Christmas Red Velvet Cake

    45 minutes

    This is the cake we always make at Christmas - so festive with the red and white and the hint of chocolate.

    571 people made this

    Serves: 12 

    • Cake
    • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 50ml red food colouring
    • 1 cup (250ml) buttermilk
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
    • 125 shortening, butter or margarine
    • 1 1/2 cups (300ml) white sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 1/2 cups (310g) plain flour, sifted
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons bicarb soda
    • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
    • Icing
    • 1 cup (250ml) milk
    • 5 tablespoons (40g) plain flour
    • 1 cup (200g) white sugar
    • 250g butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

    Preparation:15min  ›  Cook:30min  ›  Ready in:45min 

    1. Cake: Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease two 20cm round cake tins.
    2. Make a paste of cocoa and food colouring. Set aside. Combine the buttermilk, salt and vanilla. Set aside.
    3. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the cocoa mixture. Beat in the buttermilk mixture alternately with the flour, mixing just until incorporated. Stir together bicarb soda and vinegar, then gently fold into the cake batter.
    4. Pour batter into prepared cake tins. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.
    5. Icing: In a saucepan combine the milk and flour. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Set aside to cool completely. Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, then stir in the cooled milk and flour mixture, beating until icing reaches spreading consistency.
    6. To Assemble: Stack the two cooled cakes using the icing as a filling between layers and to cover the whole cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Recently Viewed

    Reviews and Ratings
    Global Ratings:

    Reviews in English (513)


    I made this cake twice yesterday. The 1st time, I followed all directions and found the cake dry and bland. Also, there were chocolate swirls in the baked cake even though I mixed the cocoa/food coloring paste well and beat the paste thoroughly into the shortening/sugar/egg mixture. The frosting was nice--I hadn't tried that before and liked it. The 2nd time, I modifed the recipe based on a suggestion of another reviewer. I substituted 1 cup oil for 1/2 cup shortening and 2 cups sugar for 1 1/2 cups sugar. Also, I added 1-2 extra tablespoons of cocoa powder. What a difference! The cake was very moist with a stronger flavor (more traditional). The color was gorgeous. I split the layers and frosted with a double batch of cream cheese frosting. Yummy! Everyone went nuts over the 2nd cake. I have a small dessert business and I received 2 orders (for the holidays)for the 2nd version of the cake after friends/clients tasted it. Thanks for the suggestions.  -  17 Oct 2002  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)


    I'm astonished and amazed to find an red velvet cake that actually uses the CORRECT frosting!!! Not sure why so many think that "cream cheese frosting" belongs on a red velvet cake. I'm so delighted that this cake has no cream cheese frosting -sorry but cream cheese frosting is NOT the traditional frosting on red velvet cake. Kudos to you for posting a recipe that is *Almost* like my family recipe, ours calls for 3 Tbsp of cocoa, and no vinegar. The vinegar is un-necessary, especially when the recipe contains buttermilk.  -  15 Jan 2006  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)


    I made this cake with the changes other reviewers recommended, and it was fantastic! I used one cup of oil instead of the shortening, two cups of sugar instead of 1 1/2 cups, and an extra tablespoon of cocoa powder. Also, I only used 1 ounce of food color because that's all I had and it gave it a nice red color. I think 2 ounces would be overkill. I did make the mistake, though, of sifting the cocoa powder together with the flour, and the food dye with the buttermilk, thinking it made more sense to do it that way, but I ended up with some brown swirls. The second time I made this, I did everything except I made the cocoa powder and food color into a paste like you're supposed to and the color turned out an even red color. Also, the second time I made it into cupcakes and baked them at 325 degrees for about 25 min. The frosting is to die for! I'll be using that on most every cake from now on! Thanks for a great recipe and all the reviewers' suggestions.  -  13 Apr 2007  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)