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Before I get on a semi-serious tone on this post, I want to clear out a few things about my baking and photography experience with this Naked Red Velvet Cake.

Baking this cake has always been a pain, but in the end, ITS SO WORTH IT. The first time when I baked it (Exactly 4 years ago and exactly around the same time), I baked the cake with salt.  Undeterred, I mixed the batter, greased and dusted the pans all over again and baked the tastiest two layered Red Velvet Cake frosted with Mascarpone cheese frosting.

And, history repeated itself this time around. The cake turned out to be perfect – spongy and melt-in-your-mouth good.  Perfectly dense layers of deep Red Velvet Cake. They popped effortlessly out of the pan. However, I had to bake the whole cake all over again, with frosting and all, because, the pics didn’t turn out to be satisfactory.  My family thought I was crazy to keep trying… but it was worth it. I can’t put the pictures of a cake on my post if visually they don’t please me.

The Naked Red Velvet Cake
The Naked Red Velvet Cake

If someone doesn’t get to taste what I baked, at least the pictures should be a visual treat.

Third thing, I was debating what to call this cake. Really didn’t want to just call it a Red Velvet Cake, I mean there are like thousand Red Velvet Cakes out there. I wanted to call it something special, a little bit unique. I was torn between – The Naked Red Velvet Cake and The Old Fashioned Red Velvet Cake. Both seemed appropriate since, it’s not only a naked cake (Not by choice and you should keep your cakes naked too, if you got amazing frosting skills as mine), it’s also an Old Fashioned Cake as in, it’s neither vegan, nor dairy free or eggless. :D, or, photogenic (I had to put the photogenic bit in here, because, it was a pain to photograph this cake)

Well, finally I decided to call it The Naked Red Velvet Cake.

When I was buying the ingredients for this cake, I picked up a bouquet of flowers spontaneously. On the checkout lane, the cashier from WholeFoods asked, if there is something special.

Yes, the special part was, I wanted to satisfy a selfish need of baking this rich and over the top cake in August and additionally, I was going to treat myself with some flowers too. And, why not?




I think we should all do little things that make us happy from inside, make our hearts sing and fill our eyes with that twinkle. We all should, nurture a selfish need or a harmless secret and once in awhile, do things that make us and only us happy. Go back to those memories once in awhile – memories of those moments, when you felt the blood rush to your cheeks or when you got caught off guard by a genuine gesture. Bring back that rush of blood to your cheeks and get happy.

We are always running – deadlines at work, never-ending kid activities, unavoidable family commitments and everything needs to be done on time and perfectly. So, where is the time to pause and day dream?

I took a solo trip to NYC. I love to travel, see and explore new things. I have seen a lot of places, however, that trip has to be THE most memorable trip so far. Not because, NYC is the best thing that I have ever seen (Paris beats NYC by miles), but because, I was on my own for two days (Thanks to my friend Suma who hosted me) but I was on my own exploring the width and breadth of Manhattan on my feet – tirelessly. I was in a trance and everything felt beautiful and looked beautiful – from the coffee place in Lexington Ave to the night walks.

Do something just for yourself – take a trip, buy that pair of shoes, drink a bottle of wine alone, run in the rain…whatever that makes your heart sing.  If nothing works, bake a Naked Red Velvet Cake. You don’t have to have awesome baking skills to bake that perfect cake. You will fail may be, but so what? You will get it right the second time.  I did.


This is a simple two-layer cake that comes together without much effort.  That’s all! The cake is really light, moist and sponge-like. Be a little careful as they start to break if not handled carefully. Biting into the cake is a sheer pleasure as it just melts in your mouth.

I baked the whole cake for the second time to take better pictures. These pics are taken around 6 am Monday morning. Did not want to not take advantage of that golden hour sunlight. I had to be very careful with my lighting and composition. This was my first experiment with dark photography and even though I’m not 100% satisfied with the outcome, but I’m not disappointed either.

I choose to make a delicious mascarpone frosting to go with!  I just LOVE the combination of red velvet and mascarpone cheese. I could have topped my cake with strawberries, but I decided to go with the champagne grapes. The contrast looked heavenly to me.

