Lazy Red Velvet Cake

American Classics

Lost classic desserts from our wide and varied past.

Lazy Red Velvet Cake
  • Yield:Serves 12
  • Active time:30 minutes
  • Total time:1 hour
This recipe appears in:
American Classics: "Lazy" Red Velvet Cake

[Photograph: Alexandra Penfold]

This recipe is adapted from the Lazy Cake recipe that appeared on the always fantastic Baking Society blog. The original recipe is for a fudgy cake, but reading through the ingredients, it looked similar to Red Velvet recipes I've tried. Because it's baked and served in the same pan, this cake is ideal for bringing along to a picnic or bbq.

About the author: Alexandra Penfold is mild-mannered literary agent by day, food ninja by night. Never one to skip dessert she's the Brownie half of Blondie & Brownie, a Midtown Lunch contributor, and co-author of New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks. You can follow her on Twitter at @blondiebrownie.

Every recipe we publish is tested, tasted, and Serious Eats-approved by our staff. Never miss a recipe again by following @SeriousRecipes on Twitter!


  • For the Cake
  • 2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) instant flour
  • 2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 4 tablepoons unsweetened, dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring gel
  • For the Frosting:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, slightly softened
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. 1.

    Set rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-by-13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside.

  2. 2.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the instant flour and sugar until thoroughly combined. Pour the buttermilk into a glass measuring cup. Add the eggs and vanilla then whisk until thoroughly combined, set aside.

  3. 3.

    In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, bring the water, butter, oil and cocoa powder to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in flour mixture until blended. Then quickly whisk in egg mixture, baking soda and food coloring until just combined.

  4. 4.

    Pour the batter into the prepared pan then bake for 25 to 30 minutes or the top of the cake is springy and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool cake completely before frosting.

  5. 5.

    For the frosting: Combine cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat until thoroughly combined. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Spread over cake and serve. Store cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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