Red velvet cake

Red velvet cake

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(29 ratings)

Cook: 30 mins Prep 1 hr 10 mins + cooling

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: 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, 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

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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.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (51)

naj72's picture

forgot to say, i found the beetroot taste comments very unexpected as we couldn't taste it at all... maybe because i used fresh beetroot that i boiled and grated myself. yum!!

naj72's picture

I read the reviews whilst actually making this cake and thought... do i salvage this?? I noticed the comments about the overly dense sponge and excessive amount of water. so... i added 2 tsp of baking powder to try to lift it a little, and probably reduced the water by a third. I was concerned anyway about the use of plain flour, so took a risk changing the recipe. By the way, I also used milk chocolate to suit my daughter's palate. The result was beyond delicious! The sponges did crumble and crack a little when removed from the tin, so the presentation was a little more rustic than intended, but the cake was just so delicious. the cracking was nothing that the icing couldn't remedy and the sponge cut beautifully when chilled. i decided to refrigerate this cake as i also varied the icing recipe by adding double cream to the cream cheese and icing sugar. this made for a fluffier and less sweet icing than usual cream cheese frosting.

imorris86's picture

Followed this recipe and its awful sponges are way too heavy and claggy. The icing tastes and looks like thick custard. Need to find a new recipe as its meant to be a birthday cake...

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!!

yumyumlalala's picture

My comment was deleted. Maybe too in depth a critique. It's a very pricey cake for a very poor return in taste and texture. Find an alternative recipe.

yumyumlalala's picture

Though this great is great if you intend to make a massive cake it fails on pretty much every other level. The beetroot is overpowering, definitely halve it the amount. The amount of chocolate is pricey and because of the beetroot is completely undetectable. It's also a very wet mixture (you do not need the water) so took forever to bake. Lastly, not remotely red. Absolutely gutted. Hopefully I can salvage it somewhat by not making the icing recipe stated here and pulling out some serious decorating skills. Avoid and go with the Hummingbird recipe.

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

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

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

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


Questions (3)

Pumpdkin's picture

Would you be able to do this as a giant cupcake or in one big tin? I love this cake

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, thanks for getting in touch - great to hear you love the recipe so much! In this case, we'd recommend sticking to the original recipe as the cooking time hasn’t been tested for a giant cupcake or in one tin.

Pumpdkin's picture

I love this cake could you do it as one in one big tin or as a giant cupcake?

Tips (4)

naj72's picture

use fresh beetroot and boil it yourself and then grate it. the taste is more subtle.

naj72's picture

Add 2 teaspoons of baking powder in addition to the bicarb.
Use a little less water.
Add double cream to the icing.

SelenaGomez's picture


Sarah Mac's picture

To much beetroot why not adjust the ingredients a little, this isn't an overly expensive cake to make!?
I thought these had beetroot in as the norm. recipes vary a lot. I'll have to pick one and hope for the best.
Why didn't you post some recipes you do like?

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