Red velvet cake has taken the world by storm. No matter which cupcake bakery, high end patisserie or ice cream parlor you go to, you’ll be sure to find the ubiquitous Red Velvet Cake on the menu. So, what exactly is Red Velvet Cake? Contrary to popular belief, the Red Velvet Cake is actually more than just a bottle of red food dye mixed into plain cake batter.
First made in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel (circa 1920), the now world famous Red Velvet Cake consists of a tender and moist vanilla cake batter, infused with cocoa powder, vinegar and buttermilk. The result of this grand concoction is a delicate and tender crumbed cake with hints of cocoa, all finally adorned with a generous mound of delicious Cream Cheese Icing. Is your mouth watering yet?
If you want to make your very own Red Velvet Cake, we urge you to follow this recipe. Simple, elegant and full of flavour, this is the only recipe you’ll need for a scarlet hued cake that will blow everyone out of the water.
Red Velvet Cake
- 360g cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 10g dutch cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 120g unsalted butter, softened
- 400g caster sugar
- 250 ml canola oil
- 4 large eggs
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- Red gel/liquid food colouring
- 240 ml buttermilk, room temperature
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 500g full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 170g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 400g icing sugar
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- pinch of salt, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 175°C. Grease two 9-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper.
- Whisk the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
- Add the oil, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and vinegar and beat on high for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in 2-3 additions alternating with the buttermilk. Beat in your desired amount of food coloring just until combined.
- In a clean bowl, vigorously whisk 4 egg whites on high speed until fluffy peaks form and then gently fold into cake batter. The batter will be silky and slightly thick.
- Divide batter evenly between cake pans and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Careful not to overbake as the cakes may dry out.
- Remove cakes from the oven and cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.
Make the frosting:
- In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium-high speed until smooth.
- Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes until completely combined and creamy. Frosting should be soft, but not runny.
- Using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface.
- Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with 2nd layer and spread remaining frosting all over the top and sides.
- Refrigerate cake for at least 30-60 minutes before slicing.
- Use room temperature ingredients: When everything is near the same temperature, they mix together easily, evenly, and produce a uniform texture.
- Buttermilk: Buttermilk is a key ingredient and flavor in this recipe. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own sour milk. To do so, add 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice to enough full cream milk to make 1 cup. Stir and let it sit for 5 minutes before using.
- Use Full Fat Cream Cheese: Refrain from using low fat or fat free cream cheese in the icing as this may result in a very wet and sloppy mixture that will not coat your cake nicely or set up well in the refrigerator.