Red Velvet Sheet Cake

Red Velvet cake just screams Valentine’s Day. It might have something to do with the color, wouldn’t you say?

This Red Velvet Cake roll is utterly divine, if you ask me, but if you want something a bit simpler to throw together for a stunning and delightful Valentine’s Day treat, this Red Velvet Cake made in a 9X13-inch pan and smothered in light, creamy frosting is the perfect answer.

A bit of a lightened up recipe, the cake is still deliciously moist with the characteristic tang and texture of classic Red Velvet. Combined with the perfect cream cheese frosting and this cake could and should be enjoyed year round, not just on a pink-and-red saturated holiday. Nevermind that when my 7-year old saw this cake sitting on the counter before dinner, he exclaimed, “Mom! Why did you make the cornbread red like that??” Oooh boy, we definitely need to get out more.

If you are looking for other fun Valentine fare, click HERE! We traditionally do a candle light dinner with our four boys, which they think is, like, SO cool. Gorgonzola Steak Pasta is on the menu this year with a few fun side dishes and this delectable fruit pizza for dessert (or these heart-shaped cream puffs, I haven’t decided yet!). What are your Valentine’s Day plans?

Red Velvet Sheet Cake

One Year Ago: Caprese Skewers
Two Years Ago: Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Bars
Three Years Ago: Loaded Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cookies

Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: Serves 12

Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 (1-oz.) bottle red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup lowfat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Frosting:
  • 4 ounces lowfat (neufchatel) cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup lowfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9X13-inch pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. In a liquid measure or other bowl, whisk the buttermilk, red coloring and vanilla together.
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat sour cream, oil, butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl. Add half of flour mixture and mix. Add the buttermilk/food coloring mixture and mix again, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the remaining flour until just combined. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda until mixture fizzes then quickly fold into batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and tap on the countertop to burst any air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Don't overbake or the cake will be dry. Set on a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. For the frosting, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat together cream cheese, yogurt, butter and vanilla until well combined and smooth. Slowly mix in powdered sugar. When the cake is completely cooled, spread the frosting over the cake, cut into pieces and serve. If not serving right away, store the cake in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Alternately, you can spread the frosting on each individual piece instead of the entire cake.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from AllYou Mag, January 2010

68 Responses to Red Velvet Sheet Cake

  1. Loretta says:

    Baked this in my bundt pan (350 degrees for 40 minutes) to up the Wow! factor and it turned out fabulous. Delicious, moist and pretty, especially with the cream cheese frosting on top. Thanks, Mel, for another wonderful recipe!

  2. Kim says:

    Hi! Greek yogurt is not available where I live. What would be a good substitute?

  3. Regina Duer says:

    Hi Mel! My mom and I are big fans of your recipes! We were just wondering if this recipe might work for cupcakes? If so, how long should we leave them in the oven?
    Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t tried making these as cupcakes but I think others have in the comment thread if you read through. Good luck if you try it!

  4. Keri says:

    Could this recipe work well for cupcakes? I’ve never made red velvet cupcakes before and I am weird and have to use recipes from trusted recipe places such as yours! I have never had anything bad from your recipes! They’ve all been great and have turned into family favorites! Thanks for all your hard work!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Keri – thanks for your sweet comment. I’ve never made this recipe as cupcakes but I think a few others in the comment thread have done so. Sorry I don’t have much advice for this particular cake!

  5. Kristen says:

    Hey! I was just wondering if this recipe would work in two 8 inch round cake pans?

  6. Lori says:

    This is the absolute best red velvet recipe I’ve ever come across! It cooked perfectly and is so moist that I can see it staying fresh for many many days. Firm enough to layer and decorate, I made this recipe twice and made a double layer sheetcake and iced it for a birthday. So delicious that i wish I was the birthday girl so I could eat the leftovers!

  7. izumi says:

    Hi Mel, since very difficult to get sour cream in my country, can I substitute sour cream with buttermilk or yogurt? thanks in advance 🙂

  8. April says:

    Just wanted to report back to let you know that this cake worked perfectly as a layer cake! I baked them in round pans for 37 minutes, and it was perfect. I doubled the frosting but had a good bit left over, so it might not be necessary to double the amount. Thanks for another delicious recipe!

