Red Velvet Cake
Red Velvet Cake
5 from 5 votes
A delicious red velvet cake with tangy undertones, ideal for a celebration or special occasion. Buttery, chocolatey, and incredibly moist, ice with homemade cream cheese frosting and serve.
Red Velvet Cake

The Red Velvet Cake, a classic that’s as intriguing in its history as it is in its luscious flavour. I remember first hearing about this cake and being utterly fascinated by its distinct red colour and the tales of its origin.

Now, let’s dig a little into the history. The Red Velvet Cake has its roots in the United States, tracing back to the early 20th century. Some say it originated in Canada, while others believe it hailed from the kitchens of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.

Whichever the true origin, this cake has long been associated with luxury and opulence. Those vivid red layers contrasted with creamy white frosting evoke an elegance that’s hard to resist.

When it comes to difficulty, crafting a Red Velvet Cake might seem intimidating.

But let me reassure you, it’s fairly moderate in the grand scheme of baking. The secret? It’s all about the right balance. Ensure the right measurements, and you’re in for a treat that’s as delightful to make as it is to eat.

Now, if you’re feeling experimental, there are numerous variations of this beauty. From cupcakes to bundt versions or even the addition of different nuts for an extra crunch – the Red Velvet Cake is versatile. But today, we’ll stick to the traditional two-layered wonder.

The frosting, oh the frosting! While there are many types of frosting that can complement the Red Velvet, nothing beats the classic cream cheese frosting. Its tangy undertones marry so well with the slightly cocoa-flavoured base.

The cake’s unique coloration traditionally came from the reaction between acidic buttermilk, vinegar, and natural cocoa powder. This would produce a more reddish-brown hue.

However, in today’s recipe, to get that vivid scarlet hue we all adore, we’ll be using food colouring. Don’t shy away! It’s this vibrant colour that gives our Red Velvet its signature look.

Whether you’re making it for a birthday, an anniversary, or simply because you’re in the mood for something exquisite, the Red Velvet Cake is sure to impress.

With its deep hues, moist texture, and the pairing of tangy cream cheese frosting, it’s a culinary experience waiting to unfold. So, roll up those sleeves and let’s bring this classic beauty to life!

What Ingredients to Use & Why

So you’re all set to dive into the magical world of Red Velvet Cake! But wait, let’s first get up close and personal with each key player in this masterpiece. Knowing your ingredients inside and out can be a game-changer.

You’ll be able to comprehend why each one is essential and how they team up to create that slice of heaven you can’t resist.

Plain Flour: Let’s start with the canvas – plain flour. It forms the backbone of our cake, providing the structure. If you prefer a healthier twist, you could try whole wheat flour, but be prepared for a denser cake. The plain flour works best here as it helps in achieving that tender crumb we all love.

Caster Sugar: Ah, the sweet soul of the cake! Caster sugar melts easily, ensuring an even texture. If you’re looking to cut back on refined sugar, you could opt for coconut sugar or even maple syrup, although the flavour profile may change slightly.

Cocoa Powder: Don’t be fooled by the small amount; cocoa powder adds a rich depth. It contrasts well with the sweetness, lending complexity to our Red Velvet Cake. Natural cocoa powder is my go-to, but you can also use Dutch-processed for a darker hue.

Baking Powder and Bicarbonate of Soda: The dynamic duo that makes sure your cake rises to the occasion! Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) also reacts with acidic elements, enhancing the cake’s red colour.

If you’re in a pinch, you can use all baking powder but know that it could affect the cake’s traditional tanginess.

Salt: Think of salt as the unsung hero, enhancing all the flavours and balancing out the sweetness. A pinch is all you need; just don’t skip it!

Eggs: Eggs add moisture and act as a binding agent. If you’re vegan, a flaxseed egg can be a decent alternative, although the texture might be slightly different.

Buttermilk: Buttermilk brings in that desired tanginess while also tenderizing the gluten in the flour for a softer crumb. No buttermilk? Mix milk with a bit of lemon juice or vinegar, and you’re good to go!

Vegetable Oil: This keeps our cake moist and sumptuous. Olive oil can be used for a healthier version, but it could add a different flavour. I’d stick to vegetable oil for a neutral taste.

