Red Velvet & Cinnamon Layer Cake {and Red Velvet Link Love!}

Red Velvet & Cinnamon Layer Cake via Sweetapolita

It’s a Red Velvet Cake craze, my friends! I may be a little late to the Red Velvet party, but I’ve arrived, outfitted in a quintessential vintage red polka dot 50’s dress, of course, and with a cake in tow — a Red Velvet Layer Cake with Whipped Cinnamon filling and Rich & Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting, no less — just in time for Valentine’s Day. Are you gearing up for the big day? I certainly was, as I had so many fun Valentine’s ideas to share with you, and then, bam!, earlier this past week I became super ill and was out of commission. I didn’t even see it coming — it was kind of crazy. The good news is that I had just made and began to photograph this cake that day, so at least I can share my red velvet love with you now.

As you may likely know, Red Velvet Cake is an old-fashioned, chocolate buttermilk cake, of sorts, that is known for its deep red or red-brown colour, typically achieved by a generous dose of red food colouring, or in many cases, cooked beets, or both. Most traditional versions of this cake are paired with either white cooked flour frostings or classic cream cheese frosting, or slightly tweaked variations of them. I would almost say that this cake keeps us loving and respecting the past more than any other cake out there–it appears that most bakers keep tradition close inside their apron pockets when recreating this red gem (when making it in cake form, that is–there are all sorts of incredible & innovative red velvet desserts out there now!).

Red Velvet & Cinnamon Layer Cake via Sweetapolita

I haven’t made this ever-popular (again) cake in quite some time, and there’s a reason: I simply couldn’t find a recipe for the cake layers that I loved. To be totally honest, I made 3 different recipes, and it was hard choosing one that I even really liked. I love the idea of the cake, and I love the flavours it’s known for, but when I tried the most popular recipes floating around the web, they were all standard butter cakes that ended up on the dry side once ready to eat. Then I tried a few alternatives that opted for oil-based cakes, which, with chocolate cakes I usually love, but I just found the ones I tried were too oily for the limited amount of cocoa in the Red Velvet Cake. I finally decided that the best recipe out there is likely a butter cake version, so back on the search I went . . .

That’s when I tried this perfectly moist and classically made cake layer recipe from, and I loved it! Sarah worked hard to create a recipe that wasn’t dry at all, but rather really flavourful and moist, while staying really true to the traditional version.  I decided to switch it up just slightly, by filling the cake with a whipped cinnamon frosting and then frosting the outside with a fluffy cream cheese frosting — the yummiest.

Since any day is a great day to share pretty and love-y treats, I look forward to sharing my other posts with you next week (and stay tuned for a Love Day Roundup post!). In the meanwhile, let’s make one killer Red Velvet & Cinnamon Layer Cake! But first . . .

A few random-but-riveting Red Velvet Cake facts:

  • In Canada the cake was a well-known dessert in the restaurants and bakeries of the Eaton’s department store chain in the 1940s and 1950s. Promoted as an exclusive Eaton’s recipe, with employees who knew the recipe sworn to silence, many mistakenly believed the cake to be the invention of the department store matriarch, Lady Eaton (source). Incidentally, my mom worked at Eaton’s department store during my childhood; this fact is in no way related to Red Velvet Cake, just thought I’d share that exciting tidbit.
  • It is often said that Red Velvet Cake was first popularized at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York (where Grant and I spent our engagement weekend, but what? never had the cake!) during the 1920s, although, it seems that it had been popular for many years before then throughout the southern states. The famous Waldorf Red Velvet Cake recipe can be found, among other incredible recipes, in the fabulous The Waldorf-Astoria Cookbook.
  • Red Velvet Cake makes a special appearance (likely one of the reasons the cake regained popularity!) inside the perfectly unusual armadillo groom’s cake in the 1989 movie, Steel Magnolias.

Red Velvet & Cinnamon Layer Cake          {click to print}





Yield: One 4-layer (or two thicker layers), 9″ round cake. Serves 12-16

*August 2013 Update: Since I’ve written this post, is structured differently–you must be a member to view the recipes. If you aren’t a member, you can try my more recent Red Velvet Cake recipe here.