  9. April says:

    Hi Mel! Do you think this cake would be sturdy enough to bake in round pans and stack as a layer cake? If so, I’m thinking I might have to double the frosting amount, but what do you think? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi April, I haven’t tried it but I think the cake should be sturdy enough to make as a layer cake. Good luck! (And yes, I’d double the frosting…)

  10. AJ says:

    Hey Mel. I am hoping to make this for my daughter’s birthday, but I wanted to try it in a bundt pan. Do you think that would work with this particular recipe?

    • Mel says:

      Hi AJ – I don’t know if this would work in a bundt pan. My gut feeling is there isn’t enough batter to make that work. You might try googling “red velvet bundt cake” to get a better recipe. Good luck!

  11. Meka says:

    By far the best red velvet recipe I’ve tried!!!

  12. joy says:

    How firm is this frosting? Could I use it to pipe on top of cupcakes?

    • Mel says:

      Joy – it’s been a while since I made this so I don’t remember exactly. I think it’s on the softer side since it is cream cheese frosting.

  13. Suzanne says:

    Just made this and discovered that red velvet cake is pretty neato. Also discovered that klutzy people should not attempt to make red velvet cake. I now have a pink counter. It’s okay though — goes with my Valentine’s Day decor scheme! 🙂

  14. […] Recipe Source: Very slightly adapted from or click here. […]

  15. Mel says:

    Erin – it is supposed to be plain yogurt but vanilla should sub just fine.

  16. Erin says:

    Hi Mel, I’m making this cake for my husbands birthday tonight and I was wondering if the yogurt was plain or vanilla? I have both, just not sure which one to go with! Thanks!!!

  17. Kim says:

    I made this cake yesterday and it is fabulous, Mel! Very moist and delicious! I cannot comment on your frosting though as I used the cream cheese frosting recipe that I use on my carrot cake instead and it was a heavenly combination. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. It’s a keeper!

  18. Mel says:

    Amy – I’d probably bake, let it cool, frost and then store covered in the refrigerator for a day. It will stay more moist if it is frosted rather than leaving it unfrosted for a day. Hope that helps!

  19. Amy says:

    Mel, how do you store your red velvet cake if not serving until 24 hours later (for a party)? Does the refrigerator dry it out? I was thinking of baking it, and then frosting it 4 hours before serving.

  20. Dena says:

    I couldn’t help myself, I made it again! I was craving some cake, so thankfully I had all the ingredients – except red food coloring! So I used GREEN! Yummo!

  21. Jess says:

    This is the perfect cake. So easy! Moist and delicious, it’s my go-to cake today for my son’s 8th b-day. Only I think it will end up being BLUE velvet (out of my red!)

  22. Melody says:


    I also made the cake last night and I agree with Dena! I took it to work today and got rave reviews along with the strawberry lemonade you posted awhile back.

  23. Dena says:

    Mel, I’m almost speechless as to how wonderful this cake was. I had never made a cake from scratch that did not come from a box, so needless to say I was nervous. But, it was easy to make! And the frosting…. oh my word… the frosting. I’d never even tried Greek yogurt on its own. I didn’t want to have to halve my block of cream cheese, so I just doubled the ingredients for the frosting. Hands down the best frosting I’ve ever tasted, much less made from scratch! Well, so much for being speechless, eh? LOL Thank you so much for such a delicious recipe!

  24. Betsy says:

    Just made this tonight and it was excellent: moist, flavorful. Don’t change a thing!

  25. Leslie says:

    Thank you so much for posting the pasta recipe!! I just now noticed that. I’m giving it a try. Thanks for always responding to comments!!!

  26. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for the quick reply Mel. You’re probably right since it is for 2 people.

  27. Mel says:

    Jennifer – you know…I’m not sure since that’s how it was in the recipe and I only noticed it because of your comment. Because it is just a meal for two people, I think it is probably 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes but you could certainly add as many as you like!

  28. Jennifer says:

    Mel- Thanks for sharing the recipe. Is that 1/2 pound cherry tomatoes?

  29. Megan says:

    Hey Mel! We made this in both the sheet cake and then we tried it as cupcakes. We LOVED them both!!! My kids now ask to make it everyday.
    Thanks for adding this.


  30. Mel says:

    Hi Ashley – I use a Nikon D90 and use almost exclusively my 50mm/1.8 lens. Hope that helps!

  31. Ashley K. says:

    Hi Mel,
    I was wondering what type of camera you use to capture all of your mouth-watering food photos?
    Ashley Krieger

  32. Julie white says:

    We always do a fondue night. My five range 9yrs to 18 months. They absolutely love it! We try to recreate a Melting Pot kind of experience. They’re already putting their orders in for the things they want to dip!

