Rachel Allen's red velvet cake

(67 ratings)

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Red velvet cake recipe
Red velvet cake recipe
  • Serves: 10-12

  • Prep time:

  • Cooking time:

    (plus cooling and setting time)
  • Total time:

  • Skill level: Easy peasy

  • Costs: Cheap as chips

Learn how to make red velvet cake with our classic red velvet cake recipe from Rachel Allen. A rich red sponge topped with a cool white frosting is an impressive cake choice for any occasion. This easy recipe will take around 1hr to make and bake and serves between 10-12 people - perfect for special occasions or parties. This rich, soft sponge is infused with cocoa powder and has a sweet, fluffy white cream frosting. This delicious red velvet cake would make the perfect showstopper for birthdays, Valentine's Day or simply served with a cuppa as a weekend treat. This cake can be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Store somewhere cool.


  • 150g butter, softened
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 250g plain flour
  • 25g cornflour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 level tbsp good quality cocoa powder
  • 250ml buttermilk
  • Red food colouring (use 2 tbsp liquid colour or 1/2 tsp thick red food paste)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the white frosting:
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 50g golden syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
You will also need:
  • Two 23cm (9in) diameter sandwich tins, each about 5cm (2in) deep

After the cakes have cooled completely and before frosting, cover them loosely with cling film and place them in the freezer for 30 minutes–1 hour. This really helps when it comes to icing delicate crumbly cakes.


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Butter and flour the sides of the cake tins and line the bases with parchment paper.
  2. Cream the butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until soft. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and the egg yolks, one by one, beating well after each addition.
  3. Place the flour, cornflour, baking powder and cocoa powder in a sieve resting on a plate. Measure the buttermilk with the food colouring and mix together. It should be very red, so add more if you need to.
  4. Sift one-third of the dry ingredients into the butter and eggs mixture until just combined, then pour in one-third of the buttermilk mixture and mix until just combined. Continue, combining a third at a time, until both are incorporated.
  5. Whisk the egg whites and salt in a large, spotlessly clean bowl until stiffish peaks form. Add one-quarter to the batter and mix. Add the remaining egg whites in three stages, folding them in gently with a large metal spoon until just incorporated, leaving as much air in the egg whites as possible.
  6. In a small bowl, mix the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda until it bubbles up, then gently fold this into the batter. Quickly pour the batter into the two prepared tins and smooth the tops. Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean and the cakes feel slightly springy on top.
  7. Leave in the tins for 15 minutes, then carefully remove the cakes from the tins, running a table knife or a palette knife slowly around them to loosen them, and invert them onto a wire rack to cool.
  8. To make the white frosting, place the egg whites, sugar, golden syrup, salt, cream of tartar and water in a stainless steel or heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. (The base of the bowl should not touch the water.) Bring the water to a steady simmer. With a hand-held electric beater or a balloon whisk (to build up your muscles!), whisk the mixture until you have shiny, satiny soft peaks. Remove the bowl from the simmering water and continue to whisk for a further 2 minutes – it will get a bit stiffer. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
  9. Immediately ice the middle, top and sides of the cake with a palette knife, fluffing the frosting up to form little peaks all over the cake. You need to work fast to ice the cake, as the icing sets very quickly. Leave for at least 30 minutes to allow a thin crust to form outside a creamy interior.

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Average rating

  • 3
(67 ratings)

Your comments

Dorothy Walsh

Despite a lot of effort and expense I found the cake itself was tasteless and the icing far too sweet and soft. It never coloured red but just looked brown but without the chocolate flavour. Do not recommend this cake - a lot of work for not much pleasure or satisfaction.

Susan Davies

Made this for work. They were using their sandwivh box lids as plates - tasted great.


I found the same issue A whole bottle of food colouring and it just looked like a pink tinted chocolate cake. Which brand of food coloring did you use?


Can i use this recipe for cup cakes

Michaela Rossington

took a lot longer than 30 mins to prepare and after a full bottle of food colouring my cake still isnt red, next time only going to put in 1tbsp of cocoa powder, looks ok for a first attempt though

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