I paired the fabulously moist & yummy Red Velvet Cake layers from my friends over at with my own frosting and filling to create an old-fashioned favourite with a bit of a twist. My Whipped Cinnamon Filling/Frosting and Rich & Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting recipes are below, and you can find the fabulous Red Velvet Cake recipe, HERE (if you are a member of

Whipped Cinnamon Filling/Frosting

Yield: enough to fill a 9″ round, 4-layer cake


3 sticks + 2 tablespoon (370 g/13 oz) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes

3 cups sifted (480 g/1 lb + 1 oz) confectioners’ sugar (icing, powdered)

3 tablespoons (45 mL) whipping cream (heavy cream 35%)

2 teaspoon (10 mL) pure vanilla extract (I use Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Extract)

2 teaspoons (10 mL) ground cinnamon, or to taste

pinch of salt


1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I use “4″ on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy.

2. Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy, and fluffy.

3. Best used right away (for ideal spreading consistency) and stirred occasionally during the cake-frosting process.

Rich & Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: enough to frost (only frost, not fill) a 9″ round cake, with piped decorations (above)


1/3 cup  (75 g/2.5 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 lbs (5 1/2 cups/685 g) confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 packages (8 oz packages) cream cheese (12 oz/345 g), cut into cubes, cold

1/4 cup (60 ml) whipping cream (heavy cream 35%)

2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract (I use Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Extract)

pinch of salt


1. Using electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend butter and icing sugar on medium low speed, until just combined, about 2 minutes.

2. Add cold cream cheese, all at once, and beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes.

3. Add whipping cream and vanilla, and beat at medium high speed for about 1 minute. Frosting will be fluffy. Be sure to not overbeat, or the frosting will start to become too thin.

Assembly of the Red Velvet & Cinnamon Layer Cake

1. With a long, sharp serrated knife, slice both cooled cake layers in half horizontally, so you now have 4 cake layers (this is optional–you can certainly leave it as 2 thicker layers with one layer of filling).

2. Spread a small dollop of either frosting onto desired cake plate or cake board (this keeps cake from shifting).

3. Place 1 cake layer on it, cut-side up. Place ~1 cup of cinnamon frosting on top, and spread evenly with a Medium Sized Offset Spatula
leaving about a 1″ rim unfrosted (around the edges).

4. Repeat step 3 until you come to your final layer, which you will place cut side down.

5. Pile a generous amount of Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting on top of the cake and using a clean Medium Sized Offset Spatula
working outward from the top center, adding more frosting to the sides and smooth, using a Medium Sized Straight Spatula, until cake is covered and smooth.

6. Place remaining Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting in a large Pastry Bag fitted with your preferred large decorating tip. For this cake I used Ateco Decorating Tip 887, and swirl rosettes around the top of the cake. Top with candy heart or anything your little heart desires!

Sweetapolita’s Notes

  • This cake is best enjoyed day 1 or 2. Because of the cream cheese frosting, you will need to refrigerate the cake, but it should always be served at room temperature.
  • For Red Velvet & Cinnamon Cupcakes, you could bake in cupcake liners (24-36) and top with a swirl of each frosting, or even just one or the other.
  • Ready to rock your cake baking? Check out my 50 Tips for Baking Better Cakes post.
  • To learn more about my favourite baking tools, check out Baking Supplies I Love.

As always, I’d love to hear about your experiences and results making this cake, so come on back and let me know!

Does Red Velvet excite you? Here is a serious dose of Red Velvet love from friends around the web:

Happy Weekend!


P.S. No, I’m not really wearing a quintessential vintage red polka dot 50’s dress.

PPS. I don’t even own a quintessential vintage red polka dot 50’s dress, but ooh I wish I did!


Share the Sweetness!