  33. grace says:

    a sheet cake is just what i need to feed my army of admirers… 🙂

  34. Stacie Aho says:

    I made this today for our super bowl party. I’ve never been a huge red velvet fan, meaning I don’t usually pick it over chocolate or vanilla, but I couldn’t pass up this recipe. It was delicious!! It was extremely moist, perfectly sweet and the frosting and cake worked so well together. Yum! (PS- I’m not a big cream cheese frosting lover, but this wasn’t over bearing. I loved the addition of greek yogurt, such a great balance).

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe, yet again!

  35. Tiffany says:

    Mel, I have been following you for several years. My friend and neighbor in AZ told me about you and well, I was hooked. I was thinking of what to make for Valentines and looked over what you have and found this on Pinterest. What a fun thing to do with the kids!!!! I know my little girl would love to help/eat and my boys would love to just eat it, lol! I thought you and yours might like it too. Anyhow, now too many choices on dessert. Maybe it should be a meal of desserts 🙂 Happy early Valentines Day!!!

  36. Lauren at Keep It Sweet says:

    The color of your red velvet cake is so perfect! I love that this is a lighter version and I definitely want to try it.

  37. Deborah says:

    Love this! I’ve been all about the red velvet this week, but now I want some more!! 🙂

  38. Dana B says:

    Looks wonderful 🙂 I’ve never made a red velvet cake; maybe it’s time I did 🙂

  39. Paula B. says:

    Ditto all of the above comments, enjoy how you celebrate Valentine’s, my mom always made it special also. Loving the red velvet recipe, I have only made it once but it is always a fave dining out choice for dessert. Like the frosting ingredients, maybe I’ll be making this tomorrow, thanks.

  40. robin wieder says:

    simply devine…love red velvet..and this recipe sounds like a somewhat lighter cake…love the greek yogurt in the icing…yup-I am gonna try it…thanks Mel…
    have a great weekend..this cake will be a hit!! a home run…….

  41. modernworkinggirl says:

    Greek yogurt in frosting? great idea…

  42. Jessica says:

    I wish I could marry red velvet cake but, I’m 100% against putting cream cheese frosting on it! I say you have to go with the full fattening flour, milk, BUTTER stuff. It’s life changing! As in, you’ll love it and you’ll gain 4 lbs in a snap! LOL!

  43. Mel says:

    Leslie and Jennifer – here is the recipe for the pasta I am trying. Keep in mind I haven’t made it yet so I can’t give my rave reviews but Michelle, a reader, sent it to me saying it was one of her favorite meals and I think it looks delicious:

    Steak and Gorgonzola Pasta (with Michelle’s notes)

    2 of your favorite steaks (bone free makes the recipe easier…I use filet minon)
    Salt and pepper
    Canola oil
    1 lb box dry pasta (my favorite is Barilla’s Mostaccioli)
    1 small package (approx 4 oz) baby button mushrooms (or baby bella), sliced
    1 Tbsp butter (if using lean steak)
    2 ¼ cups half and half
    1 cup (approx. 4 oz) Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
    2 Tbsp + ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese (divided)
    ½ (or so) chopped cherry tomatoes

    Bring a pot of salted water to boil. While waiting, heat a small amount of oil (1-2 Tbsp) in a skillet overmedium heat until oil ripples (need pan very hot). Season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper. Sear each side of the steaks for a couple minutes, until evenly browned. Turn heat to medium low andcontinue cooking until done. If using a thick cut steak (especially filets), I recommend searing on the stove top and then finishing cooking in the oven at 375 degrees until steak reaches the desired internal
    temperature [132 degrees for medium rare, 145 degrees for medium, and 155 degrees for medium well]. You may cover the meat loosely with foil if it begins to darken too quickly. You want the drippings from the steak to cook the mushrooms and the deliciousness that searing provides the meat so don’t cook them from start to finish in the oven! Add butter (if needed) to the pan you cooked the steaks in. After melted, add mushrooms and cook on medium high heat until brown, adding a couple
    dashes of salt and pepper before finishing. Adding salt too soon to mushrooms while they are cooking pulls out their water and makes them rubbery.

    When water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to the package directions (I like mine a little more tender than al dente so it soaks up the sauce nicely).

    Remove steaks from oven, tent with foil, and allow 5-10 minutes for meat to rest for juices to redistribute.