The Naked Red Velvet Cake
The Naked Red Velvet Cake
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  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 TSP baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 TSP baking powder
  • 1 and 1/2 TSP salt
  • 3 TBSP unsweetened, cocoa powder
  • 2  cups sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 cup buttermilk (See below for tips on making your own buttermilk)
  • 3 TSP vanilla extract
  • 2 oz. red food coloring. Use a very good quality.
  • 2 TSP white distilled vinegar
  • 1 cup plain hot coffee, prepared


Use my Easy Mascarpone Cream Cheese Frosting recipe

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Grease and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt.
  • In a large bowl, combine the sugar and vegetable oil.
  • Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and red food coloring until combined.
  • Stir in the coffee and white vinegar.
  • Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients a little at a time, mixing after each addition, just until combined.
  • Pour the batter evenly into each pan.
  • Bake in the middle rack for 30-40 minutes. Do not over bake as the cake will continue to cook as it cools.
  • Gently remove the cakes from the pan and let them cool down.
  • Refrigerate the cakes for couple hours.


  • Combine the cream cheese and mascarpone cheese in the bowl. Beat them up until it’s creamy and smooth.
  • Add the sifted sugar and blend into the cheeses
  • Gradually add the COLD heavy whipping cream.  Turn the speed up to medium and whisk just until the frosting comes together and is spreadable. Do not over-whip!
  • Put the whole bowl of frosting in the fridge or freezer for about 30 minutes to firm up a bit before frosting the cake.
Press one layer top down on the cake stand. Dollop and smooth a thick layer of frosting on that layer and press the second layer down gently right side up. You want some of the cream cheese to “ooze” out between the layers, just don’t press too hard. Put a thick layer of icing on the very top of the cake, smooth and flatten with a large spatula.


  1. You can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar, cider vinegar, or lemon juice to 1 cup (240 ml) of milk. Let this mixture stand 5 to 10 minutes before using.
  2. Once the Red Velvet Cake layers have been baked and cooled,  place the cake layers in the refrigerator (for several hours) before frosting. This extra step makes the spreading of the frosting a much easier task as a freshly baked cake is quite fragile and when you try to spread the frosting there is a tendency for the cake to tear.
  3. If you cannot find Mascarpone just use regular cream cheese instead, which means using 16 ounces of cream cheese altogether.


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  1. I LOVE naked cake— they look so pretty and I’m less likely to mess up frosting them! This red velvet cake looks moist and just perfect!

  2. Wow. That cake looks amazing! I’ve never even tried to make a red velvet cake – you’re inspiring me! 🙂

  3. That cake is gorgeous! I make it sometimes but use beets puree to colour naturally!

  4. What a gorgeous cake! I love your photos. It was totally worth it to make the cake again if those photos were the result. 🙂 And mascarpone frosting? I’m there for that.

  5. kushigalu says:

    This cake looks gorgeous. Beautiful clicks 🙂

  6. This is such a beautiful red velvet cake! Topping it with Mascarpone Cream Cheese Frosting makes this INCREDIBLE! Love the recipe.

  7. Lovely cake, and lovely sentiments as well! 😀

  8. I am in awe of your cake decorating skills, a really nice job. The cake looks delicious by the way.

  9. I love naked cakes, the rustic charm of them always wins me over. Even better that there is no need for perfection! This cake looks like a dream, and I love that you used Mascarpone for the frosting. All of your effort paid off! Just lovely.

  10. What a treat for the eye and I am sure for the palate as well. 🙂

  11. strawberryblondiekitchen says:

    This red velvet cake is absolutely stunning! Almost too pretty to eat…almost! 😉

  12. Looks beautiful! I think your pics turned out GREAT! I haven’t played much with dark photography so I should practice more! Cant wait to try this recipe!

  13. Such a pretty cake and good advice on self-care!!

  14. Beautiful cake! It is stunning…I worthy!

  15. Your cake looks awesome. We all share your learning experience in baking – practice does make perfect!

  16. yourcooktoria says:

    This is a true work of art! I love everything about this cake!

  17. so cool! love that you went to NY alone.. its a must visit for me. The cake is totally gorgeous Aish.. round of applause!

  18. says:

    What a beautiful cake. The pictures make me want to dig in through the computer screen. I can’t believe you made the cake twice but lucky for you and your family to enjoy this kicked twice.

  19. What a great adventure you had! This cake looks so fabulous, it keeps calling my name!!!!!

  20. Garlic + Zest says:

    You had me at red velvet! I can’t believe you made it twice, just for us… Here, let me help you finish it off… pass a piece my way!

  21. It looks like the hard work and dedication definitely paid off because this cake looks beautiful! I too, have been guilty of recreating a recipe literally hours after photgraphing just because I wasn’t satisfied enough. My family also looks at me like I’m a tad insane (they just don’t quite get the food blogger life) 😉

    So jealous of your trip to NYC! I’ve been dreaming of going there for the longest time. You are so right about doing something for yourself every once in a while. We get so caught up trying to stay on track and please others that we often forget we need to take time to appreciate ourselves also. Loved this post!

