This soft and incredibly moist Small Red Velvet cake is a little chocolatey, buttery, and beautifully, boldly red. The recipe includes instructions for traditional Ermine Frosting and Cream Cheese Frosting.
Hey, friends, I have something a little different for you today, a reader-submitted recipe.
This recipe for a Small Red Velvet Cake was ever-so-kindly sent to me by ‘Becca Ashley, and I’m so excited for you guys to try it because this is a superb little cake.
A Six-inch Red Velvet Cake
This recipe makes a six-inch, two-layer red velvet cake, which can be cut into four to six cute little slices. It’s a good size for a couple to polish off over a weekend or if you’re having a friend or two over for dinner.
The cake is soft, incredibly moist, and totally adorable. Like any good red velvet cake, this one’s a little chocolatey, buttery, with a slight buttermilk tang, and beautifully, boldly red.
The cake itself is so good you could happily eat it on its own (I may have done that the first time I made this…), but it’s even better with frosting. And for the frosting, I’m giving you two options.
Classic red velvet cake is made with ermine frosting, AKA boiled milk frosting, AKA flour buttercream. It’s a buttercream variation that is made with a milk, sugar, and flour pudding which gets cooled and beaten into room-temperature butter.
The result is a frosting that is much less sweet than American buttercreams (frosting made with butter, powdered sugar, and a little milk), with a texture that is similar to but heavier than whipped cream.
If you’ve ever complained about frosting being too sweet, this is the recipe for you. It’s amazing over red velvet cake and is what I used on the cake in the photos.
My taste-testers absolutely loved it, and all of them told me that they loved it because it was exactly the perfect level of sweet.
Cream Cheese Frosting
And don’t worry, cream cheese lovers, if for you, red velvet cake isn’t red velvet cake without cream cheese frosting, I’ve got you covered. I’ve included the recipe for my favorite Cream Cheese Frosting along with the ermine frosting, so you can make the red velvet cake that’s in your heart.
Small Red Velvet Cake Recipe Notes
- Ermine frosting has a slightly different texture than other buttercreams. It’s very smooth and creamy on the tongue but has a bit more texture when you spread it. If you’ve never made ermine frosting before, don’t be alarmed if your frosting looks a little different than American buttercreams.
- This recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of red food coloring, which is about half of a 1-ounce bottle (more than you’d think). Double check your red food coloring stock before you get started.
- For more small-batch desserts, try this Small Chocolate Cake, Small Banana Cake, Mini Chocolate Sheet Cake and Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie for Two.
Small Red Velvet Cake
- 2 6-inch cake pans
- Parchment paper for cake pans
- Fine-mesh strainer for sifting dry ingredients and straining
- Handheld electric mixer
- Plastic wrap for Ermine Frosting
6-inch Red Velvet Cake
- 1/4 cup (2oz) butter softened
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon red food coloring
- 1 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar or apple cider
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup and 3 tablespoons (142g) cake flour sifted
- 1 tablespoon (5g) cocoa powder sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup milk preferably whole
- 3 tablespoons (23g) flour all-purpose or cake flour is fine
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup (6oz) butter softened
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1/2 cup (4oz) butter softened
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup (180g) powdered sugar sifted, plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon milk as needed
- Sprinkles optional
- If making Ermine Frosting, skip to the frosting and complete steps 1-3 so pudding can cool while you make your cake.
Red Velvet Cake
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two six-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and beat until well-combined, about 2 minutes.
- Add egg, oil, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla, and beat until well-combined.
- In a small bowl, whisk together sifted flour, cocoa podwer, baking soda, and salt.
- Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat until just-combined. Add all of the buttermilk, mixing until just-combined, repeating with the rest of the flour mixture. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the edges and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is mixed.
- Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans.
- Bake for 21 to 26 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centers of the cakes comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.*
- Cool cakes in their pans for 10 to 15 minutes before running a plastic knife or spatula around the edges of the cakes to make sure they're not stuck to the pan. Remove cakes from pans and transfer them to a cooling rack (discard parchment paper). Cool completely before frosting.
- In a small saucepan, combine sugar, milk, and flour. Heat over medium heat, whisking frequently, until thick and bubbly, about the consistency of thin pudding. This should take 5 to 10 minutes.
- Set a fine-mesh strainer over a heat-proof bowl and pour milk mixture through the strainer to remove any lumps. Use a rubber spatula to make sure all of the mixture gets pushed through.
- Whisk in vanilla and salt. Cool on the counter for 10 minutes before covering with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Cool to room temperature while you bake and cool your cake.
- Once milk mixture is completely cooled (if it's warm, it will melt your butter), in a medium bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Add milk mixture, 1 heaping tablespoon at a time, and beat well after each addition. Once all of the milk mixture has been added, beat frosting until it reaches your desired consistency.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
- Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. If frosting is too thick for your taste, add milk by the teaspoon until it reaches your desired consistency. For stiffer frosting, beat in sifted powdered sugar by the heaping tablespoon until it thickens.
To Frost the Cake
- If necessary, use a serrated knife to cut the dome off the bottom cake layer and level it. Place bottom layer on cake stand or plate, using a small dollop of frosting to anchor it.
