A small 6-inch Red Velvet Cake with cream cheese frosting.
Red velvet cake
- 105 grams (3/4 cup) plain flour or all purpose flour
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) caster sugar or granulated sugar
- 7 grams (1 level tablespoon) cocoa powder, sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 75 grams (1/3 cup) unsalted butter, softened, roughly chopped
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) full fat buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon of red food gel or oil-based food colour
Cream cheese frosting
- 30 grams (2 tablespoons) butter, softened
- 125 grams (2/3 cup) full fat cream cheese, softened, roughly chopped
- 30 grams (1/4 cup) icing sugar or powdered sugar, sifted
- Zest of 1 large lemon, finely grated
- Colourful sprinkles, optional
- Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F) standard / 160 C (320 F) fan-forced. Grease and line one 6-inch round cake pan with baking or parchment paper.
- In a medium mixing bowl, add flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add butter and beat with an electric mixer on low speed, until butter is broken into small pea-sized pieces and completely covered in flour.
- Add egg and vanilla and mix on medium speed just to combine. Add buttermilk and vinegar. Beat on low speed until you have a creamy and smooth cake batter.
- Add red food colour and mix using a spatula until you have a bright red cake batter. Try not to over-mix.
- Transfer cake batter to prepared cake pan. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Carefully transfer cake to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- To make the cream cheese frosting, add butter and cream cheese to a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
- Add sugar and lemon zest beat on a low speed to combine. Turn mixer up to medium speed and continue to mix until frosting is smooth and creamy.
- Spread frosting on top of cooled cake. Add sprinkles, if using.
Cocoa powder: You can use natural 100% cocoa powder or Dutch processed cocoa powder in this cake. Don’t use sweetened cocoa or drinking chocolate.
Red food colouring: I recommend using a red food gel or oil-based colour. The watery food colours you get from the supermarket are so weak that they won’t give you a vibrant red colour. You also have to use much more, which can throw out your ratio of liquids.
Buttermilk: Buttermilk is key to creating a light, fluffy texture. Storebought full fat buttermilk is best. However, you can substitute half full fat milk and half full fat Greek yogurt.
White vinegar: White vinegar reacts with baking soda, along with the buttermilk, to create an airy and tender cake crumb. If you don’t have white vinegar, you can leave it out since it such a small amount. The full fat buttermilk will do most of the work!
Cream cheese: You’ll need to use cream cheese in the frosting for this cake. I recommend using full fat cream cheese rather than light cream cheese or spreadable cream cheese. Try and get hold of the brick-style or block cream cheese for best results. I use Philadelphia cream cheese.
Storage: If unfrosted, you can wrap this cake in plastic wrap and store it in an airtight container at room temperature. I recommend frosting this cake when you are ready to serve.
Make-ahead: Once the cake is completely cooled, wrap it in plastic wrap and keep it at room temperature for 1-2 days. Or freeze it and simply bring it back to room temperature to serve.
You can also make the frosting ahead of time. Keep it covered in the fridge, let it sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes and then just beat or stir by hand until smooth and creamy. You can also freeze the frosting and simply defrost before using.
Traditional creaming method: In a mixing bowl, add butter and sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and creamy. Add egg and vanilla and beat again just to combine. Add flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt, along with buttermilk and white vinegar. Beat on low speed until you have a creamy cake batter. Continue with method above from step 4 onwards.