Tasty Thursday: Red Velvet Cake

Even though Valentine’s Day has now come and gone, I’m continuing the theme with this week’s post for Red Velvet Cake.

Red Velvet seems to be everywhere these days, and now you can make this treat in the comfort of your own kitchen.  Many people love this cake for its rich color and fancy name, but did you know…

  • Modern red velvet gets its color from red food coloring, although the color may have originally come from the chemical reaction created when acidic vinegar and buttermilk is mixed with the cocoa.  I’ve noticed this when making chocolate cake–my recipe calls for cocoa powder and vinegar, among other ingredients.  Depending on the cocoa I use, I may get a reddish tint to my cake.  Using cocoa powder that is not dutch processed (the label will tell you), which is more alkaline, will help give this color.
  • Alternatively, with food rations during World War II, many people used boiled, grated beets as a natural coloring agent for these cakes.  I would LOVE to try one of these recipes!
  • Some recipes call for cocoa, while others don’t.  The preference is entirely yours, but be warned that there’s never too much cocoa in the cake (or it will darken that bright color), usually never more than half a cup.  In fact, red velvet can’t be called a chocolate cake–with its combination of cocoa, vinegar, baking soda, and buttermilk it is, by definition, a Devil’s Food Cake.

Check out my own recipe below, you won’t be disappointed with this cake!

Red Velvet Cake

(adapted from allrecipes.com, Red Velvet Cake II)

Makes 2 8-inch cakes or 2 dozen cupcakes.


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. distilled white vinegar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

2 ounces red food coloring


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease pans and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together sugar, oil and eggs.  Add food coloring, vinegar and vanilla to the buttermilk and set aside.  Add baking soda and cocoa to the flour and set aside.  Add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately to the sugar mixture. Mix well.  Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until done.

3 thoughts on “Tasty Thursday: Red Velvet Cake

  1. I should have mentioned that I usually use the 1oz-sized bottle of red food coloring you typically find in grocery stores, and add 1oz of water to it to make the 2oz called for in the recipe. You still get a great, rich red color with less dye!


  2. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I find red velvet cake intimidating because I worry that too much dye will make it taste like…dye. It’s good to have a recipe you know will be good!!


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