Red velvet cake served on a cake stand

Red velvet cake

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(82 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. This chocolatey sponge is perfect for a celebration, or halve for smaller crowd

Nutrition and extra info

  • sponges only
  • Easily halved

Nutrition: per serving (20)

  • kcal656
  • fat31g
  • saturates11g
  • carbs86g
  • sugars66g
  • fibre1g
  • protein6g
  • salt1.5g
Save to My Good Food
Please sign in or register to save recipes.


    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



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

    • 4 tsp vanilla extract
    • 30ml red food colouring gel or about ¼ tsp food colouring paste, (use a professional food colouring paste if you can, a natural liquid colouring will not work and may turn the sponge green)
    • 4 large eggs



      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 is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

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


    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. The cake mixture should be bright red, it will get a little darker as it cooks. If it’s not as vivid as you’d like, add a touch more colouring. 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 soft 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 soft 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.

    You may also like

    Comments, questions and tips

    Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
    3rd Feb, 2014
    YUM... i used 1/2 the amount of beetwoot and it came out perfect....myboyfrend luved it
    3rd Feb, 2014
    YUM... i used 1/2 the amount of beetwoot and it came out perfect....myboyfrend luved it
    30th Jun, 2013
    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!
    12th Jun, 2013
    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.
    2nd May, 2013
    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.
    26th Jan, 2013
    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!
    22nd Jan, 2013
    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!
    13th Jan, 2013
    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.
    9th Jan, 2013
    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.
    11th Nov, 2012
    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!!


    Be the first to ask a question about this recipe...Unsure about the cooking time or want to swap an ingredient? Ask us your questions and we’ll try and help you as soon as possible. Or if you want to offer a solution to another user’s question, feel free to get involved...
    Be the first to suggest a tip for this recipe...Got your own twist on this recipe? Or do you have suggestions for possible swaps and additions? We’d love to hear your ideas.
    Want to receive regular food and recipe web notifications from us?