Have you discovered the vibrant joy of red velvet cake, the quintessential Southern cake for festive occasions, and one of the defining foods of the last century no less.
Stack the sponge layers high, and cover with lashings of stunning, white creamy-smooth cheese frosting for maximum 'wow' effect, and you'll be crowned chief cake-maker for birthdays to come.
What is Red Velvet Cake?
A beautiful bright-red layered sponge cake with a smooth and velvety consistency, a moist and tender crumb with a slightly acidic taste, and a hint of chocolate offset by the stunning white colour of the cheese frosting. In all, the perfect celebration cake.
Why is Red Velvet Cake Red?
In times past, red velvet cake was given its soft pink hue by the cocoa powder reacting with buttermilk and vinegar.
These days, food colouring is considered more reliable, if not garish. Or, you could try going down another natural dye route, and use beetroot instead.
Where does Red Velvet Cake come from?
This impressive layer cake comes stacked with history and is said to date back to the early 1900s, in the United States, where it was served in The Waldorf Astoria Hotel restaurant.
The recipe for red velvet cake finally debuted in The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer in 1943.
These days, the red velvet cake, like the New York Cheesecake, is one of the most popular American sweets in the United States.
What are the ingredients for Red Velvet Cake?
Popular ingredients in red velvet cake include;
- Vanilla bean
- Liquid red food colouring
- Bitter cocoa powder
- Natural whole white yogurt
- 00 flour
- Baking powder
- White wine vinegar
How to make the sponge for red velvet cake
Cream the butter and caster sugar together in a stand mixer until really pale and light, then add beaten eggs and vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients to the bowl in batches, alternating with the red buttermilk, mixing until well combined.
Divide between prepared tins and bake for 20–25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
How to make the icing
To make the frosting, simply beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Gradually add the honey or maple syrup to taste.
Add the vanilla and mix until smooth.
How to make red velvet cake
Watch how a red velvet cake is made from scratch the old fashioned way in this tried and trusted traditional red velvet recipe from the Joy of Baking.
How to make a modern red velvet cake
Want a modern upgrade? Check out this recipe from Preppy Kitchen for a wonderful moist fluffy sponge topped off with a crown of buttercream roses.
The vinegar is the magic ingredient that makes all the difference - acid reacts with the leavening agents to give you an altogether fluffier cake.
How to make red velvet cheesecake
If you've mastered the traditional red velvet cake, why not mix it up by taking on this amazing cheesecake recipe - beautifully light red velvet sponge sandwiched together with a generous filling and topped with a sweet cream cheese frosting.
Best Red Velvet Recipes
From red velvet cookies to red velvet cinnamon rolls, red velvet truffles and red velvet cheesecake truffles, fulfil all your red velvet fantasies in the whistle-stop recipe tour from Tasty in the video below.
Being a romantic shade of red, the red velvet cake naturally lends itself to valentine's day as well. Try these easy red velvet cupcakes with redcurrants, perfect for a romantic snack or dessert.
Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
Try out that red velvet magic on these whoopie pies in our red velvet whoopie pie recipe