Red velvet cake served on a cake stand

Red velvet cake

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(51 ratings)

Prep: 1 hr, 5 mins Cook: 1 hr Plus cooling

More effort

Serves 18 - 20

Bake a modern classic with this fabulous red velvet cake. With a light chocolatey flavour and bright red sponge, it’s both delicious and gorgeous to look at

Nutrition and extra info

  • Sponges only

Nutrition: per serving (20)

  • kcal656
  • fat31g
  • saturates11g
  • carbs86g
  • sugars66g
  • fibre1g
  • protein6g
  • salt1.5g
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Ingredients

    For the sponges

    • 300ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
    • 500g plain flour
    • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
    • 4 tsp baking powder
      Baking powder

      Baking powder

      bay-king pow-dah

      Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

    • 2 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-…

    • 560g light brown soft sugar
    • 1 tsp fine salt
    • 400ml buttermilk
      Buttermilk pancake mixture in bowl with whisk

      Buttermilk

      buh-ter-mill-k

      There are two types of buttermilk. Traditional buttermilk is a thin, cloudy, slightly tart but…

    • 4 tsp vanilla extract
    • 30ml red food colouring gel (we used Dr Oetker – a natural liquid colouring will not work)
    • 4 large eggs
      Eggs

      Egg

      egg

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

    For the icing

    • 250g pack slightly salted butter, at room temperature
      Butter

      Butter

      butt-err

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

    • 750g icing sugar
    • 350g tub full-fat cream cheese
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract

    Method

    1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line the base and sides of two 20cm cake tins with baking parchment – if your cake tins are quite shallow, line the sides to a depth of at least 5cm.

    2. Put 250g flour, 1 tbsp cocoa powder, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 280g light brown soft sugar and 1 tsp salt in a bowl and mix well. If there are any lumps in the sugar, squeeze these through your fingers to break them up.

    3. Mix 200ml buttermilk, 150ml oil, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 100ml water and 15ml food colouring in a jug. Add 2 eggs and whisk until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until well combined. Pour the cake mixture evenly into the two tins, and bake for 25-30 mins, or until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tins for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack, peel off the baking parchment and leave to cool.

    4. Repeat steps 1 and 2, so that you have four sponge cakes in total. These sponges can be made up to three days ahead and will stay moist if wrapped in cling film, or you can wrap well and freeze for up to two months.

    5. To make the icing, put the butter in a large bowl and sieve in half the icing sugar. Roughly mash together with a spatula, then whizz with a hand mixer until smooth. Add the cream cheese and vanilla, sieve in the remaining icing sugar, mash together again, then blend once more with the hand mixer.

    6. To assemble the cake, stick one of your sponges to a cake stand or board with a little of the cream cheese icing. Use roughly half the icing to stack the remaining cakes on top, spreading a generous amount between each layer. Pile the remaining icing on top of the assembled cake, and use a palette knife to ease it over the edges, covering the entire surface of the cake. Tidy the plate with a piece of kitchen paper. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days, but bring back to room temperature for an hour or so before eating.

      This recipe was refreshed in July 2018 based on user feedback. For the original recipe, see our beetroot cake.

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    Comments, questions and tips

    Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
    naj72
    11th Mar, 2016
    3.05
    I read the reviews whilst actually making this cake and thought... eek...how 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
    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...
    smason1992
    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!!
    yumyumlalala
    31st Oct, 2015
    1.05
    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
    31st Oct, 2015
    1.05
    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.
    josephmercieca
    29th Jun, 2015
    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
    22nd Jun, 2015
    5.05
    I made this for the first time tonight,followed the recipe closely and..........it was absolutely amazing!!!! Moist,chocolatey lovelyness. Not a hint of beetroot taste, just smooth deliciousness. 5 stars! Thanks for a fab recipe.
    Sarah Mac
    25th Sep, 2015
    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
    14th Jun, 2015
    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
    12th Jun, 2015
    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.

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