Red Velvet Cake Challenge


This month for “The Cake Slice Bakers” blogging group, we selected the classic southern “Red Velvet Cake”. I was so excited about baking this classic cake, since it is one of my all-time favorites. My family loves this cake so much, that our daughter also chose a red velvet cake for her wedding cake. It was utterly divine and perfect in every way! We purchased her wedding cake from a local woman who happens to be one of the top 10 American cake decorating bakers . . . and oddly enough she lives in our teeny, tiny town! I’ve never asked her for the baking secrets of her red velvet cake since she’s a professional business woman and I’m fairly certain that the recipe is proprietary and confidential. I love this cake so much that I’ve clipped and saved at least 25 recipes to try, yet never have conquered the challenge of baking and comparing any of them.
So my hopes were very high for this cake recipe, and yet sadly, were not met in this version. In my opinion, red velvet cake needs to be a very dark red color and this cake was not that deep, deep red that I prefer. So I would definitely add more red food coloring to this recipe. The cake was also not as chocolate-y, nor as rich, nor as moist and dense as I’d like. For that I’d add more chocolate, butter and even more sugar.
Since my husband can’t eat coconut, I used the author’s cream cheese recipe instead. The recipe in her cookbook for cream cheese icing was totally inedible to both myself and my husband. There’s far too much cream cheese included which soured the icing and too much vanilla. So I made my own cream cheese frosting recipe that I use for my Zucchini Cake, which is sweet and buttery, with no cream cheese sourness and aftertaste.
Because I’ve been focusing on my weight since the first of the year, I chose to bake cupcakes instead of a full cake. And I’m so glad that I did, since each cupcake plus icing is approximately 420 calories according to my calorie counter that I refer to on the Web. So I have only half of a cupcake.
So with no further critique, here is the recipe from “Southern Cakes” by Nancie McDermott


Adding the egg to sugar-butter mixture

Mix well with beaters
Mix the red dye with cocoa

Blend the cocoa-red dye mixture in with the cupcake batter.

Blend flour with red mixture

Mix well again

Pour into cupcake liners

Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes

Cool cupcakes completely

Prepare cream cheese icing

ice the cupcakes (heavily!)
Red Velvet Cake Challenge
  • 2½ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk (see note below)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp red food colouring
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • What you'll need to make Roz's Cream Cheese Icing:
  •  2 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ stick unsalted butter
  • 1 small 3 oz. package cream cheese
  • 1 tsp. butter flavoring
  1. Heat the oven to 350F.
  2. Line cupcake pan with paper cupcake liners.
  3. Prepare three separate mixtures for the batter.
  4. Combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl and use a fork to mix them together well. Combine the cocoa powder and the red food colouring in a small bowl, mashing and stirring them together to make a thick smooth paste.
  5. In a large bowl, beat the butter with a mixer at low speed for 1 minute until creamy and soft. Add the sugar and then beat well for 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl now and then.
  6. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each one until the mixture is creamy, fluffy and smooth.
  7. Scrape the cocoa-food colouring paste into the batter and beat to mix it in evenly.
  8. Add a third of the flour mixture, half the milk, beating the batter with a mixer at low speed.
  9. Mix only enough to make the flour or liquid disappear into the batter.
  10. Mix in another ⅓ of flour, the rest of the milk and then the last of the flour in the same way.
  11. In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and vinegar and stir well.
  12. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix this mixture into the red batter, folding gently by hand.
  13. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans.
  14. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes until the cupcakes spring back when touched lightly in the centers.
  15. Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks or folded kitchen towels for 15 minutes.
  16. Turn them out onto the racks to cool completely.
And in the meantime, I’m going to continue my search for that perfect Red Velvet Cake, so if any of you kind bloggers and readers can recommend a great recipe for this awesome cake, I would greatly appreciate it and try it!
Seriously, if you have a ‘to die for’ recipe for Red Velvet Cake, I would so appreciate it if you could share it with me!
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  1. says

    I don’t know… that one looks pretty perfect to me! I never got around to making & posting my Mama’s red velvet cake, though I did plan to. Trying not to eat too many sweets and fats right now – as she eyes that 6 pound tin of chocolates my sis sent me for Christmas!! But I’ll get around to baking it one day.

  2. says

    OK, I like Red Velvet Cake…my friend hates it and we have been on the lookout for a great recipe. I have one from Southern Living that I like…I am going to compare it. I found another that has more cocoa..hmmm the red velvet conundrum continues…
    Holly @ 504 Main

  3. says

    ciao ! I’m sorry you weren’t satisfied with it at all ! I liked it ( I halved the recipe but forgot to half the cocoa colourant part !)I found it very moist and rich !!

  4. says

    I can’t really rate this recipe since I have no comparison but my overall impression was not to bake this recipe again. Your cupcakes look beautiful- the red and white colors were a lot of fun to photograph! Let me know if you find a winning Red Velvet recipe I would like to give this cake another shot.

  5. says

    I’m sorry you didn’t really care for this cake. I however LOVED it!
    I thought it was very moist and rich and sweet enough as the cream cheese icing I used was sweet. so good!

    But if you say that your daughters cake was even better, then I want to try it!

  6. says

    Sorry to hear you didn’t like this cake. At least it LOOKS good. I’ve never tasted a good red velvet cake, and the big attraction has always seemed to be the food coloring. I just came across a red velvet cake recipe from a baker I really trust. I haven’t tried that specific recipe, but all her other cakes are so amazing, that you should give it a try. The recipe is in Rose’s Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum. She has won many awards for her baking books.

  7. Anonymous says

    I’ve made two recipes of red velvet cupcakes and the winner was from the Nestle website. Grated chocolate in the cupcakes makes for a rcher chocolate taste and more moist cupcake. Give it a try!

  8. Anonymous says

    THE BEST RED VELVET RECIPE IS PAULA DEANS! Trust me on this…I’ve tried at least 10 recipes. Everyone raves!

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