Red Velvet Cake: More Than Just Added Food Coloring

Estimated read time 3 min read

People often wonder what makes a red velvet cake different from other cakes. It is not only the added food colouring that makes this cake special. It has a vanilla flavour with a hint of chocolate and an attractive deep maroon colour. You usually make a red velvet cake with cocoa powder, vanilla, and buttermilk. These ingredients react with each other and give the cake its distinctive colour. Some people use extra food colouring to enhance it. Making a red velvet cake is more straightforward than most people think it is. Read on to learn how you can wow your family and friends with the best red velvet cake they have ever tasted.

Here is what you need:

  • Unsalted butter, at room temperature – 1/2 cup or 120g
  • Caster sugar or fine white granulated sugar – 1 1/2 cups or 300g
  • Cooking oil – 1/4 cup
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder – 1 tablespoon or 10g plus one extra tablespoon for dusting
  • Red liquid food colouring – 2 1/2 tablespoons or 45ml
  • Pure vanilla extract – 2 teaspoons or 10ml
  • White vinegar – 1 tablespoon or 20ml
  • Sifted plain cake flour (or all-purpose flour) – 2 1/2 cups or 350g
  • Baking soda (Bi-carb soda) – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – 1 teaspoon
  • Buttermilk – 1 cup or 250ml

Best red velvet cake

Prepare the following for the frosting:

  • Cream cheese (not spreadable), at room temperature – 14 ounces or 400g
  • Unsalted butter, at room temperature – 1/2 cup or 120g
  • Pure vanilla extract – 2 teaspoons
  • Confectioners sugar (or icing sugar) – 4 cups
  • Lemon juice (optional) – 1 tablespoon

Now, let us begin with the cake. Heat the oven to 350°F or 175°C and then use butter or nonstick oil spray to grease two 8-inch cake pans. Dust them with one tablespoon of the sifted cocoa powder. Next, cream butter and sugar together until the colour becomes light. Add eggs one at a time. Make sure you beat well after adding each one. In a smaller bowl, mix the oil with the remaining cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla. Mix until the mixture becomes smooth. Stir the colour mixture and vinegar through the creamed sugar mixture. They must combine well. In another bowl, sift salt, flour, and baking soda. Add half of the non-wet ingredients to the ingredients that are wet, and then half of the buttermilk. Mix well and repeat with the other dry ingredients and buttermilk. Divide batter into the two prepared pans and bake them for thirty minutes. Insert a toothpick into the centre to check. If it comes out clean, then you can already cool it on a wire rack.

To make the cream cheese frosting, beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Continue until it becomes smooth and lighter in colour. Then beat in icing sugar. It will make the frosting light and fluffy. Mix in the lemon juice if you want.

Now you can assemble the cake! Transfer one cake on a plate. Trim the top dome off and scoop one to two cups of frosting onto the cake. Spread it thoroughly before placing the second layer of cake. Then use the remaining filling and cover the top and sides of the cake. Crumble the trimmed pieces of cake to decorate. You can now share it with your family and friends!

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