  22. Your photos are phenomenal! I’m such a huge fan of dark toned photos. And this cake sounds absolutely incredible … I truly love the idea of the mascarpone cheese frosting (rather tan the typical cream cheese). Keep up the great work!

  23. I so need this cake in my life😍 It looks darkish!

  24. I sooo need this cake in my life 😍 It’s looks delicious!

  25. WOW this is absolutely gorgeous. I love the frosting and your photographs are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing

    Sarah |

  26. Yum! This looks great. Thanks for the recipe; gonna try it out soon! 🙂

  27. Wow, your photos are simply gorgeous. I love the red and white contrast.

  28. Red velvet is one of my favorite cakes, but it never turns out well for me. I’m going to try your recipe next time around. I called my last attempt the “red velvet debacle”!

  29. lastchance3 says:

    This looks so delicious! I love red velvet but often coated with so much icing. Love it!

  30. Anonymous says:

    The cake looks amazing… its my husband’s and my favourite cake and never turned out well.. will try with this recipe soon… Thanks for sharing…
    Also have a quick question… when you mentioned 1 cup hot coffee…is it a spoon of coffee and water or can you plz mention the measurements.

  31. Yes, just make a cup of regular black coffee. You can use one spoon instant coffee powder in hot water to make that coffee.

  32. Oh my, you’re so good! I wish I had your cooking skill and patience to make such a sophisticated cake 🙂

  33. Wow this looks delish!! You take such good photos too 🙂 My family doesn’t like red velvet cake, but maybe I can get them to try again! I keep saying that just because you don’t like something the first time you try it doesn’t mean you don’t like it – I try to make them try different preparations and styles of food. Like raw peppers vs. cooked peppers. I hope I get to try this soon!

  34. Wow ! Love this cake . it is so beautiful i bet it tastes even better.

  35. remainingmeg says:

    This looks phenomenal! I’m not whether I want to stare at it or try to bake it. So pretty!

  36. What a beautiful cake! Such a vibrant red color, and I love your decorating job. Yum!

  37. certifiedpastryaficionado says:

    Holy crap! This looks amazing. And I don’t even like cake that much because it’s usually dry and boring. But not this cake. It looks moist and rich. And I love marscapone! I can’t wait to make it. Thanks for sharing!

  38. Holy moly, this looks crazy good-and I’m not even a huge cake fan! The frosting! The layers! The decorations! I may have to try it!

  39. This looks too beautiful to eat! I have always wanted to try making a red velvet cake, maybe the time has come 🙂 Thank you for sharing this great recipe!

  40. Your family got to devour TWO of these cakes?! Lucky them!
    Your photos look great!

  41. Red velvet is one of my all-time fave! The fact that this is a naked cake, too, is even more lovely. It has a rustic feel to it!

    Abby of Life in the Fash Lane

  42. This cake is so pretty–and it looks delicious. I haven’t had a red velvet cake in ages.

  43. Well the one you took pictures of looks great. I love the back story of capturing the perfect cake. I hope you are not so hard on your other photo subjects.

  44. I admire your dedication on food preparation, and I wish I have alao that skill. Mine only is for eating, hahaha..

    You made a yummy cake! Thumbs up dear!


  45. Well all the trouble was definitely worth it. The cake looks “delicious”!

  46. I just died and went to cake heaven! This is the prettiest Red Velvet Cake I have ever laid my eyes on!!!!

  47. What a gorgeous and I bet delicious looking cake, love the name
    But would have loved old fashioned red velvet cake as a name too but this works too

  48. Anonymous says:

    tried the recipe and the cake came out super awesome… thank you for sharing the recipe 🙂

  49. wow this is superb !! i need to try it out for Vir’s first birthday !!

  50. Growing up zee says:

    this turned out so pretty!

  51. geekswhoeat says:

    I feel your pain on getting the perfect photo! These look great though!

  52. This is truly a feast for the eyes! I am sure my husband will be crazy for this. Never made marscapone frosting, but it sounds devine!

  53. Your “naked” cake looks pretty well heeled, to me. BEAUTIFUL!

  54. If I ll bake without egg. Then what should I do? Egg substitute plz ans

  55. Hi
    Loved your recipe and beautiful photography ..

    Definitely going to try it ..
    When I click on the mascarpone frosting link and it says no link found
    Can you please update the measurements of frosting