  1. says

    You know… some people are red velvet haters and I just don’t know why. Will I buy a cake because of it’s red velvet? No… but I sure as hell think it’s fun! And what would be better than a slice of this to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

  2. Moore Sweet Treats says

    Chocolate, cinnamon and the colour red, three of my favourite things. Oh how I can’t wait to make this cake!

  3. says

    I have followed your blog for some time now… it’s been such a source of beauty and inspiration for me! I’ve tried your ruffle cake (sooo much fun!!) and I’ve invented an “El Diablo Red Velvet Saigon Cinnamon Brownie”… I can’t wait to try your cake. Red Velvet is a surprise, the brilliant red disguises the chocolate.. I <3 that! xo Smidge

  4. says

    This cake looks so yummy and, of course, lovely! Can’t wait to try it for Valentine’s Day, maybe as a cake or as cupcakes. How many cupcakes can I make with this recipe? xo

  5. says

    I so often find red velvet cakes disappointingly dry and lacking in flavour but I would definitely trust your judgement when it comes to finding the perfect recipe! I love the combination with that cinnamon filling too. Hope you are feeling better as well, there is nothing worse than being sick.

  6. says

    While you couldn’t find a red velvet recipe that you loved, I’ve never met a red velvet cake that I didn’t devour. But I know what you mean:)

  7. says

    oh Rosie this is beautiful and I love the addition of the cinnamon filling!!

    I’ve SO enjoyed seeing all the red velvet floating around lately!! thanks for the shout out for my crepes! They were even more delicious than I had expected them to be!!

  8. says

    I just said this the other day. There seems to be some red velvet backlash lately. Haters hate. And you bake gems like this. Seriously love the look of this cake, it’s just so beautiful. Glad you snapped a couple of pics and that you’re feeling better now. Sounds like you had what I had weeks before. Not fun. But glad you’re on the mend and sharing this gorgeous cake with us now. Vintage polka dot dresss or not.

  9. Mumbi Muturi-Muli says

    i was scouring your blog a week a go looking for a red velvet recipe, I was forced to go to other bakers and i found one that i really love ( one by Bobby Flay that uses both oil and butter) and now you have posted this and i will be forced to make it and taste another wonderfully glorious cake of yours.
    I live in Kenya and i am not able to get so many of your supplies, so my poor friends are forced to buy and carry them from the states when they travel. I now have 2 kits of the americolour gels and the Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Extract, so if you have travelling to my side of the world, i have a shopping list for you :)

    Thank you for your inspiration!!!!

  10. says

    I’m a sucker for anything red velvet and yours looks just perfect! You’re right about how disappointing dry red velvet cake can be. And I love the little tidbits about the history of the cake, thanks! Finally, the cinnamon frosting sounds just perfect, and like a great twist. So happy to have found your gorgeous blog! I’ve also bookmarked your vegan chocolate cupcakes :-)

  11. Marci Richmond says

    I just overcame my fear of making SMB [swiss meringue buttercream] and it tastes AWESOME.Everyone needs to try it!!

    I love your glitter cake in Wedding Bells magazine. Can you share the brand of glitter that you used?

    Thanks, Marci. Queen City Glitz, Charlotte,NC

  12. June g. says

    Mmmmm, looks divine! I can’t wait to try the cinnamon filling and how do you get your icing to look soooo smooth?

  13. says

    Wow! This looks so pretty and elegant with the ruby colour of the cake and the creamy cream cheese icing. This reminds me that I have to try a red velvet cake soon and I’m putting this recipe on my bake-to-do list.

  14. says

    Not only have I’ve never baked anything red velvet but I’ve never even tasted anything red velvet yet! Your cake is beautiful Rose and your post is entertaining and informative as always.

  15. says

    Rosie, this cake is gorgeous! I love that you mentioned the armadillo cake from Steel Magnolias – one of my favorite movies, EVER!
    And thank you for the link love my friend!

