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Blue Velvet Cake

Subtle chocolate flavor with a slight tang and a perfectly moist cake base come together with a stunning color in this Blue Velvet Cake! If you love traditional Red Velvet Cake but have an occasion that calls for a cake of a different color, then this show stopper is going to leave your guests asking one question: where do I find this recipe?!

A layer cake with cream cheese frosting and blue layers on a white and wood cake stand

Why is it called Velvet Cake?

Why is it called a velvet cake?

It’s all about the texture! Velvet cake has a very specific texture to it. The ingredients work together to break down the proteins in the flour used to create a “velvety” texture, different from that of traditional cake. Hence the term – velvet cake!

A slice of blue velvet cake on a white plate ready to serve

Why go blue?

Traditional red velvet is perfect for Christmas and Valentine’s Day. But come the heat of the summer and you’ll find holidays such as the 4th of July to be the perfect event to showcase that show-stopping blue! The blue layers, easily disguised by an outer layer of cream cheese frosting, make for the perfect baby shower or gender-reveal cake as well! Giving you the opportunity to be in on all the fun and excitement before everyone else is.

How To Make Blue Velvet Cake

Grease the cake pans and line with parchment paper while your oven preheats to 325F.

Dry ingredients including cocoa in a mixing bowl ready to enjoy

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the dry ingredients and whisk until combined.

Slowly add the oil and buttermilk.

A chocolate cake batter in a mixing bowl with additional ingredients in bowls before adding

Next add in the eggs one at a time, followed by the remaining wet ingredients including the food coloring. Mix until just combined so as not to overmix.

Pour the batter equally between the cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool for about 10 minutes before inverting on a wire rack to cool completely.
Always allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.

Tips

Blue Velvet Cake is rich in chocolate flavor thanks in part to the coffee pairing. Coffee and chocolate work together in the best of ways to enhance each other, much like how lemon enhances a strawberry flavor. Using cocoa powder in this cake recipe will ensure the blue coloring is able to shine! Using a cocoa powder such as Dutch cocoa, which is much darker, will result in a cake where the color is not as prominent.

In case you’re thinking this cake looks rich and dense, let me reassure you that the addition of the apple cider vinegar is going to be key to a perfectly fluffy cake. You’ll often see apple cider vinegar in baked goods paired with baking soda. The chemical reaction between the two gives the cake batter a lift that carries through when baked.

Three pans of blue cake batter before baking

How to Get the Royal Blue Color

Unlike red velvet, you cannot just go to the store and purchase a bottle of blue velvet food coloring and flavoring. You also will not be able to get the same saturation and vibrancy from a standard blue food coloring.

To get the perfect color, you’ll want to get cake food coloring and do a combination of primarily blue with a couple drops of black and red. (If you have a specific amount of each I recommend adding it here). Use a rubber spatula to continuously fold the cream cheese frosting on itself until the frosting color is consistent.

Here we actually used a mix of 2 tsp Sky blue and 1/8th tsp violet gel food coloring to get this coloring. Feel free to play around and figure out what will best work for the color you want. The brown from the cocoa makes it much harder to achieve this.

How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting

The frosting is equally important as the cake and needs to be done right. In my opinion, if it doesn’t have cream cheese frosting, it’s not a true velvet cake! You need that creamy, yet slightly tangy frosting to help cut through the dense, sweet cake.

Use a handheld mixer or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment to beat the cream cheese until it’s light and fluffy. Then add in the powdered sugar on low speed until fully incorporated, followed by the remaining ingredients. Whip until smooth, light and fluffy. Frosting should be stored in an airtight container within the refrigerator until ready to use.

Storing Leftover Blue Velvet Cake

Leftover cake should be stored in an airtight container within the refrigerator due to the cream cheese frosting.

Cake can also be frozen for up to 3 months! Thaw overnight in the refrigerator the day before you plan to enjoy.

A slice of blue velvet cake on a white plate ready to serve
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Blue Velvet Cake

Subtle chocolate flavor with a slight tang and a perfectly moist cake base come together with a stunning color in this Blue Velvet Cake!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 22 servings
Author Jocelyn Delk Adams

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1/4 cup strong coffee hot
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • blue food coloring see notes below

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 32 oz cream cheese softened but still a tiny stiff
  • 7 cups confectioner's sugar to stiffen more, go up to 8 cups
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

For the Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. Liberally prepare 3 9-inch round cake pans with the nonstick method of your choice.
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and mix on low speed. Slowly add the oil and buttermilk.
  • Increase the speed to medium-low and add the eggs 1 at a time, combining well after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Slowly add the coffee, vanilla extract, vinegar, and food coloring. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix the batter until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.
  • Evenly pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 20 to 27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a layer comes out clean. Do not overbake.
  • Let the layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert onto wire racks. Let cool to room temperature. Lightly cover the cakes with foil or plastic wrap so they do not dry out.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Add butter and cream cheese to the bowl of your mixer and beat on high speed until it begins to thicken and fluff.
  • Next slow down mixer and carefully add in confectioner’s sugar. Once all sugar has incorporated, turn mixer back to high to continue whipping.
  • Add salt and vanilla extract and continue whipping until it is smooth.

Notes

How to Get the Royal Blue Color

Unlike red velvet, you cannot just go to the store and purchase a bottle of blue velvet food coloring and flavoring. You also will not be able to get the same saturation and vibrancy from a standard blue food coloring.
To get the perfect color, you’ll want to get cake food coloring and do a combination of primarily blue with a couple drops of black and red. (If you have a specific amount of each I recommend adding it here). Use a rubber spatula to continuously fold the cream cheese frosting on itself until the frosting color is consistent.
Here we actually used a mix of 2 tsp Sky blue and 1/8th tsp violet gel food coloring to get this coloring. Feel free to play around and figure out what will best work for the color you want. The brown from the cocoa makes it much harder to achieve this.

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