Red velvet cake

Red velvet cake

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(28 ratings)


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Cooking time

Cook: 30 mins Prep 1 hr 10 mins + cooling

Skill level

Moderately easy


Serves 12

A beautiful chocolate sponge with buttercream icing - perfect for a romantic evening

Nutrition and extra info

  • Sponges can be frozen before assembling
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving

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  • few sweets to decorate, we used jelly hearts from a sweet shop (optional)

For the sponges

  • 250g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 200g dark chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 500g plain flour
  • 500g golden caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 200g natural yogurt
  • 400g cooked beetroot in natural juices (not vinegar)
  • 4 tbsp or 2 x 28ml bottle red food colouring (optional- a natural liquid colouring will not work; we used Scarlett Langdale)

For the frosting

  • 200g full-fat soft cheese, at room temperature
  • 250g butter, softened
  • 400g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

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  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Make the first batch of sponges by greasing and lining 2 x 20cm round tins. Gently melt half the butter and chocolate together in a saucepan. Mix half the flour, sugar, cocoa, bicarb and ¼ tsp salt in a large mixing bowl. Whizz one egg and half the yogurt and beetroot in a food processor or blender until fairly smooth. Put the kettle on.
  2. Tip the beetroot mix into the dry ingredients along with the melted chocolate mixture and 150ml boiling water, then stir to combine. Stir in half the food colouring, if using, and divide the mixture between the tins. Bake for 25 mins until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cakes on a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 to make 2 more sponges or if you're lucky enough to have 4 x 20cm sandwich tins you can bake in a big batch all at once.
  4. To make the frosting, briefly beat together the soft cheese and butter, then beat in the icing sugar and vanilla. Use a little to sandwich the cooled cakes together, then swirl the rest all over the sandwiched cakes and decorate with sweets, if you like. Sit the cake somewhere cool (not the fridge) to set a little before serving.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, February 2012

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Show comments
smason1992's picture

I was really disappointed with this recipe! Was feeling adventurous and wanted to make a red velvet cake for my friends birthday as it is her favourite. I love the BBc Good Food website and get most of my recipes from here so I was really excited to try this one! I followed the ingredients as stated in the recipe and the suggested cooking time. When the cooking time was up the knife I used didn't come clean so I left it in the oven for about another 10 minutes before the knife was clean! I cooled my cakes and left on a wire rack etc. Even when the cakes were completely cooled I could actually scrunch the cake into solid balls! I get that Red Velvet is supposed to be moist but I'm guessing not this moist and dense! It has gone straight in the bin!
Like I say very disappointed, lots of money and time wasted. Luckily I have a few ingredients in the cupboard so a good old fashioned sponge is in the oven for my friend! However if there is one thing this recipe has taught me ------ read the comments before experimenting!!

l-isqof's picture

I agree with below comments - too much beetroot and especially way too much butter in frosting recipe. It ruined my frosting, coming out as a yellow mush.

Tastes decent, but not the best recipe, for sure...

BigBakingDad's picture
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I made this for the first time tonight,followed the recipe closely was absolutely amazing!!!! Moist,chocolatey lovelyness. Not a hint of beetroot taste, just smooth deliciousness.
5 stars! Thanks for a fab recipe.

Sarah Mac's picture

What do you think about the other comments on here?
I'm looking for a red velvet cake recipe and unsure which to go for now
I kinda thought it had beetroot in as the norm but recipes vary quite a lot.
I wanted to make this for my mums birthday.

SelenaGomez's picture

Very disappointed ! As it has so much ingredients , it costs a LOT of money which ended up to be a waste anyway . It has way to much beetroot in it which makes it taste awful . There is also too much water and food colouring . I would never ever use this recipe again OR recommend this to anyone I like !!!! I ended up throwing the whole cake away .. Even the dogs rejected it !

dolleryc's picture

I've made this cake twice and agree with the comment below, it didn't rise and come out far too much like a brownie. It also tastes too much of beetroot and doesn't taste sweet enough but then you're hit with it. I'm not on the hunt for another red velvet recipe as this one just sadly doesn't work even after the second attempt using half the water suggested.

ardnaxela09's picture
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A bit of a disaster I followed the recipe to the T and unfortunately it fell apart. The butter icing was too watery and the cake which was for an 18th is heading for the to buy one! My first cake disaster.

mimi19836's picture

The best Red Velvet recipe i've come across is the Hummingbird one. works every time.

Reena_p90's picture

Don't make this! Red Online has the Hummingbird Bakery's recipe, which is fantastic.

Luckily I made a quarter of the amount for testing purposes only. This still made eight cupcakes!! Though 7 and a half went in the bin. They were way too wet, even with a fraction of the hot water!! They tasted a little too much like bestroot but the weird thing is when you bite, they taste as though they don't have enough sugar then you swallow and wait and then wham, sweetness! They did have a nice red colour though but that's the best thing they had going for them.
Please don't waste your time, money or effort!

Sairbake's picture

Very disappointed with this recipe. Followed it to the letter but the cakes did not rise. It's expensive too. The sponge is also very dense. Not recommended

dianalaker's picture

I've now made this cake twice and each time it's been an absolute winner, very moist and looks and tastes wonderful! :) I'd definitely give this cake 5 stars.

meldorado's picture

I made this with 2 thirds amount as it seemed to much ingredients bit it was still huge! Very tasty though.. Can't taste the beetroot... Not a vast amount in it really. Disappointed that its not red!! Put paste food colouring in but the chocolate colour overpower it. The icing is lush

taniachat's picture
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Made this for the first time today, used half the ingredients as looked massive! Absolutely delicious! Everyone loved it! Couldnt taste the beetroot at all, just made the cake very moist! Will defo make this again!

jeanieh's picture

I've made this a few times for Valentine's day, and for a couple birthdays as well. Always goes done fanastically. Probably one of the tastiest cakes ever. Very moist and delicious. A firm favourite!

aboogie's picture

YUM... i used 1/2 the amount of beetwoot and it came out perfect....myboyfrend luved it

aboogie's picture

YUM... i used 1/2 the amount of beetwoot and it came out perfect....myboyfrend luved it

eaparker's picture

This cake is INCREDIBLE!!! It does taste slightly of beetroot and yes it is expensive. But I didnt have one negative comment. It didn't come out solid for me either, though it is huge!!! Yummy yummy yummy, have been asked to make it over and over again!

hannah_belle_09's picture

Just made this cake. First off it is not easy on the pocket as there are lots of ingredients! Overall it is quite straightforward to make but it really is a HUGE cake. I think it would be better to halve it and just make two layers. It tastes alright but once you have left it to cool it comes out like a brick! Totally solid - not at all like the fluffy bright red sponge I was hoping for! I would also agree that is has quite an earthy taste due to the beetroot. Will not be making it again as will try and find a beetroot free version to satisfy my red velvet cravings.

ravi2maria's picture

The cake looked fab but the beetroot taste was definitely overpowering. Would have liked the sponge layers to be lighter in consistency as well. Used a layer of fondant over the cream cheese icing.

humbertpico's picture
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I did this cake a few times as it became one of my boyfriend's favorites. The sponges are very moist thanks to the beetroot which also add an interesting taste to the cake, in a good way :) Great way to impress your Valentin!