Vanilla Extract: A baker’s elixir! Vanilla extract offers a subtle fragrance and flavour that complements the cake’s richness. You could use vanilla bean paste for an even more robust vanilla kick.

Food Colouring Red: This gives our cake its iconic red hue. Gel-based colours are more intense, so you’d need less. If you’re going for natural alternatives, beet juice could work but may alter the flavour slightly.

Vinegar White Wine: It reacts with baking soda and helps accentuate the red colour. Apple cider vinegar can serve as an alternative.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting: Butter adds richness, cream cheese brings tang, and icing sugar brings sweetness. Vanilla ties it all together, while milk adjusts the consistency. Stick with these for the classic experience!

And there we have it! You’re now more than acquainted with the ingredients that will help you create your Red Velvet masterpiece. As you can see, each one has its role, like characters in a play. Together, they perform in perfect harmony to give you a cake that’s unforgettable. So, shall we begin baking?

How to Make Your Red Velvet Cake Moist and Fluffy

The texture! The holy grail of any cake, especially the Red Velvet. A dry Red Velvet Cake is almost a sin in the culinary world, and nobody wants a cake that’s too dense. You’re aiming for moist and fluffy, and here’s how to nail it.

One of the essential elements in achieving that desirable moisture is, no surprise here, the wet ingredients. In my recipe, I use vegetable oil instead of butter for the cake batter.

While butter adds a rich flavour, vegetable oil actually does a better job at making the cake moist. The liquid consistency of oil coats flour particles easily, preventing them from absorbing too much water, thus making your cake ultra-moist.

Buttermilk is another champion when it comes to moisture. Its acidic nature tenderizes the flour’s gluten, giving your cake a softer crumb. Don’t have buttermilk? Worry not! You can make your own by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a cup of regular milk.

Eggs, ah glorious eggs! These wonders not only add moisture but also provide structure to the cake. But what if you’re vegan or allergic to eggs? Alternatives like applesauce or silken tofu can keep the cake moist. Just remember that these may slightly alter the texture.

Let’s talk baking times; this is crucial. A cake that’s left in the oven for too long will end up dry, no matter how many moisture-enhancing ingredients you use. So keep a vigilant eye, and start checking around the 25-minute mark.

A toothpick inserted should come out clean or with a few crumbs, but it should not be wet.

Finally, let’s chat about the frosting. The cream cheese frosting is not just there to make the cake look pretty; it also acts as a moisture seal, locking in the cake’s moisture. When you spread that creamy goodness over your cooled layers and in between them, you’re essentially locking in the moisture.

So there it is, the inside scoop on achieving the perfect moist and fluffy texture for your Red Velvet Cake.

Remember, it’s all about the right balance of ingredients, precise timing, and the frosting seal. Now, go ahead and make a Red Velvet Cake that’s not just a feast for the eyes but also a heavenly treat for the taste buds!

Decoding the Science Behind the Fluffy Texture of Red Velvet Cake

The joys of biting into a Red Velvet Cake, right? Every mouthful should be like a tiny cloud of deliciousness. But achieving that iconic fluffy texture isn’t just luck or magic; it’s pure science. Let’s delve into the mysteries of the cake cosmos.

Fluffiness in a cake comes from the incorporation of air and the type of raising agent used. In this marvellous recipe of mine, I combine both baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.

Now, don’t get them mixed up! Baking powder is actually a blend of an acid (usually cream of tartar) and bicarbonate of soda.

This is double-acting stuff, meaning it gets activated twice: once when wet ingredients meet dry and again during baking. Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, requires an acidic ingredient to react with. In the case of Red Velvet, that’s where buttermilk comes in.

Let’s not forget the role of eggs. These beauties act as an emulsifier and a leavening agent, making the cake light and fluffy.

I like to beat the eggs well before incorporating them into the batter, adding more air and thus more fluff. But what if you’re vegan? A mixture of vinegar and baking soda can create that same rising effect.

Then comes the mixing part. Overmixing the batter activates too much gluten, and that’s a one-way ticket to a dense, rubbery cake. With my recipe, I advise stirring until ‘just blended.’

