Flop proof red velvet cake recipe

One of my pet hate recipes that I get the most requests for is this one here. Red velvet has become a baking fad that doesn’t seem to want to die. Every second cake request I get is for red velvet. Mind you, I’m not saying I don’t enjoy baking it and making someone smile with my final product, I just wish the world would understand there are whole lot of other cakes, equally as moist and as delicious.

The reason red velvet is more expensive than your standard sponge cake is because of the buttermilk, cream cheese, cocoa powder and colouring used to make it. It also has a few more ingredients in it than your standard chocolate cake. The key to a red velvet cake is a dark crimson colour, it shouldn’t be a bright red colour like many I’ve seen out there. It’s also meant to be moist and soft. If it’s dry and crumbly them I can bet my bottom dollar that person who made it just put red dye to a standard vanilla sponge recipe.


Ok let me stop talking too much about it. This recipe is the one I use now as beetroot is a seasonal vegetable and I’ve found this works better with the food coloring I’ve found and not with beetroot pulp.

5ml Vanilla
125g Unsalted Butter
210g Castor Sugar
2 Large Eggs
45g Cocoa Powder
40ml Pink Crimson Food Colouring
280g Cake Flour
2ml Salt
250ml Buttermilk
5ml Bicarb of soda
15ml Vinegar

1. Cream the butter, sugar until fluffy and add the eggs gradually. Beat til smooth and creamy.
2. Add the cocoa powder, beat
3. Add the food colouring and half of the buttermilk
4. Add half of the dry ingredients and then the rest of the buttermilk.
5. Slowly add the rest of the dry ingredients and beat til well incorporated
6. Dissolve the Bicarb of soda in the vinegar, add vanilla and fold into the cake batter
7. Pour into your cake tin and bake at 180°C for 20 minutes.

Ice with cream cheese icing.

7 thoughts on “Flop proof red velvet cake recipe

  1. Hey Les, how do I make the cream cheese icing. How do I solidify it. I tend to struggle there. Just want to make something special for my wife and daughter.

    1. Hi there, that’s a problem many people have with cream cheese icing. Firstly make sure the cream cheese you use is medium fat or even better make sure it’s full fat. It will hold shape better. I also try beat in some butter into the cheese before adding the sugar. Let it set in the fridge a little so that it hardens a bit before use.

      1. Oh, that makes sense. Busy with my second attempt. Seems to be coming right for an amateur like me. Will send you a pic of the final product.

  2. hi Les I was lessening to you the other day on power FM if I want to use your recipe for the red velvet cake using beetroot how much should I use ? I enjoyed thee interview

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