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Pink Velvet Cake

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This yummy pink velvet cake recipe is the vanilla cousin of the famous red velvet cake. It has that same velvety crumb, a sweet pink color and a lovely vanilla flavor.

Big slice of pink velvet cake on plate with a bite taken out of the end and a blow out candle on top.

Pink velvet cake has a delicate crumb and mild flavor of vanilla with just a hint of lemon. It is so easy to whip up the batter, you are going to fall in love with these simple method of making from scratch cakes.

Maybe so much so that you will never buy a cake mix again. This recipe is such an easy way to make a homemade cake and can be easily adapted to the occasion.

But for now lets focus on this particular version. The pretty in pink cake with a smooth velvety texture.

Whip up your own homemade pink velvet cake to celebrate Valentine’s Day, or a birthday. It would also be a great option for a gender reveal cake.

Ingredients ready to be made into a pink velvet cake.

The batter is so easy to put together, you are going to love it. Then it bakes up fluffy and smooth.

The neutral flavor allows it to be a beautiful canvas for almost any frosting. If you want to go a traditional velvet cake route, you could use decorator’s cream cheese frosting or an boiled milk frosting.

But we chose to stick with the pink theme and add a bit of lemony flavor to the mix with pink lemonade buttercream. The grenadine and lemon flavors aren’t overpowering, so it just added a nice little something extra to the cake experience.

Glass mixing bowl filled with pink velvet cake batter and spatula.

It would be great with a little bit of raspberry jam or something as a cake filling, but it is also really tasty as is. Though Little Dude did think it was strange eating a pink cake that didn’t taste like strawberries or soemthing!

You could of course remedy that by using a little bit of strawberry flavoring or go with strawberry preserves as a filling. Otherwise just know that pink cakes don’t all taste like berries!

What Makes it a Velvet Cake?

Velvet cakes are typically very soft and delicious with an airy texture. The most popular, and likely original, version is the red velvet cake.

The vinegar and buttermilk in the batter help give the cocoa powder a reddish tint.  Of course a ton of red food coloring helps to enhance it!

Two round pink velvet cakes cooling on wire racks.

In this pink version, of course we didn’t add any cocoa powder.  Also lemon juice replaces the vinegar.

You still get the benefits of the acid, but with a bit of that lemon brightness!  Another thing that makes velvet cakes stand out from others is most of them use oil instead of creamed butter as the base.

This makes them even more affordable and quick and easy to make.  You don’t have to wait for the butter to soften, just grab the oil and go!

While you would traditionally use buttermilk in a velvet cake, buttermilk is not something most people tend to have on hand.  Instead, you can put a teaspoon of lemon juice into a cup of milk before you gather the rest of the ingredients.

Pulling first slice of pink velvet cake out of the whole cake showing two pink layers of cake and lots of pink buttercream frosting.

By the time you are ready to use it, the acid has had a chance to work its magic on the milk.  It does the job quite nicely without having to use any special ingredients.

Though there is such a thing as powdered buttermilk you can keep on hand on hand for things like this and pancakes.  Feel free to pick some up and try that instead.

Handy Items to Have on Hand for Baking Homemade Cakes:

  • You can definitely use a stand mixer for whipping up the batter, but I tend to use a hand mixer for this batter.  It easily whips up the oil and everything goes right in the dishwasher! 
  • Two 9″ cake pans are perfect for this recipe.  I am sure you can bake it in a 9×13″ pan.  I would start checking on it at about 35-40 minutes.  It is done when the center springs back after you touch it lightly with your finger. 
  • For a cake with a flat top, you can try using moistened cake strips when you bake the cakes.  Otherwise the outside of the cake bakes quicker than the middle and you are more likely to have a hump.  The moist strips help the cakes to bake flatter.
Slice of layered pink velvet cake on plate with lit birthday candle in it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bake this in a 9×13 pan?

Yes! Just add a few minutes to the bake time and go for it!

How do I keep the cake tender?

Don’t overbake the cake. Velvet cakes have a tendency to dry out quickly if you bake them too long.

To get the most tender airy cake, take it out as soon as it bounces back when lightly touched with a finger.

If you prefer the toothpick test, go ahead and take it out when a crumb or two comes out on the toothpick. The cake will continue to cook a bit after you pull it from the oven.

Can I bake the cake ahead of time?

Yes, cakes freeze well. Allow it to cool slightly on a wire rack.

When the cakes are cool enough to handle, wrap them in plastic wrap. (Be careful, the cakes are fragile when warm.)

Once they are really wrapped well, put them in the freezer until you are ready to use them.

You can frost them frozen or defrost them before putting on the buttercream. Either way works, it is a matter of preference.

More Great Velvet Inspired Recipes

For another fabulously velvety cake, try making lemon velvet cake. It has a fresh hit of lemon flavor and is great with lemon condensed milk frosting.

Pink velvet ice cream is another great option. It has all of these flavors with a cream cheese icing swirl that makes it extra magical.

Or try making a red velvet cheese ball. It is a perfect spread for graham crackers, apple slices, pretzels and more.

Did you make this great recipe? Please leave a review in the recipe card below!

Big slice of pink velvet cake on plate with a bite taken out of the end and a blow out candle on top.

Pink Velvet Cake

Servings: 16 Servings
Author: Carlee
This soft pink velvet cake is so easy to whip up, you are going to start looking for excuses to make one. It uses simple ingredients and no special tools. Plus the cake is tender and delicious. Make one to see for yourself.
4.85 from 13 ratings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • cups granulated sugar
  • cups vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk or 1 cup milk soured with 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 drops of pink or red food coloring
Makes: 9inch round


  • Preheat oven to 350° F and grease two 9 inch cake pans
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder until completely combined and free of clumps.
    2½ cups all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • In a large bowl, beat together oil, eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
    1½ cups granulated sugar, 1½ cups vegetable oil, 3 large eggs
  • Add buttermilk, and vanilla, whipping until combined. Stir in a couple of drops of pink or red food coloring.
    1 cup buttermilk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 3 to 4 drops of pink or red food coloring
  • Stir in dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just mixed and then spoon cake into prepared pans.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the center springs back when lightly touched with a finger. If using the toothpick test, pull the cake when there are just a couple of moist crumbs on the toothpick.
  • Cool in pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Once cooled, frost as desired and enjoy!


You can use canola oil, avocado oil or another neutral flavored oil in place of the vegetable oil.


Serving: 1sliceCalories: 345kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 4gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 206mgFiber: 1gSugar: 20g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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