This phrase is the golden rule in the baking world. It means combining the ingredients until you can’t see the individual components anymore, but not a second longer. Trust me, restraint is the key to fluffiness.

The perfect fluff in a Red Velvet Cake comes from the delicate balancing act of acid-base reactions, the leavening power of eggs, and the restraint in mixing. Get these elements right, and you’re not just a baker; you’re a cake scientist!

The Must-Have Cream Cheese Frosting for Red Velvet Cake

The pièce de résistance, the crown jewel, the final touch! Cream Cheese Frosting is to Red Velvet Cake what yin is to yang. Let’s dive into why this particular frosting is the ultimate companion to this cake.

First off, the tanginess of the cream cheese balances the sweetness of the cake, creating a harmony of flavours that leaves your taste buds dancing. But why cream cheese and not any other frosting?

Cream cheese has this unique quality of being both rich and airy, which complements the fluffy yet moist texture of the cake.

I blend cream cheese and unsalted butter for a reason. While cream cheese provides that iconic tang, the butter brings a silky richness that makes the frosting smooth and easy to spread.

Some folks prefer using all cream cheese, and that’s fine, but adding butter just elevates the frosting to another level.

Vanilla extract is not there just for kicks; it adds a subtle fragrance and flavour that enhances the overall experience. Now, should you be out of vanilla extract, almond extract makes for an excellent alternative, lending the frosting a slightly nutty aroma.

Finally, the icing on the cake (pun totally intended) is the icing sugar. This powdered sweetness is essential for the frosting’s structure. Too much can make it overly sweet, and too little could result in a runny mess. It’s crucial to sift the sugar to avoid lumps for a smoother finish.

Why not experiment a bit? For a unique twist, you could add some lemon zest for an extra zing, or a sprinkle of cinnamon for a touch of warmth. The key is to maintain the cream cheese as the star while letting these additions play the supporting roles.

A crash course in why Cream Cheese Frosting is non-negotiable for a perfect Red Velvet Cake. Now, armed with this knowledge, go forth and frost like you’ve never frosted before!

Why Buttermilk Is a Game-Changer for Red Velvet Cake

So, you’re wondering what’s the secret ingredient that makes Red Velvet Cake such a sensation. Spoiler alert: it’s buttermilk. Trust me, this humble ingredient can take your cake from “meh” to marvellous in no time.

Buttermilk is a slightly sour milk, and it’s not just there for giggles. The acidity in buttermilk reacts with the bicarbonate of soda, creating a tender crumb texture that will make your cake the talk of the town.

Imagine a cake as light as air, but still rich and moist. Sounds impossible, right? Not when buttermilk is on your team.

The lactic acid in buttermilk also helps break down the gluten, meaning your cake won’t be as tough as a bouncer at a nightclub.

It softens the flour, creating a mouthfeel that’s more delicate than a snowflake. And let’s not forget about its natural tanginess, which harmonizes beautifully with the sweetness of the sugar and the richness of the cocoa powder.

Can’t find buttermilk? No worries. You can use a mixture of milk and vinegar or even lemon juice as a substitute. Just mix one tablespoon of vinegar with a cup of milk and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Voila, you’ve got yourself a makeshift buttermilk!

If you’re looking to make your Red Velvet Cake the showstopper, don’t skip the buttermilk. It brings tenderness, moisture, and that little zing that makes your cake memorable.

Unlocking the Mystery of Cocoa Powder in Red Velvet Cake

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, or should I say, the cocoa in the cake. Yep, you heard it right. Cocoa powder is an essential part of a Red Velvet Cake, and no, it’s not just for the colour.

You see, cocoa powder is more than a colouring agent; it brings a complexity to the cake. Think about it like a plot twist in a movie. It adds depth and a slight bitterness that offsets the sweetness, making your cake more than just a sugary treat.

But why only one tablespoon? Trust me, it’s like the bass player in a band. Not the star of the show but vital for a well-rounded performance. Too much cocoa powder, and you’ll overshadow the other ingredients, turning your Red Velvet Cake into a chocolate cake, and well, that’s another recipe for another day.

Remember, not all cocoa powders are created equal. Go for a good quality unsweetened cocoa powder, as cheaper versions can introduce unwanted acidity or even a chalky texture. Yep, being picky here is totally allowed.

