Celebrate Southern Comfort Food with this Cruise Ship Recipe for Red Velvet Cake

From American Cruise Lines’ Executive Chef, Tom Leonard.

American Cruise Lines' Executive Chef recipe for Red Velvet Cake served on Southern cruises on the Mississippi River.Enjoy a taste of the South fresh in your own kitchen with this recipe from American Cruise Lines. Red Velvet is a Southern staple, and arguably best eaten in the South. This recipe is available to you to make yourself, but it might just taste better on a ship on the Mississippi River.

Contact an agent today to enjoy on-board cruise ship cuisine! 800.578.1479 or info@usarivercruises.com.



2 ½ cups cake flour, sifted

½ teaspoon Kosher salt

2 Tablespoons cocoa powder

½ cup butter, unsalted at room temperature

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

2 each eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk

2 Tablespoons liquid red food coloring

1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

8 ounces Mascarpone cheese, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream, cold


Chocolate Sauce

White Chocolate Sauce

Fresh Mint sprigs



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven.
  • Spray two – 9 inch (23 cm) round cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  • In bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes).
  • Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  • In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
  • In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.
  • Working quickly, divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25 – 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  • Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan. Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap in plastic and place the cake layers in the refrigerator for at least an hour (or overnight). (This is done to make filling and frosting the cakes easier.)

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • In the bowl of a mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and mascarpone cheese until smooth.
  • Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. Using the whisk attachment, gradually add the heavy cream and whip until the frosting is thick enough to spread. Add more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency.


  • With a serrated knife, cut each cake layer in half, horizontally. You will now have four cake layers. If they have a slight dome, cut off to make even and reserve.
  • Place one of the cake layers, top of the cake facing down, onto your serving platter. Spread the cake layer with a layer of frosting. Place another layer of cake on top of the frosting and continue to frost and stack the cake layers. Frost the top and sides of the cake.
  • Finely grate reserved cake scraps. Lightly coat the outside of the cake.
  • May want to par freeze so the cake cuts easily. Use a slicing knife and hot water, use hot sharp slicing knife, wipe blade after each cut.