Red velvet cake

Cook: 30 mins Prep 1 hr 10 mins + cooling

More effort

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: per serving

  • kcal656
  • fat37g
  • saturates23g
  • carbs75g
  • sugars61g
  • fibre1g
  • protein5g
  • salt0.8g
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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



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 200g dark chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 500g plain flour
  • 500g golden caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is an alkali which is used to raise soda breads and full-…

  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 large egg



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 200g natural yogurt
  • 400g cooked beetroot in natural juices (not vinegar)



    A favourite in 1970's British salads (served cooked and pickled in vinegar), beetroot is a…

  • 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



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 400g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  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.

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Comments (53)

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

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!

solconnor's picture

If you want to make a real red velvet cake google one with buttercream in the recipe. Best cake I ever made. Took 3 goes though as first two came out blue (honest) when using normal food colouring. You need red food colouring PASTE/GEL, it comes out really really red!

love-food123456789's picture

I'm not fussy but the picture for this is very deceiving. When I made mine it looked fine although a bit tall but it tasted absolutely awful. We followed this recipe exactly but with less beetroot yet the taste was so strong. I would not recommend making this cake at all as you will have to chuck it like me!!! A waste of 4 hours and my money.

georgia-grace's picture

So disappointing spent ages making it and when done it was far too stodgy,moist and the flavour from the beetroot was so overpowering. I'm left with an enormous cake which no one will eat! Do not make this cake.

debrat's picture

Lovely cake.. I've made diff choc beetroot cakes before and sometimes I can taste the beet and sometimes not, so to be safe I used 50g less beetroot and 3 medium eggs. It got lots of thumbs up. Also I only had 23 cm tins and although they came out fairly thin by the time 4 were piled up it was pretty substantial!!

tasnuvaanwer's picture


Really wanted to make a red velvet cake and this is the only one showing after the search. I am thinking of using white chocolate instead and reduce the amount of beetroot. Any thoughts?


3485_fox's picture

i loved this cake i found that the if you used a strong (high percentage) dark chocolate it covers the taste of the beetroot almost 100%

hanny16's picture

This tasted amazing, I was so pleased with it. Four layers is a bit much though, I only used three and it was still a monster cake. The beetroot also really needs to be put in a food processor- I tried putting it in chunks in the mixer and then mashing it with a potato masher which was quite messy. Also the sponges needed to be in the oven for about 10 minutes longer than stated. However, good cake and recipe. I will definitely be making it again!

neverley's picture

I've not made this recipe yet, but have found two other recipes that do not use beetroot at all. Look on BBC Food under Red Velvet Cake

sarahlovesbaking's picture

I used half the amount of beetroot due to previuos comments and it was fine. Made it for a charity event and everyone loved it. Disappointed that is wasn't more red, hence the name! Should I leave out the cocoa powder next time?

sparkle487's picture

horrible, stongy. sickley

soullessfire's picture

Unfortunately I can taste the beetroot in the finished cake. Even the sweet, creamy frosting just doesn't mask it for me. It's a fairly strong taste that is masking the chocolate taste too. If I made it again, I'd use half the beetroot and maybe put another egg in to lighten it up as it is a fairly stodgy consistency and I prefer my cakes to be more spongey.
(No I didn't use picked beets. I ate the 2 spare beets from the pack so I'm sure of that, in fact they tasted fairly sweet so I was pretty hopeful)

goodycool's picture

I am intrigued as the cake looks stunning, but I am concerned about the beetroot comments. Guys, are you sure you didn't mistakenly use vinegar preserved beetroot?

debbieknight123's picture

Beautiful cake I read comments above and reduced amount of beet root by 50g, I baked in two v large tins then sliced each cake in half, kitchen looks like there has been an explosion, next time I will bake in 4 Tins they took over an hour in the 2 large tins cake is lovely as is cream cheese I ran out of frosting but probably becoz I baked in wrongs tin but really lovely cake


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