If you’re out of cocoa powder or looking to experiment, alternatives do exist. You could try using beet juice for both colour and earthy flavours. It’s not a perfect match, but it’s a creative detour.

Cocoa powder is not merely a supporting actor; it’s a crucial ingredient that brings your Red Velvet Cake’s performance together.

It’s that unassuming element that blends so well that you can’t imagine the cake without it. So, don’t skimp or skip it; your Red Velvet Cake deserves the full ensemble.

The Unseen Hero of Red Velvet Cake: Vinegar and Its Role

Don’t blink, or you’ll miss it. The addition of vinegar to a Red Velvet Cake recipe might seem insignificant, but in the baking world, it’s like a secret handshake. It plays an unsung yet absolutely crucial role in achieving that dreamy texture we all rave about.

Vinegar’s main job is to react with the baking soda. That’s right, they’re a dynamic duo, much like Batman and Robin. The acidic vinegar activates the alkaline baking soda, leading to the creation of carbon dioxide gas. This gas is what gives the cake its fluffiness and that airy, melt-in-the-mouth texture.

Imagine throwing a party without music; it wouldn’t be as lively, would it? That’s precisely what happens when you skip vinegar. The cake turns out denser, more like a loaf of bread than a luxurious dessert.

If you find yourself short on white wine vinegar, fear not. Apple cider vinegar or even distilled white vinegar can save the day. Each one brings a slightly different acidity level and taste, but the core function remains the same.

To put it succinctly, vinegar is like the composer of an orchestra. It orchestrates various ingredients, ensures they all work in harmony, and then gracefully exits the stage, letting the flavours take the spotlight.

Why Cream Cheese Frosting Reigns Supreme in Red Velvet Cake

Cream cheese frosting! The crowning glory of any Red Velvet Cake. It’s like putting on your favourite pair of shoes; the outfit might be great, but the shoes complete the look. The buttery, rich, and slightly tangy frosting elevates the cake from delicious to divine.

Sure, other frostings like vanilla or even chocolate could work, but let’s not kid ourselves—cream cheese frosting and Red Velvet Cake are a match made in culinary heaven.

The tanginess of the cream cheese cuts through the sweetness of the cake, offering a balanced bite that is as emotionally satisfying as finding an extra fry at the bottom of the bag.

What’s more, the creaminess of the cheese contrasts beautifully with the cake’s texture, lending an opulence to each mouthful. It’s the contrast that your taste buds didn’t know they needed but will now demand forevermore.

Out of cream cheese? You could use mascarpone as a substitute, although that would make it less tangy and more like a tiramisu frosting. Still delightful, but slightly off-script.

Cream cheese frosting is to Red Velvet Cake what a tiara is to a princess; it’s the perfect finish that makes everything better. So go ahead and be generous with that frosting, because, without it, your Red Velvet Cake is like a king without his crown.

Mastering the Art of Mixing Wet and Dry Ingredients in Red Velvet Cake

Mixing wet and dry ingredients is akin to mastering the waltz; it’s a dance that requires precision and grace. For Red Velvet Cake, this technique is pivotal, to say the least.

Ah yes, the vividly red cake layers kissed with a hint of cocoa wouldn’t be the same if you just jumbled everything together in a bowl.

The choreography starts by taking your dry ingredients—flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and the like—and gently whisking them. Why? Because we’re chasing perfection here. A harmonious blend ensures that each slice is a mirror image of the next in terms of flavour and texture.

Then come the wet ingredients—eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and food colouring—sophisticated components that bring moisture and structure to the cake. These ingredients also imbue the cake with its signature red hue and soft crumb.

It’s the merging of these two worlds that can make or break your Red Velvet Cake. Rush the process, and you might end up with a cake that’s unevenly cooked or flavoured. Hence, the term “gradually add” is a cardinal rule in baking.

Alternatives? Some people opt for cake mix, but let’s not tarnish this culinary masterpiece with shortcuts. Stick to the ritual of separate bowls for wet and dry ingredients, and you’ll understand why Red Velvet Cake has stood the test of time.

