Moist red velvet cake recipe is going to be one of your favourite special occasion cakes of all times. Why??? because it tastes absolutely amazing, it has a special occasion appearance and most of all has a cream cheese frosting!!! so who doesn’t love red velvet cake???
I remember when red velvet cake was first introduced to Sri Lanka, I was working at Hilton Colombo and everyone went gangbusters over this cake!!!! every engagement party, Homecoming party had red velvet cake especially because it was red in colour because that’s the colour theme of many engagement and homecoming occasions. I have to confess even my engagement party cake was red velvet hahaha
I have to admit though I have had some horrible red velvet cakes in my life, and if you tried red velvet cake for the first time and put off by it, trust me. Try making this recipe and you will love it and have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner!! it’s that good!!!
This cake is quite expensive to make, due to the fact that it uses cream cheese and buttermilk, so to make it cost-effectively many people take a short cut and use substitutions which directly affects the taste of the cake.
What is red velvet cake?
Most of the people ask is red velvet cake just chocolate cake with red colouring!!! hah hahaha basically yes, but there is more depth to that answer, yes cocoa powder is used as a flavouring and red colouring is used to get the colour, but there are slight tangy notes coming through the cake that’s because of the buttermilk used. Also, the chocolate taste is quite mild. and there is a reason why its called velvet because the texture is quite velvety. If you put a chocolate cake and red velvet cake in front and try to taste the difference blindfolded, you can definitely differentiate both cakes.
Red velvet cake in Australia?
This cake has originated in the United States. It’s very popular in the states and Europe, but in Australia, although you get it in many bakeries and supermarkets its not that popular like in other countries, so many recipes out on the internet will have ingredients that are not available in Australia, like cake flour, well that’s a lie, you can find cake flour, but it’s not very popular here in Australia. But the recipe I am about to give has all ingredients that you can find in Austalia and I am sure you can find them in all other countries as well.
What flavour is red velvet
Cocoa powder is used as a flavouring and red colouring is used to get the colour, but there are slight tangy notes coming through the cake, also its frosted with cream cheese, which gives a mixture of sweet, tangy, slightly chocolaty and creamy flavour.
Cream cheese frosting for red velvet cake
The most common frosting used on red velvet cake is cream cheese frosting. This is going to be a tricky part of the recipe depending from country to country due to the varieties of cream cheese available in each country, the texture of the frosting will vary a lot. I will point out below which cream cheese needs to be used to get the proper frosting texture.
Red velvet cake ingredients
Cake flour: Now many countries have cake flour widely available not in Australia, it is very important to use cake flour for this cake, as that’s how you will get a perfectly moist velvety smooth crumb texture. Cake flour basically has more gluten in it which helps cakes to be moist and soft. If you cannot find cake flour substitute All-purpose flour, take out 2 tbsp of flour from it and add 2 tbsp cornflour into it to make cake flour, I have also given this calculation below in the recipe.
Buttermilk; Buttermilk like my moist chocolate cake recipe makes the cake moist, so its essential to use buttermilk. I don’t recommend to make buttermilk from scratch for this particular recipe, I urge you all to buy buttermilk. First, because I don’t believe the same texture is achieved when made with buttermilk that is made from scratch. Secondly, many of you had problems to make buttermilk properly for my chocolate cake recipe, which resulted in a dense cake, so as buttermilk is a crucial part of this recipe, if you all can buy it when making this recipe, it will come out perfect.
Red colouring: Now this is a crucial part of the recipe too. you may be wondering well it’s just red colouring, believe me, I had to remake this cake as the colouring was not strong enough which resulted in the cake being brown and not red. Make sure to use a good quality colouring as some red colouring is not intense enough so how much you put into it will not make it red.
Why did my red velvet cake turn brown
I had to make this cake 3 times to get the perfect cake, and one time the cake turned brown and not red, that’s because I used a bad quality red colouring and the quantity I put in was clearly not sufficient, therefore use a good food colouring as you will only need about 2-3 tbsp to get the perfect colour. Remember due to the cocoa powder, the cake will turn brown, but it is with the red colouring that you will get it back to a red colour as the cake is meant to be. You will be adding heaps of more colouring than you would add to a normal cake.
Cream cheese frosting too runny
The brand and type of cream cheese used is very essential in this recipe, I recommend Philadelphia, actually, that’s the only cream cheese I use for any of my cream cheese-based desserts or cakes. Only use blocked cream cheese, if you use the spreadable, believe me, it will turn runny and cannot use to decorate the cake. If this happens, instantly put it in the fridge and leave it for 30 minutes, then add a bit more icing sugar but it’s going to be so hard to work with the icing once it is too runny.
Why is cream cheese frosting too stiff
First time I made the cream cheese frosting it came out stiff and hard to pipe or spread, when this happens, make sure to mix the frosting for about 3 minutes to get it to soften and add a bit of milk to loosen it up. This usually happens if the cream cheese was not soft enough or the butter was not soft enough. But if it is too softened it will be runny. See!!! it’s a tricky frosting, but don’t worry, my step by step guide will help you.
How to decorate red velvet cake?
Usually, the cream cheese frosting can be applied all over and the offcuts of the red velvet cake can be grated to a fine crumb to apply on the sides as decorations but I have left sides of my cake empty, just sandwiched it with the cream cheese icing and piped the icing on the top ( see video)
More cake recipes you should try
- Best Moist Chocolate Cake With Buttermilk
- Best Sri Lankan Ribbon Cake-Hilton Style
- Sri Lankan Butter Cake
- Triple Chocolate Swiss Roll With Buttercream And Ganache
- Super Fudge Brownies In 15 Minutes
Watch how to make moist red velvet cake
Step by Step recipe how to make moist red velvet cake
Moist Red Velvet cake Australia
- Cake mixer
Red Velvet cake
- 345 g Cake flour ( Refer to notes below on how to make cake flour with all purpose flour)
- 1 tsp Baking soda Bicarbonate soda
- 1 tbsp Cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt Table
- 115 g Butter Unsalted
- 350 g White sugar
- 240 ml Oil Vegetable, Canola, sunflower oil
- 2 Eggs
- 1 tbsp Vanilla essence
- 2 1/2 tbsp Red colouring
- 240 ml Buttermilk ( Refer to notes for substitutions)
Cream cheese frosting
- 200 g Cream cheese
- 60 g Butter Unsalted& soften
- 1 tsp Vanilla essence
- 225 g Soft icing sugar
- Preheat oven to 180C, Line 1 round 24cm baking tray with oil paper on the bottom.
Step 1 ( Flour mix)
- In a large bowl, sieve flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder and leave aside
Step 2 (Cake batter)
- In a cake mixer cream butter and sugar together, gradually add the eggs, oil, vanilla, vinegar, buttermilk , red colouring
- Then add the flour Mix ( step 1 ) and reduce speed or fold it by hand
- Pour the mixture into the prepared lined tray
- Bake in the oven for 180C for 25-30 mins until fully baked
- Take off the oven, let it cool down completely before taking it out of the trays, let it cool down on wire racks (The cake will be super moist and crumbly if it is too hard to handle, leave in the fridge to harden up)
Cream cheese icing
- Place the softened butter & cream cheese in the cake mixer with the whisk attachment and mix until soft and creamy
- Add the icing sugar, vanilla and whisk further for 1 minute. Check consistency and use the icing to decorate the cake as you wish.