A red velvet cake is one of those things that sounds like it is really sophisticated. If you’re not careful, you are left thinking that you are too much of a novice baker to be able to pull this one off.
Not to worry though, below, I’ve put together a really simplified version. Follow the steps to create the moistest and most delicious red velvet cake.
Before I baked my first red velvet cake I wondered how they got the colour so rich and inviting. I’ve since found out that what gives the great red velvet colour is cocoa powder and food colouring. Even then, I still failed to get the correct colour when I made my first one.
This is because I used the little watery food colouring that they sell in little packs in the supermarket. These colours aren’t strong enough so if you really want vibrant colours, choose this pack of food colouring instead. It will last you for years and you will never be disappointed in the colour you get. A small amount does really go a long way and it is not all that expensive considering the amount and variety of colours that you get.
So this year when my son requested a red velvet cake for his 22nd birthday, I was happy to oblige. Over the years I have used different recipes to make this red velvet cake. As a result, I have come up with a recipe that works well for me.
Reasons why I love this red velvet cake recipe
- No creaming necessary
- It only takes 25 minutes of baking time
- It always turns out moist and lasts that way for a long time
- You just need to add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix them together
The Ingredients for making this red velvet cake
(This makes 2 small cakes that can be sandwiched. Can be used for red velvet cupcakes too)
150ml vegetable oil (choose one without much flavour)
200 ml buttermilk (just add 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar to your whole milk)
280g light brown sugar (you will need much more colouring if you choose white sugar)
250g plain flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder (the real cocoa powder, not hot drink mix)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 tsp red food colouring gel
1/2 tsp salt
The method for making the red velvet cake
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Grease and line the base and sides of two round cake tins
Place the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon.
In a measuring jug or a bowl, mix the buttermilk, oil, vanilla, eggs and food colouring. Whisk until smooth
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well using the wooden spoon.. You are aiming for a bright red colour. Add more colouring gel if necessary
Pour the cake batter into the tins and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
Allow the cakes to cool in the tin for 10 to 15 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack.
Peel off the baking parchment and leave to cool completely.
A few tips for you
- I don’t know how expensive buttermilk is but it’s easier to just use what you already have at home. 200ml of milk needs about 1 tbsp of vinegar or lemon or lime juice added and you are good to go.
- If you want to use some of the cake to make a crumb for decorating the top of your cake, just use some of the cake batter to make one cupcake-sized one which you will then need to break into little crumb pieces once cooled. It will bake in less time so save it until after you’ve taken the main cakes out.
- Don’t open the oven until at least three-quarters of the baking time has gone.
If you are not up to making your own buttercream frosting, I would highly suggest just always keeping a tub of buttercream frosting at home for when you are ready to use it.
Here’s a simple recipe for buttercream if you want to give it a go, to sandwich or top your red velvet cake
125 g butter at room temperature
375 g icing sugar
175 g full-fat soft cheese (my favourite to use is Philadelphia cream cheese or mascarpone)
1/2 tsp vanilla
Put the butter in a large bowl and sift in about half of the icing sugar. Mix together with a spatula
Use a hand mixer until it is smooth. Then add the cream cheese and vanilla.
Add the rest of the icing sugar and mix together.
Use the hand mixer until you have the desired thickness.
Once the cakes are fully cooled you can go ahead and add a bit of the icing to a plate. Just add enough to stick the cake to it. Then add a heaping of the icing to the top of that cake, spread it out and add the other cake. You may want to add the rest of the frosting to the top of that. If you have made some of the cake into a crumbly texture, now is the time to sprinkle it on top.
Good luck with making your red velvet cake and we’d love to hear how you get on. Do let us know in the comment section below.
Other recipes you might like to try