Mastering the mix is like landing a perfect pirouette. It’s that essential step that takes your cake from good to breathtakingly magnificent.

The Mystique of Buttermilk in Red Velvet Cake

Now let’s chat about buttermilk, that quaint dairy product that’s the backbone of every dreamy slice of Red Velvet Cake. There’s just something spellbinding about the way it mingles with the other ingredients, offering its unique tanginess and moisture to the mix.

Buttermilk acts as the mediator in the cake. Its acidic properties not only help in activating the baking soda but also break down the gluten in the flour, ensuring that the cake is tender and not chewy. Its tanginess marries well with the cocoa powder, creating a rich but not overwhelming flavour profile.

No buttermilk? No problem. You can quickly fashion a buttermilk substitute by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to regular milk. Let it sit for a few minutes, and voila!

You’ve got yourself a makeshift buttermilk. However, do note that the flavour will be a bit different, a bit like using a stunt double instead of the star actor.

Buttermilk is the unsung hero of Red Velvet Cake. It’s that crucial member of a band that doesn’t hog the limelight but without whom the music just wouldn’t be the same

Check Out These Other Recipes

Oh, if you’re smitten with my Red Velvet Cake, just you wait until you explore some other sinfully delicious dessert options I’ve got for you! You’ll swear your taste buds are dancing a jazzy foxtrot.

Ever had a mouthful of heaven? Try my Vanilla Cupcakes. They’re so fluffy, it’s like biting into a vanilla-flavoured cloud! If you’re a cheesecake aficionado, you can’t miss my Oreo Cheesecake. Imagine rich, creamy filling nestled atop a crust made of crumbled Oreos. Yeah, you heard that right.

But if you’re feeling nutty, you’ve got to whip up my Kinder Bueno Cheesecake. It’s so decadent, your spoon will practically sink into a gooey medley of hazelnut and chocolate.

Now, if you’re more of a chocolate purist, my Chocolate Brownies are calling your name. They’re so fudgy, you’ll want to savour every crumb.

Lastly, don’t forget about my Cherry Cobbler. Imagine cherries bursting with tart sweetness, enveloped in a warm, buttery crust. It’s like the perfect ending to any dinner party or a weekend indulgence you won’t regret.

I can’t wait to hear how these recipes turn out for you. Trust me, they’re worth every calorie. Feel free to drop a comment and let me know what you think!

Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake

by Nabeela Kauser
A delicious red velvet cake with tangy undertones, ideal for a celebration or special occasion. Buttery, chocolatey, and incredibly moist, ice with homemade cream cheese frosting and serve.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Baking
Cuisine American, British, Western
Servings 12 Slices
Calories 520 kcal


  • 280 g Plain Flour
  • 240 g Caster Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 240 ml Buttermilk
  • 120 ml Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tbsp Food Colouring Red
  • 1 tsp Vinegar White Wine
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 100 g Butter Unsalted, room temperature
  • 200 g Cream Cheese Room temperature
  • 400 g Icing Sugar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2-3 tbsp Milk As needed


  • Preheat your oven to 175°C and grease two 20cm round cake pans.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, caster sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and red food colouring.
  • Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, stirring until just blended.
  • In a small bowl, mix the white wine vinegar and baking soda together, then quickly add to the batter and mix well.
  • Divide the batter equally between the prepared cake pans and smooth the tops.
  • Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Instructions for the Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese together until creamy.
  • Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until combined.
  • Stir in the vanilla extract and 2-3 tablespoons of milk as needed to reach a spreadable consistency.
  • Instructions for Assembling the Cake:
  • Place one of the cooled cake layers on a serving plate or cake stand.
  • Cover the top with a generous amount of cream cheese frosting.
  • Place the second cake layer on top.
  • Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake, creating a smooth surface.
  • Serve and enjoy your delicious two-layer red velvet cake!


Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done so merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 520kcalCarbohydrates: 76gProtein: 5gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 434mgPotassium: 101mgFibre: 1gSugar: 55gVitamin A: 515IUVitamin D: 0.5µgCalcium: 83mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Birthday, Cakes, Comfort Food, Food, Party, Party Food, Recipe, Red, Velvet
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

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Hi, I’m Nabeela and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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