All About Red Velvet Cake + Recipe

Hello everyone! This is my last recipe for you before Valentine’s Day, and I can’t think of anything that is more appropriate than red velvet cake. Red velvet cake holds a dear place in my heart because I fell in love with it when I first started working at a cupcake store waaayyyy back when I was 16. This cake is so tender and moist, it’s not as rich as a chocolate cake, but it’s also a little more interesting than plain vanilla. Now pair it with cream cheese frosting and you’ve sent me to cake heaven.


People always say this cake is all style over substance, and I do see what they mean — sometimes… depending on who made it, how it tastes, and what ingredients they used. In order to understand how this cake came to be, we need to go back in time to when it was first made. Originally, this cake was made without food colouring, and only got it’s name from the slight reddish hue it had, when the unprocessed cocoa powder reacted with the high acidity from the buttermilk and vinegar. These days, most cocoa powder is Dutch-processed, or alkalized, so copious amounts of food colouring is added for that bright, cherry red colour we associate with red velvet cake today. The “velvet” part comes from the fine crumb texture that we all know and love, also from the high acidity.
According to Food&Wine Magazine, people only started adding food colouring to red velvet in the late 1930’s in order to boost food colouring sales, which definitely makes sense for the whole “style over substance” saying. I also learned from The Culture Trip, that red velvet has been served as early as the 1800’s, but the modern cake that we are familiar with today, was first served in the Waldorf Astoria, and later in a department store in Eaton Centre, located here in Toronto (my homeeee!!!).

In my red velvet cake, I try not to add too much food colouring, but all the other ingredients are important! Also, feel free to make your own buttermilk using 1 tsp/5mL vinegar per 1 cup/250mL milk. Here is the recipe:

Red Velvet Cake

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Makes 1 8×3″ circle pan, or 2 8×2″ circle pans, or 21 cupcakes


91g (3/4 cup)  soft butter
242g (1 cup) sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
258g (2 cups) flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
190mL (3/4 cup) buttermilk
1 tbsp vinegar
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp gel red food colouring


  1. Grease and line your pans with parchment, or line your cupcake tin with liners.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar, in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, scraping the sides between each egg. Beat until pale and fluffy.
  4. Sift and whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.
  5. Combine your buttermilk, vanilla extract, vinegar and food colouring in a separate bowl or measuring cup.
  6. Add half of your flour into the butter mixture, and beat on low speed until the flour is absorbed into the butter. Be careful not to over mix. About 15 seconds.
  7. Add in your liquid ingredients and mix on low speed for another 15 seconds. The mixture should be chunky and very liquidy.
  8. Add in the rest of the dry ingredients, mixing on a low speed at first until everything starts to come together, and then beat it on high speed for 30 seconds in order to fully combine the ingredients. Hand-fold the rest of the mixture to get any butter stuck at the bottom of the bowl.
  9. Pour into prepared tins and bake for 35-45, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cupcakes bake for 20 min.
  10. Decorate with cream cheese frosting and enjoy!

Check out my video tutorial!

3 thoughts on “All About Red Velvet Cake + Recipe

  1. Pingback: Perfecting the Naked Cake – ally bakes

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