Red velvet cake

Red velvet cake

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(34 ratings)

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
Save to My Good Food
Please sign in or register to save recipes.


  • 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
    Dark chocolate soup pots with double cream in spoons

    Dark chocolate

    dahk chok-lit

    Dark chocolate means the shiny, dark-reddish brown treat produced from the cacao bean, theobroma…

  • 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 eggs



    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.

You may also like

Ads by Google

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
21st Apr, 2018
I have been making cakes since I was 12 with my mother (I'm now 52) and that is the first time I've made a totally iinedible cake. Even my son, who is a one person food pit isn't really keen on it. My wife ran to the bin when she tried it to spit it out. However, I'm glad I made it beacue it gave us all a good laugh. The beetroot taste is overwhelming and the cream won't set so it kind of slops off the side of the cake and forms an uruly pool on the plate.
Cat84's picture
3rd Jun, 2017
I used 3 tsp baking powder, 300g beetroot and no water. Turned out lovely, could still taste the beetroot slightly but didn't overpower the cake.
10th Sep, 2016
I love these comments, they're quite entertaining. I've made this recipie several times now and there is very little wrong with it. I don't understand why people are being so negative about it. Perhaps it could do with being renamed as red velvet brownie, but that's about it. It works both as a cake and cupcakes, by the way. The cake is delicious and it's pretty simple to make, however I do agree with it being a little expensive. If all you do is make sponge cakes, this is going to be a surprise, but if you've ever made any other kind of cake then it's fine. I love this and I love the results. My family and colleagues agree.
1st Jun, 2016
It was a right faff on to register, however I did so just so I could comment on this god awful receipe. I've been baking for 35yrs so I think I know a good cake when I taste one. This cake is the absolute worse thing I've ever tasted. I agree it's dense and claggy, the frosting is rediculously runny and doesn't set, it's expensive to make and a total waste of money. For those of you that changed the quantities ingredients etc, YOU havnt made this cake, follow it to the letter then you will know just how bad it tastes, disgusting, I'm amazed the bbc allow it to remain on here, proceed with caution!!!!!
11th Mar, 2016
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!!
11th Mar, 2016
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.
6th Nov, 2015
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...
1st Nov, 2015
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!!
31st Oct, 2015
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.
31st Oct, 2015
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.


17th Feb, 2014
Would you be able to do this as a giant cupcake or in one big tin? I love this cake
goodfoodteam's picture
28th Feb, 2014
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.
17th Feb, 2014
I love this cake could you do it as one in one big tin or as a giant cupcake?
10th Sep, 2016
Don't add the water! And perhaps give the cakes an extra 5 minutes.
11th Mar, 2016
use fresh beetroot and boil it yourself and then grate it. the taste is more subtle.
11th Mar, 2016
Add 2 teaspoons of baking powder in addition to the bicarb. Use a little less water. Add double cream to the icing.
14th Jun, 2015
Sarah Mac
25th Sep, 2015
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?