you make Red Velvet cake!! I've been making it as a sheet cake for years since it's so much easier than assembling a layer cake. The frosting, though, is the thing! This is how Southern Red Velvet is frosted!! None of that nasty, cloying cream cheese frosting crap! Thanks for showing people how to do it the right way, Ree!
    I've made a number of red velvet cakes and I was hoping this would be delicious, but it was not. The cake was dry and the frosting was very greasy and gritty. I mixed it for like 10 minutes and it still was lumpy. Really icky recipe...yuck!!!
    Your oven temp is way off, and you didn't mix the frosting long enough!
    I've NEVER made red velvet cake but I have been making this frosting for decades. It's much better than the regular teeth-hurting confectioners sugar frosting and even cream cheese frosting. It's light and fluffy and delicious without being painfully sweet. If you try this, you will never go back to the confectioners sugar type.
    Delicious moist cake and it's perfect with the traditional frosting, not cream cheese. Thanks, Dee, LOVE the show
    OMG! I think this is the best cake I've ever eaten. Everyone loved it! Thanks Ree!
    Love this frosting, this was my mothers recipe for red velvet frosting, it was always the cake she would make us for special occasions as it was our families favorite. I was so confused the first time I ordered red velvet cake at a restaurant and it came with regular old cream cheese frosting, as that's not what I expected on red velvet. For me its this one that really makes the cake.
    I read so much about the icing I decided to make it and see what all the fuss is about. It is super easy - but I beat the butter and sugar in my stand mixer on level 4 for about 20 minutes, scraping the sides often. The sugar crystals were significantly less, but still there. I added the milk/flour mixture and beat for another 10-15 minutes, again, scraping the sides often. The result was a fluffy and smooth icing! I then put it in the fridge for 24 hours. The next day, took it out to soften and beat it again in the stand mixer - all greasy taste and any remaining sugar crystals were totally gone. It was deliscious. Hubby said not to use any other icing ever!! Well done Ree!!
    Your tips look very helpful. Do I have to take the cake out of the pan?
    This is the same frosting recipe my mother used to call Bakers Icing. It's our go to recipe for a never fail frosting, but we do substitute 1/2 Crisco for one of the sticks of butter. You do have beat it for a long time to eliminate the sugar crystals, and using margarine instead of butter will cause it to separate. LOVE THIS FROSTING!!!!
    Very nice!
    This cake was not very good... and for some reason, the frosting never turned in to a "whipped cream" consistency. I wasn't sure what to think about shortening in the cake. I tried it as written and, it was kind of what I expected. That plastic mouthfeel that comes from shortening is what I got. Perhaps with butter instead of the shortening, this would have been quite good. The flavor of the "frosting" was good... but it never actually whipped into frosting.
    Use only butter, not shortening, and mix the butter/sugar for as long as 15 minutes. Mix again for 15 minutes after adding the milk/flour mixture. Use a stand mixer set on #4. To make it best ever, refrigerate for 24 hours, then bring to room temp and mix again in stand mixer for 15 min. YUM!
    I made this for Christmas-2012 OMG sooo good. I was spectacle from reading some of the reviews but it's was further from the truth. The cake tasty and not so sweet that you need a half a gallon of milk to ease the sweetness. AND the frosting was out of this world "light and fluffy" just right. The compliments from my guest was the best part: Thank you for making me feel like a Chef.
    We've always called this "cooked frosting" It's is so much better if you use JUST butter!!! Crisco gives it a "greasy" feel that even coats your lips. It really is the BEST frosting, not over the top sweet. My family's favorite for devil foods cake!
    Great recipe. I grew up with this cake and frosting. It's the only frosting my children want on their birthday cakes! I know it as "boiled frosting" and it was always used on red velvet cake...our usual birthday cake!
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