Red Velvet – Trick or Treat?

A red velvet cake can be a wonderful thing or the biggest frustration you have ever had! Ever tried baking one? Ever tried that very same recipe again and the outcome is completely different?

Welcome to Red Velvet Cake!

After much trial and error, myself and a ‘sister in baking’ have decided that essentially a red velvet cake is just a very moist chocolate cake, made with buttermilk, and a lot of red food colouring. And of course the signature cream cheese frosting.

So, if you have a burning desire to make a red velvet cake, but could not muster the courage yet, or have tried and failed time and time again – you are at the right place. Today I am in a sharing mood again so, ta-da!

Here is my ‘Red Velvet Cake’ recipe.


  • 4 cups Cake Flour (plain flour if you are not in South Africa)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda (please note – baking soda, NOT baking powder)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups sunflower oil
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 2 cups of strong coffee (yes, two cups of boiling water with two tablespoons instant coffee added)
  • 4 tablespoons red food colouring


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C (320°F)
  2. Prepare your baking tins (I spray mine with a non-stick spray and add baking paper to the bottom of the tin only, spray that again)
  3. Mix all the ingredients except the coffee for one minute (use an electric mixer).
  4. Add the coffee, mix through
  5. Pour the batter into your prepared tins
  6. Bake for one hour

Things to note:

  • This is a REALLY moist cake, when you test to see if it is baked through, your skewer might come out wet – this does not necessarily mean the cake is not done.
  • Because the cake is so moist, it needs to cool off in the baking tin – if you try to turn it out while it is still hot, it will break.
  • The cake does not taste like coffee at all, the coffee brings out the chocolate taste.
  • If you do not have or cannot find buttermilk, you can make your own. Add 15ml white vinegar to one cup lukewarm milk.
  • I use two 23cm round tins for this recipe.

Finish with your favourite cream cheese frosting. If you have trouble finding one, feel free to email me and I will gladly share mine.

The Sugar Fairy



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