This Single Layer Red Velvet Cake is the perfect size treat to enjoy on your own, with a loved one, or make it for someone special as a surprise! It's incredibly moist, rich, and flavorful, and when paired with this simple cream cheese frosting—absolutely delicious! For a fun and simple alternative to the cream cheese frosting, sprinkle on a dusting of powdered sugar!
Table of Contents
Meet the Perfect 6 inch Single Layer Cake
The star ingredients in this cake recipe, which give it that super moist texture, are buttermilk and vegetable oil. And the light and tender texture comes from the cake flour and small amount of white vinegar. It also has a hint of chocolate with some food coloring mixed in to give it that classic red color.
It is so moist and rich and perfect for the holidays, Valentine's Day, or whenever the mood strikes!
If you love this newest small batch recipe and would like to see more, please DM me over on social media or email me!
Homemade Cake Flour Substitute
If you don't keep cake flour on hand, fear not—you can make it at home! You only need all-purpose flour, cornstarch, and a sifter!
To make your homemade cake flour:
- Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to a 1/2 cup measuring cup.
- Fill the remaining measuring cup with all-purpose flour.
- Run the mixture through a sifter. Once is good, but twice is better.
If you want to have a little more on hand, I recommend doubling the above recipe.
What Can I Use as a Buttermilk Substitute?
Another ingredient not everyone keeps on hand—buttermilk.
Because this small batch red velvet cake recipe only calls for 1/4 cup, you can use regular milk with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. The lemon juice can be from a lemon or a bottle. The milk can be any type—skim, fat free, through whole milk.
Add the lemon juice to a 1/4 measuring cup first, then add the milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes, give it a quick stir, then add it to the batter. This homemade buttermilk substitute is meant to be used immediately.
Another alternative—powdered buttermilk! You can find this in the baking aisle usually next to the powdered milk, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk. The homemade stuff usually is the easiest though!
Tips for Making The Best Red Velvet Cake
Prep your buttermilk. If you are making the buttermilk substitute I mention above, make sure to leave it sit for about 5 minutes before adding it to the recipe. Don't forget to give it a quick stir too.
Use a hand mixer or stand mixer. For both the red velvet cake and cream cheese frosting it's best to use either a hand mixer or a stand mixer.
Don't over mix the red velvet cake batter. Mix the ingredients until they're just combined—meaning until you can no longer see it. This really comes into play when you mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.
Don't go overboard with the food coloring. I used about 7-8 drops of the red McCormick's Nature's Inspirations Food Coloring. If you feel it needs more, add only a drop at a time until your perfect red color is achieved.
Cool the cake completely. Whether you are frosting your cake the same day or planning to store it in the refrigerator or freezer, you will want to let it cool completely.
First cool it in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then carefully invert it onto a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
How to Decorate Your Red Velvet Cake
To create the same snowflake design shown in my photos, you will need the following tools:
In addition to the snowflake design, you can choose to garnish the top with some white sparkling sugar. I reserved about 1/3 cup of the cream cheese frosting to pipe the design.
As an alternative to the small batch cream cheese frosting, you can sprinkle over the top some sifted powdered sugar.
Recipe FAQs and Troubleshooting
I only tested this recipe using unsweetened cocoa powder, so I cannot recommend using another type.
I only tested this recipe using the 1 egg, so I cannot recommend any egg substitutes.
This can happen due to a number of factors: your oven temperature is off, it wasn't baked long enough, too much baking soda was added by mistake.
This can happen when you over mix your cake batter. You always want to mix it until just combined. Meaning, just until the ingredients blend into one another.
While not required, it's always good to sift your powdered sugar to avoid any lumps in your frosting.
For this red velvet cake, I used McCormick's Nature's Inspiration Food Coloring. It doesn't contain any artificial dyes.
I only used the red food coloring noted above. I have read that substitutes like red beet powder or juice can be used, but I did not test this recipe with either.
White vinegar is used to help react with the unsweetened cocoa powder which helps to give the cake its red color. Of course, red food coloring is also added to bump up that color. White vinegar is also used to help lend a hand in giving the cake it's light and tender texture.
Because I only tested this using white vinegar I can only speak for those results. Omitting it may alter the texture. As a substitute you can use apple cider vinegar.
Recommended Baking Tools
Enjoy More Small Batch Recipes!
- Small Batch Gingerbread Cupcakes
- Single Layer Carrot Cake
- Small Batch Chocolate Cupcakes
- Single Layer Chocolate Cake
- Small Batch Vanilla Cupcakes
Single Layer Red Velvet CakeAuthor:
6 inch single layer red velvet cake
- 1/2 cup Cake Flour
- 1/8 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/8 tsp Salt
- 1/8 cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Large Egg, room temperature
- 1/8 cup Vegetable Oil
- 1/4 tsp White Vinegar
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- Red Food Coloring, approximately 7-8 drops (more can be used if preferred)
- 1/4 cup Buttermilk, or homemade buttermilk substitute
small batch cream cheese frosting
- 1/4 cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 4 oz Cream Cheese Frosting, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 3/4 cup Sifted Powdered Sugar
- 2 tbsp Sifted Powdered Sugar, optional topping in place of cream cheese frosting
- White Sparkling Sugar, optional garnish for cream cheese frosting (if piping snowflake design)
6 inch single layer chocolate cake
- Adjust your oven rack to the 2nd level position (just above center) and preheat your oven to 350ºF. Generously spray a 6 inch cake pan with a flour based baking spray or grease and flour. If you choose, you can also add a 6 inch parchment paper circle to the bottom of the pan and a cake strip as well. Set to the side.
- With a small mixing bowl and a whisk, blend together the cake flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set to the side.
- Using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the unsalted butter and granulated sugar. Add in the egg and mix until well blended.
- Add in the vegetable oil, white vinegar, vanilla extract, and red food coloring.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low, adding half of the whisked dry ingredients followed by the buttermilk, then the remaining dry ingredients. Mix together until just combined.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes at 350ºF or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool the cake in the cake pan for 10 minutes before inverting it onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- Once cooled, dust with powdered sugar or frost with this small batch cream cheese frosting.
small batch cream cheese frosting
- Using your hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix the unsalted butter and cream cheese until smooth and well blended. Add in the vanilla extract.
- Turn off the mixer, then add in the powdered sugar. Mix on low-medium speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix once more on medium-high speed for another minute. If you want a thicker cream cheese frosting, add 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar until your desired consistency is achieved.
- Frost your red velvet cake with an offset spatula once it's completely cooled.