  16. Erica says

    Love the interesting red velvet factoids! Also, thanks for testing recipes to find the perfect one to share with us! :) I’ve always been reluctant to make red velvet, on the (sometime-confirmed) suspicion that it is more about form (or rather, colour) over taste. The few red velvet confections I’ve tired in the past confirmed that perception, mostly serving as a vehicle for cream cheese icing… However, with your stamp of approval I would happily try this cake! Thank you!

  17. says

    Another beautiful cake Rosie. I’ve got a red velvet just waiting to be iced ~ but was looking for the perfect flavour idea for the frosting ~ NOW I have it! Thank you for the lovely post.
    P.S. If you come across a quintessential vintage polka dot dress – I’ll take one in pink, please!

  18. Sweetsugarbelle says

    I feel like a traitor that I am a southern girl who doesn’t like red velvet…flavor wise it seems kind of pointless, I guess it’s just the color! But I would love to taste your version because I know if you say it’s good, it’s is! Love the addition of cinnamon!

  19. says

    How did I get so behind on your blog? I feel like I have a million cakes and treats to make now to catch up. And to make matters worse I can’t decide if I want this or funfetti cake this weekend. The cinnamon in this intrigues me!

  20. tammi says

    Hi Rosie,

    I have a question regarding the whipping cream in the frosting. Is it already whipped or still to be whipped? I have had trouble with 2 frosting recipes of yours and just trying to figure out where I go wrong. First the Triple Lemon and Blueberry Layer Cake and now this one. The frosting is basically so runny, I’m even having a hard time just putting it on with a palette, forget about piping designs. :-(
    Just wondering if the whipping cream here is not strong enough (although the fat content is the same, however I have used UHT whipping cream) or maybe I should put already whipped cream into the frosting?

    I would really appreciate your feedback on this please.

    This caks is super yummy and the cinnamon butter cream is literally to die for. Thank you so much for giving out the recipe.

    • says

      Hi Tammi,
      The whipping cream for the frosting is the 35% whipping cream in the carton (liquid form). Hmm…I’m wondering what’s happening with your frosting. I recommend just leaving out the liquid (milk, whipping cream, water, lemon juice, etc.) until the very end, and then start with 1/2 of the amount I suggest, because I’m wondering if maybe there’s a difference with your icing sugar or measurements? Otherwise I just can’t figure it out. Best of luck!

      • tammi says

        Thank you so much for your reply Rosie. I have made it again, and used only 1tbsp of the cream and it was fine. I was able to pipe it too. :-)

  21. says

    Thanks for posting this! I am actually going to be making this recipe tomorrow evening to try out. I’ve also had bad luck with runny cream cheese frosting and am unable to pipe, so I hope the above comment trick of adding 1tbsp whipping cream helps for me too. Thanks for the great tip Rosie about leaving that until the end to add, I think I was adding it too soon. I can’t wait to try this now!!

  22. Emma says

    Hi there, I love the heart candies decorating the piping. Where did you get these from? I’m having trouble locating any.

  23. Kristen says

    This recipe calls for a lot more cocoa than the others I’ve come across. Did you find the red food coloring called for in the recipe to be enough? I’ve got my dry ingredients ready to go but it already looks pretty dark aaaand I’m too lazy to drive to thr grocery store ;)

  24. Santi says

    Hi Rosie.. I live in Jakarta, Indonesia.. I made this cake yesterday, and it was a big hit! Everyone loves it.. The whipped cinnamon filling was a genius touch! The frosting was a bit too sweet for me, though.. But it was still great! Thanks for posting this recipe Rosie.. I’ll be trying other recipes from your website.. :)

  25. Nen says

    Hi…I’ve tried so many red velvet recipes and all have gone terrible wrong (dry or too much of a chocolate flavor). But I was wondering if you used Dutch-processed or regular cocoa powder? And what brand?

  26. Rozy says

    Hi Rosie,

    Did you use unbleached all purpose flour for this recipe as stated in the original recipe? I have never made a cake using it and was wondering how the texture was. Do you think I could use bleached all purpose or cake flour instead?


