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Red Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Frosting

Red Velvet Cake recipe from Sheet Pan Sweets by Molly Gilbert

A classic red velvet cake is soft and velvety in texture, faintly chocolaty in flavor, and typically paired with tangy cream cheese frosting. I like to make mine with a creamy white chocolate frosting, which is unexpectedly delicious and veers away from being cloyingly sweet with the addition of tangy sour cream. Using gel food coloring gives the strongest tint to the batter, but if all you have is liquid food coloring, that’ll work just fine.

Red Velvet Cake recipe from Sheet Pan Sweets by Molly Gilbert

Red Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Frosting

Molly Gilbert
Course Dessert


For the cake

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon red gel food coloring
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

For the frosting

  • 1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces white chocolate, melted
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • Kosher salt


Make the cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center position. Grease a sheet pan with nonstick spray, line it with parchment paper, and grease the parchment, too.
  • In a large bowl, vigorously whisk the eggs and granulated sugar until pale and frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Whisk in the food coloring until combined. Sift the cocoa powder into the bowl, then add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Fold with the whisk until the batter is smooth and streak-free.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly to the corners with a large offset spatula. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the cake is springy and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • While the cake bakes, line a work surface with a large sheet of parchment paper.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then run a paring knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Carefully invert it onto the parchment-lined surface, remove the parchment from the cake, and allow to cool completely,15 to 20 minutes.

Make the frosting

  • Meanwhile, make the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, then add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, melted white chocolate, sour cream, and a pinch of salt and beat on highspeed for 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth and fluffy.
  • To make a four-layer rectangular cake, use a sharp knife to cut the sheet cake in half lengthwise, then again crosswise. Place one rectangular cake layer on a serving platter and use an offset spatula to spread a thin layer of frosting over the top, all the way to the edges. Repeat with the remaining cake layers (if you prefer a three-layer cake, cut the fourth layer into cubes or break into crumbs to use for decorating). Use the offset spatula to spread a thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of the entire cake. Refrigerate the cake for about 10 minutes to firm up the crumb coat.
  • Spread the rest of the frosting in a thick layer over the top and sides of the cake. While the frosting is still sticky, arrange any reserved cake cubes or crumbs on top of the cake.
  • Slice and serve immediately. The cake will keep, loosely covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Sheet Pan Sweets: Simple, Streamlined Dessert Recipes by Molly GilbertRecipe reprinted with permission from Sheet Pan Sweets by Molly Gilbert (‎Union Square & Co., October 2022). Photography by Dana Gallagher.
Keyword Baking, Chocolate, Molly Gilbert, Red Velvet, Sheet Pan Sweets, Valentine's Day

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