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.
If making Ermine Frosting, skip to the frosting and complete steps 1-3 so pudding can cool while you make your cake.
In a medium bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and beat until well-combined, about 2 minutes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Store cake covered in the refrigerator.
*Be careful checking this cake for doneness as you can cause the cake to sink if tested too early. If the center of the cake is still jiggling or does not look completely set, close the oven and let it cook for another couple minutes before checking it again.