- Spread 1/3 of the frosting over the bottom layer. Place second layer over the frosting and use the rest of the frosting over the body of the cake, starting at the top and spreading the frosting down the sides.
- Add sprinkles if desired. Serve and enjoy.
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Is there another size pan I could use. I only have one 6” pan
Hi, Laurel, a single 8 or 9-inch round cake pan should work. Just extend the baking time by a little bit.
Wow! This cake is amazing! Made it for my 17-year-old son’s birthday. Much better than recipes I have used previously. The cake was moist and so flavorful. I made the cream cheese icing. It was delicious. Love the buttery flavor you get from using equal parts cream cheese and butter. I will use this icing recipe the next time I make my Italian Cream Cake with coconut.
Thanks, Lori! So happy you enjoyed the cake, and happy birthday to your son!!
Made this today for my son’s birthday as well. Probably one of the best cakes I’ve ever had. Everyone loved it! There’s just 3 of us here so this is the perfect amount of dessert for us. Thank you for sharing the recipe.
Thank you, Deb! I’m so happy you all enjoyed it. And happy birthday to your kiddo!
Thanks so much for the “small” Carrot and Red Velvet recipes. Two great cakes the two of us can enjoy
I’m so glad you’re finding the smaller recipes useful!!
I want a 6″ cake but only have 1 pan. Can I bake it all at once or will it be raw? What about baking in two batches? Thanks!
Definitely don’t bake it all at once because it will over flow the pan. For best results, I’d bake it in a single 8 or 9-inch cake pan and extend the baking time. If you want to use the same six-inch pan and bake the layers separately, you can definitely try. The second layer might not bake up as nicely, but it should probably be serviceable. Let me know how things go!
How would unfrosted layers freeze?
They should freeze well. I’d double wrap them, first in cling wrap then in foil and store them in an airtight freezer bag for best results.
Anh Huynh says
Hello! I love this recipe, and I looked all over the internet to find a recipe just for two 6 inch pans! Everyone else seemed to have 3 layered ones, or even just one. Thank you! I have a question though, I don’t have buttermilk. What should I use as a substitute? Can I just use regular milk?
You can substitute for buttermilk by adding 1 1/2 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice to a 1/2 cup measuring cup and filling it the rest of the way with regular milk. You need the acidic ingredient in there to help activate the baking soda. Hope you enjoy the cake!!
Spurthi Prabhakar says
I just baked this cake today! I am so happy with the result. It was perfect
Thanks a lot for the recipe.
I am needing to bring a dessert for a family party and thought this looked delicious! Can the recipe be doubled and bigger pans used to make the cake bigger?
I haven’t tried it, but it should double okay. If you double the recipe, you can use two 9-inch round cake pans. Just extend the baking time as needed since larger cakes will take longer to cook through.
This cake was great I made a one layer cake used an 8 in round cake pan I wish you would make a lot more variety small batch cakes thanks for this recipe
Gareth Pengelly says
I want to make this cake but your measurements are confusing….the cake mentions 3 tablespoons of flour in the ermine frosting part and says (23g) in brackets. Which measurement should I use as they are not the same amount? There are also differences in the cup/gram measurements in the cake recipes! 1 cup + 3 tbsp of flour is mentioned as less grams than ¾ cup of sugar. I don’t want to mess it up. Any advice appreciated
Hi Gareth, different ingredients have different weights. A cup of sugar weighs 200 grams where a cup of cake flour weighs 120 grams. The weights do correspond with the volume measurements, so you can use either, but if you have the choice always go with the weight measurements. You’ll get the most accurate results.
Could this recipe be made as cupcakes? Same with the ermine frosting. Thank you!
Should work just fine. I haven’t made these into cupcakes before, so I can’t tell you how long they’ll take. I’d bake them at the same temp and start peeking at them at around 17 minutes, though they’ll probably take longer. Hope you enjoy them!
Can I bake these in mini bundt cake pans? Thank you!
It should work okay, but this cake is pretty soft and delicate, so make sure to grease the pans really well and be gentle when removing them. Hope you enjoy them!!
sharon lee says
Hmm. I have never heard of Ermine frosting but have been making it forever. My 92 y.o mother has a recipe for homemade devil dog (whoopie pie) cookies that have a similar filling. It’s made with both shortening and butter though. They are delicious and not too sweet.
Interesting! It’s so funny to me how all these old-fashioned frostings have so many names, especially depending on where you live. It makes things so confusing to talk about sometimes!!
I don’t have red food coloring Can it be eliminated?
The cake should bake up okay without the food coloring, but it’s not going to be very pretty. Personally I’d wait till I could get my hands on some food coloring.
This recipe looks great! I look forward to trying it. The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of red food coloring. I assume that’s liquid food coloring? I have red gel food coloring and I’m wondering if I can use it. If so, how much do I use and does that change the liquid ratio at all?
I haven’t used gel food coloring for red velvet before, but I would start with 1 teaspoon and add more if you’re not getting the vibrant red you want. You should not need to add extra liquid to compensate.
Hi is there any substitute to the egg.