  27. Gaelle says

    OMG! I just made your cream cheese frosting and it turned out soooo awesome! So fluffy and soft! I have been trying to do cream cheese frosting for a while now but it allways ended up slightly curdy. I’ll never ever try another recipe, I could hardly stop eating it with a spoon!

    Thanks for the awesome recipes and inspiration!

  28. Amy says

    Hey Rosie I love every recipe of yours that I have made so far :) I was wondering if you thought this icing would work for the ruffle icing ? Thanks

  29. Javeria says

    Hi Rosie,

    My question is the same as Amy’s – do think this frosting could be used for the ruffles design? Thanks.

  30. says

    Hi, I live in a hot and humid country 32-34 deg celsius. With the cinnamon frosting, do I have to refrigerate after icing the cake? Can it be left out in one or 2 days?

  31. Kayla says

    I absolutely LOVE your website and have been a longtime reader but I made this recipe in cupcake form the other day and as a red velvet lover, just HAD to comment. I made them for a friend who recently started medical school rotations and she was speechless at how good they tasted. Definitely the pick me up she needed. This will be in my arsenal of “go-to” recipes whenever I need a fabulous dessert I know will turn out great. Her sister is coming home in a few days and I’m already making it again for her coming home dinner! Thank you for your constant inspiration, gorgeous pictures, and even tastier recipes!

  32. Alison says

    I just made the all-natural red velvet cake from jamie’s website your creamy cinnamon filling with cream cheese frosting for our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow! Thank heavens I made extra cupcakes so I could sample some tonight!!It turned out beautifully!! Thankyou for the links for the cakes! I’ve become the designated cake baker now for every dinner we go to and your recipes and hints have made them all so delicious!! Thankyou!

  33. says

    I made this today for my husband’s birthday. 100% approval rating, absolutely fantastic. If (big if!) I do anything differently next time, and yes there *will* be a next time, then I’ll make 1.5x cream cheese frosting; I’d wished I’d had enough for a crumb coat first.

    Don’t let that stop you. It’s EXCELLENT as written. You will not regret it!

  34. says

    Thank you so much for the recipes. I’m a super fan of yours and just tried the creams recipes. The cinammon buttercream is just gorgeous, but the cream cheese one got runny. Is there anyway to mend this fatal error?
    Thanks a million.
    Have a beautiful Christmas!

  35. Kathy says

    Wow! I’ve been using a different red velvet recipe these past couple of years, but it doesn’t compare to the moist fluffiness of this recipe! This will be my new go-to recipe!! I made 18 muffin-sized cupcakes and baked for 20 mins. Thanks, Rosie, for posting this!!

  36. Japneet says

    Hi there, the recipe for red velvet cake was easy and I can tell it would taste great. I haven’t tried the cake, it’s for a customer. BUT the recipe demands 1/2 cup cocoa, whereas in most other recipes is a tsp or so. I reduced the cocoa to 1/4 cup and still the cake is not red but reddish brown :(( Any tips on that please. Thank you :)

  37. shyanne says

    hi!! this recipe was awesome! I made into cupcakes with the cream cheese topping and it blends in so well! (: but im not left with half of the cream cheese!! may I know how long can the cream cheese be kept for?
    thank you!!

  38. Lauren says

    Hi. I’m sure it’s me because no one else mentioned it but everytime I try and see the actual cake recipe on the other site it says I need a membership. I signed up but it says to view that recipe I need to upgrade my membership. Thanks for your help.

  39. leilani says

    I have yet to find a Red Velvet that I LOVE. I like Red Velvet, but I dont love it!
    Im going to give this one a go!
    BTW, When I made red velvet with beets, I will say it was one of the best ones I made, AND it came out a really pretty magenta color!

  40. says


    The very first red velvet cake I ever made was this:

    Red wine is used to achieve a very natural deep burgundy colour, almost brown, which lightens a little, closer to red, as the cake cools.

    There’s some very cool history behind red velvet :)

    Also, Scharffen-Berger’s natural cocoa delivers extreme chocolate punch for me; do you find much difference between natural and Dutched?

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