Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet is one of my all time favourite cakes and I have tried many different recipes for it – the one below is my favourite and comes from ‘Cakes To Celebrate Love and Life’ by Cakebread team Callie Maritz and Mari-Louis Guy. The wonderful red hue is achieved by the addition of red food colouring or if you have the time, a beetroot reduction.

Red Velvet Cake

Makes one cake or 24 cupcakes

2 1/2 cups (350g)  cake flour

1 1/2 cups (300g) sugar

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp cocoa powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup (250ml) buttermilk

2 free-range eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sunflower oil

1 tsp white vinegar

5 tsp (25ml) red food colouring or beetroot reduction

1 tsp vanilla extract (use a good brand made from real vanilla)

Cream Cheese Icing

1 tub (250g) Cream cheese

250g butter, softened

2 cups (280g) icing sugar sifted

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Cake: Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease or spray your choice of baking pan. In a large mixing bowl sift the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa powder and salt together. In another mixing bowl combine the buttermilk, eggs, oil, vinegar, food colouring and vanilla extract. Mix the flour mixture into the buttermilk mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pans ( I used two 25cm baking pans)  and bake for 35-4o minutes for a cake or 18-20 minutes for cupcakes. Decorate with cream cheese icing and whatever else takes your fancy.

For the Icing: With an electric whisk beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and beat through. Add the vanilla extract and beat until just combined. Let the icing rest in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes before using.

Note: I find cooking times in my oven always vary from the times stated in the book – so be vigilant of your cake to ensure that it does not burn. The cream cheese icing can be tricky to work with and melts quickly – be sure that your cake is ice cold before frosting it. To avoid dragging crumbs through your icing – chill the cake in the deep freeze for a few minutes – it works!



    • I have been doing some research on beetroot reduction used as a food colouring alternative for Red Velvet cake – overall it does not seem to be the best option if you are wanting that bright red hue. Some recipes suggest using beetroot juice – but even then your cake will be brown and not red. Another food blogger I read, made a beetroot reduction by reducing beetroot juice over high heat until the liquid was halved and adding a squeeze of lemon juice to stabalize the colour – but she said that her cake turned out brown and had a strong beetroot flavour. It has something to do with alkalines in the cocoa that react with the beetroot juice – so she ommitted the cocoa and ended up with a Pink Velvet cake! In this instance I would say, if you’re really opposed to the synthetic colouring leave it out – the cake will still be delicious 🙂

  1. Ms. Scarlett – I LOVE your blog! You have inspired me to haul out my recipe books only to find that yours sound so much more delicious 😉 I plan to cook with you by my side at least a few times a week now and am so looking forward to trying out all of your delicious concoctions! Keep them coming! Lots of love, Andrea xoxo

    • Dear Andrea, thanks for the lovely compliment! Hope you are keeping well! Let me know how the food turns out! xxxx

  2. Hi Scarlett! Please tell me what brand of food colouring you use! Moir’s discontinued their food colouring that worked perfectly, and the Robertsons red food colouring often leaves me with a cake that is red in the middle and brown around the middle/outside. I have tried adding more cocoa powder to stabilise it but it doesnt always work…I have many requests for a natural red velvet cake, but as you said, I am worried about the beetroot taste that might come through. Have you had any luck with a natural one yet? Thanks for any advice! Nici

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