Red Velvet Cake

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I remember always being impressed by how a Red Velvet Cake looked. Having tried to make pink cupcakes with the kids, and always ending up with a faintly brown, I was incredibly impressed by the colour. But, for a long time, I’d never eaten one. I remember thinking “but what flavour is it?” Because it was unlikely to be either red or velvet. So, what was it?

Well, it’s kinda velvet to be fair. It is technically chocolate. But, there’s such a small amount of cocoa in it, that it’s a really subtle flavour. Almost vanilla and chocolate mix, but subtly. When it comes to Red Velvet Cake, it’s the texture that makes it. The red bit is fantastic, but it’s really the velvet that brings the fun.

Looking for a simple, yet decadent cake that always makes an impression? Red Velvet Cake Could be the one!!

Thanks to a good helping of oil, and lots of buttermilk, this cake is so soft, it almost feels like a velvet or silk in your mouth. It’s like no other cake.

Apparently traditionally the red was born of a chemical reaction between the cocoa, the oil and the vinegar. I’m not sure that’s true anymore, as our cocoa nowadays isn’t as pure. So we add some food colour, but I’m sure there’s still some chemical magic going on, which is baking at its very best!

Practice Makes Perfect

Side view, close up of Red Velvet Cake

Sometimes (rarely admitedly!) I’ll make a cake and it’s fabulous first time. Straight out the oven I know that the recipe is spot on and everything has just worked. Sometimes, I have to go back and fiddle with my recipes a little before I get them right. Quite often for me, it’s more the technique that I need to work on. I’m not a patient cook, so things like creaming I tend to rush.

Red Velvet Cake took me a while. But, I was determined to get it right. Which meant that quite a few Red Velvet Cakes were consumed within quite a short amount of time. Does anyone else do that? Get totally obsessed with perfecting a recipe? Husband enjoys these weeks a lot!

Red Velvet Cake is smooth, decadent and definitely an extra special treat!


The first time I made my Red Velvet Cake, my cake was yummy, but the cream cheese icing was too runny, and I put too much between the layers, so it was kinda falling all over the place. I also only divided the batter into two sandwich tins, and it rose quite a lot. While it tasted fantastic, it looked a mess and just didn’t hold together at all.

I’ve seen a lot of recipes that are quite firm on only using 2 eggs. I prefer three, but the eggs that I buy are only medium (they weigh around 55-60g each) so 2 might be enough if your eggs are bigger.

I’ve also seen recipes for Red Velvet Cake that call for a solid block of cream cheese. I didn’t even know that this was a thing. I use a good old soft cheese, like Philadelphia, which works fine, as long as you add enough icing sugar. You can play around and add bits more until it’s the right consistency to spread without going all over the place.

Red Velvet Cake is the perfect decadent dessert.


When I’ve got my three cakes, I use my little cake saw thing to chop the tops off, so that they are flat (love the cake saw!!). I then save these off cuts, and crumble them around the top bit of the cake, because it looks pretty. I’ve also a really messy icer, so I crumble bits around the bottom too, basically to hide the huge mess I’ve made with the cream cheese. You should see the mess that I make of my nails when I paint those. Half my arm. Honestly.

Side View Red Velvet Cake

The Recipe

Red Velvet Cake

A subtle and silky cake that’s perfect for special occasions
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Cooling time1 hr
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keyword: cake
Servings: 16 Slices
Calories: 650kcal
Author: Donna


For the Cake:

  • 120 g Butter – Plus Extra to grease tins
  • 300 g Caster Sugar
  • 3 Medium Eggs
  • 50 ml Cooking Oil
  • 20 g Cocoa
  • 1 tsp Red Food Colouring
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 1 tbsp White Vinegar
  • 350 g Plain Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • Pinch Salt
  • 250 g Buttermilk

For the Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 175 g Soft Cheese
  • 75 g Butter
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 375 g Icing Sugar


For the Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 175 degrees
  • Lightly grease three sandwich tins
  • In a small jug, mix together the oil, vanilla, red food colouring, cocoa and vinegar and set to one side
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until well mixed
  • Pour in the oil mixture and mix together well
  • Mix the flour, baking power and salt in another bowl
  • Sift half of the flour mix into the sugar and butter, and fold in
  • Fold in half of the buttermilk until the colour is even
  • Repeat with the other halves of both
  • Mix together until smooth and even
  • Evenly tip into the three tins and spread until flat and to the edges
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until cooked through
  • Remove from the oven and leave in the tins for 15 minutes
  • Tip out onto a wire rack and cool completely
  • When cool, use a sharp knife, or cake saw to gently cut any risen dome from the tops of the cakes, so that they are flat, save the cut offs to decorate. Or eat!

For the Icing:

  • Mix together the butter and soft cheese in a large mixing bowl, until soft
  • Add the vanilla and mix in well
  • Tip in the icing sugar and whip together until there are no lumps
  • If it’s too runny, add a little more sugar and mix again

To Assemble:

  • Place the bottom cake on a cake board or flat plate
  • Top with a good dollop of cream cheese, smooth out and spread to the edges
  • Add the next layer and repeat
  • Add a big dollop of cream cheese to the top and spread well
  • Spread around the outsides of the cake, using a smoothing board to smooth out and spread
  • Crumble on cake cutoffs to decorate if you want to
  • Leave to set on the side or in the fridge before serving



  • I use a red food colouring gel I got off Amazon, it’s by procook
  • You also need 3 8inch Sandwich tins, I also use a tool to smooth the icing, and a cake saw.
  • If you’ve got any cream cheese icing leftover, freeze it in a sealed and airtight container, or keep in the fridge for up to a week.

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