    In a separate sauce pan, combine half and half and Gorgonzola until heated through. Add 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese and cook until melted and well blended. Remove from heat. Stir mushrooms into the sauce to combine.

    When steak has rested, cut into thin slices.

    To serve: Place a serving portion of pasta on the plate. Top with steak slices. Drizzle a generous portion of Gorgonzola cream sauce over the steak. Top with additional Parmesan cheese and tomatoes! Enjoy!

  44. Jennifer says:

    This sounds delicious and I can’t wait to try it! Will you share the recipe for the steak and pasta?

  45. amy @ uTryIt says:

    Love that vibrant color of red velvet cake! SO perfect for Valentine’s Day. 🙂 Have a great weekend.

  46. Jen says:

    Lookin’ good!!! Unfortunately, sigh, I won’t get to make this for Valentine’s Day, booo hooo, cuz we’re going on a cruise. I know, right? Feel bad for me. LOL. (Hey now, it was a sacrifice we had to make— it was either super cheap caribbean cruise for V-Day or crazy expensive Alaskan cruise for our 5 year anniversary in May. Being that babies are on the horizon, we went for the cheap one. LOL)

    But I bookmarked that Red Velvet roll b/c it looks SO AWESOME.

  47. Kat says:

    I am so excited for Valentine’s Day! I’m making Chicken Kiev for dinner (new recipe, we’ll see). My husband’s favorite treat is doughnuts, so for dessert, I am making your baked doughnuts with a raspberry cream cheese glaze I stumbled across. Yum! But that fruit pizza looks to die for, and I could eat a bowl of the frosting on that cake! We need two Valentine’s Days a year 🙂

  48. Mel, you make a good point. Once a year will likely not do us any harm. I did look around online and also found this recipe, using beets:

    I haven’t decided yet which one to try. I DO love your tradition of celebrating with a special candlelight dinner with the whole family.

  49. Kim in MD says:

    Mel- like you I try very hard to avoid processed, artificial foods, but sometimes you just have to make an exception, which I would TOTALLY do for this recipe! I have never made red velvet cake, but I am anxious to try this recipe. I love that you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a candlelight dinner for the men (big and little) in your life…that is so sweet! We avoid restaurants on Valentine’s Day, so I make a nice dinner for my family and pull out the red placemats and napkins and lots of candles, too! 🙂

  50. Sherri says:

    I just found your awesome blog….I AM A BIG FAN!

  51. Leslie says:

    Totally going to copy your idea and do a candlelit dinner with our 3 boys. So cute. And do you have the steak/pasta recipe. That sounds perfect with your fruit pizza!! Just printed it out.

  52. Mel says:

    Erin – I hear you on that. It took me a while to get over my phobia of A LOT of red food coloring. Last year was the first time I ever made red velvet cake because of it. You are probably like us – we don’t eat a lot of processed, artificial things (large quantities of food coloring among them) but I also like to run the balance of moderation and since I make red velvet something-or-other about once a year, I figure the coloring won’t hurt us since we aren’t consuming it daily or weekly or even monthly. You might try googling other options, I think I heard once that old-school, authentic red velvet is made with beets to color the cake!

    • Angela says:

      You should consider trying Wilton’s Icing color. A one ouncejar is about $1.75 and will make at least two complete cakes. You only need two tablespoons. Just mix with a little water the color is very concentrated.

      • Mel's Kitchen Cafe Admin says:

        Hello Angela – Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. Thank you for the feedback! That sounds like a great idea.

  53. Ok, I might be paranoid, but the idea of using an entire bottle of red food coloring makes me nervous. Am I all alone in this freakish misery? This is the sole reason I’ve never tried making red velvet cake.

  54. I love red velvet cake!! I made it for the first time for my birthday last year and have sort of been obsessed since 😀

  55. Lorrie says:

    This looks great! Our plans are to hopefully have the Baldry kiddos so mom and dad can have a quiet dinner. Maybe a candlelit dinner with the 5 kids would be fun.

  56. Jin says:

    I love red velvet but I’ve never tried to make it before…yummy!

  57. I love red velvet and yes, it is perfect for Valentine’s Day! Like that this recipe is simpler and a bit lighter, too.

    • Rachel says:

      I am baking this cake as we speak, and it’s bubbling over into my newly cleaned oven! EEEK. Just slid a large cookie sheet on the lower shelf to catch the spillover. I am using a 9×13 sheet pan, just as recommended. Not sure why so much batter overflow!

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