Ann Reardon

Red Velvet Cake Recipe

best red velvet cake recipe

Red velvet cake was the best selling cupcake at every store I visited recently in New York City.  But finding the perfect red velvet cake recipe is no easy task as there are so many variations.  Some I tried in NY were simply red-coloured vanilla cake with buttercream (which left me wondering what all the fuss was about) but others had a beautiful, unique flavour with rich cream cheese frosting.

If you’ve been searching for a good red velvet cake recipe then you’ll have read about the Waldorf Astoria recipe which has buttermilk and vinegar.  I tried that recipe too and it just didn’t have that New York taste (you can read my self guided sweet-tooth tour of NYC here).  Finally, after many experiments I discovered that morello sour cherry juice gave the flavour I was after.  Here’s my recipe.

Red Velvet Cake Recipe

1 cup minus 2 Tbsp or 150g (5.29 ounces) plain flour 
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
3/4 cup or 164g (5.78 ounces) sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp gelatine powder
1/4 cup or 60millilitres (2.03 fluid ounces) oil
4 egg yolks or 60g (2.12 ounces)
1/2 cup or 125millilitres (4.23 fluid ounces) concentrated morello cherry juice (made from 1 cup of juice boiled down)
1 Tbsp or 15ml red food colouring
4 egg whites or 128g (4.52 ounces)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Red Velvet Cake Directions

Preheat the oven to 338°F (170°C)
Boil and concentrate the morello cherry juice form 1 cup down to 1/2 cup and set aside to cool.
Place the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, gelatine, salt and baking powder into a bowl and whisk together.
Make a well in the centre and add the egg yolks, oil, juice and red colouring but do not stir.
Whip the egg whites with the cream of tar tar until soft peaks form.
Using the same beaters mix the egg yolk and flour mixture on low speed until just combined.
Fold in the egg whites into the cake batter in three batches.
Use a soup ladle to fill each cupcake case to 3/4 full
Bake for 11 minutes or until they spring back when lightly touched. Cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe can be found here

Pipe cream cheese frosting onto the top of each cupcake and enjoy.
Makes about 12 cupcakes.

red velvet cake recipe how to cook that

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All recipe quantities in the book are in grams, ounces and cups.

276 Comments View Comments

  1. Hi… Ann…I’m from India n we don’t get sm of the ingredients used in your red velvet cupcakes….Namely the Morello cherry juice n cream of tartar….What can I use instead of these….The cakes look really very yummy n I’m desperate to try them

    • Hi Rosy, if you can’t get cream of tartar use a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar. The taste will have a small impact. If you can’t get Morello Cherries you can use another form of unsweetened tinned cherries.

  2. Hey Ann! I made those red velvet following your recipe. Now the darker ones were baked normally, but the lighter ones were bakes in a tray filled with water. Now I did not use food coloring. I really like thr taste and the texture. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Hi Ann,
      what does the flavor taste like?By this I mean does it taste like sour cherries or is it a more subtle flavor?

      • Hi Allison it is has a mild cherry flavor that isn’t sickly sweet. Many red velvet cakes dont have much of a flavor at all

        • Thanks, Admin I made the recipe, unfortunately, i’m allergic to eggs so I couldn’t eat it but my friends and family loved it.

  3. Hi Anne,
    Can I use red gel food coloring instead? I know it is more concentrated that normal liquid food coloring, so how much would you suggest I use?
    I love your videos, thanks so much for sharing.


    • Hi Merril, you could but just use a small amount. Try a couple of drops first.

  4. Hello! I’m an italian girl, I love bakery and I love your recipe! somethimes I cook this cupcakes and my family and friends love it! Sorry for my bad english!

    • That is lovely to hear Sara. Happy Baking!

      • Hi its my first time to bake and I love the recipe that you share. Just want to know if I can bake the cup cake using my turbo broiler. If yes , How many minutes to cook and the celcius of the oven to preheat.Thanks

        • Hi Rochelle, Ann hasn’t tested this recipe with a Turbo Broiler. If you give it a go, please let us know how it turns out.

  5. Hello Ann,
    Thanks so much for your recipe. Once I saw your video I deleted all my other Red Velvet recipes!!! Your recipes are just awesome and it seems that they’re dominating my Recipe folders. I have one question for you please… Can I use this same recipe for a cake? I’d like to use it for the birthday cakes I make for the kids. What would the measurements be for a large cake (maybe a sandwich cake so that I can spread cream cheese in the middle). Thanks again!

    • Hi Mary, Yes you can make a cake. Just use the same quantities but extend your cooking time.

  6. hi ann, i made the cupcakes today and they look beautiful. only problem was when i took them out of the oven, they shrunk and shriveled up. could it have been because they were undercooked ?

    • Hi Courtney, It is most likely that they were undercooked but it is hard to tell without seeing them.

  7. Hi ann I did the cake but it turned like a sponge cake that I use to fill and the recipe did 20 cupcakes even I measure everything in grames

  8. Hi Ann.. Morello sour cherry juice is hard to find here. Can I use sour cream? Thanks.

    • Hi Opan, You can use any cherry juice, but a slightly tart or unsweetened one works best. If you can buy tinned cherries in juice, you can use the juice for this recipe. Sour cream would not be a suitable replacement.

  9. hello can i use these recipy for a cake instead of cupcake?thank you!

    • Hi ιωαννα, yes you can.

  10. Excuse me, the recipe said “the cake will be cooked in about 11 mins”, but mine took nearly 20 mins. I dont know what i do wrong, i use 1/2 recipe to bake 6 but it turned out to be 10 cupcake.

    • Hi Mione, Cooking times can vary a lot depending on your oven. If the cakes turned out well it shouldn’t matter.

  11. I’d love to try this recipe, but I don’t have easy access to morello cherry juice. Is there any substitute for the juice?

    • Hi Natalie, any sour/tart cherry juice would do. You don’t want heavily sweetened juice or syrup. Using the juice from the tinned cherries is fine.

  12. What kind of oil do you use for cupcakes? And why oil instead of butter?

    • Hi Linda, Ann usually prefers to use a polyunsaturated vegetable oil or a margarine for baking, as it is a healthier option than butter. She only uses butter when the taste is preferable. If she uses oil over margarine in the recipe it is because the oil will ensure the cake is moist.

  13. Hi Ann,
    thx a lot for your gorgeous cakes and deserts! I love to watch your videos and get all dreamy about what possibilities there are. After A LOT of watching I finally gave myself a push and tried the red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Probably shouldn’t have tried to make half the dough and cream (not really a lot cake lovers around here 🙁 ) cause I messed up big time. But I certainly will try again – with the whole ingredients! 🙂
    The only thing was: I didn’t get the push out of the red food coloring I used. The cupcakes were more brown than red. Maybe I added too much cocoa? What brand food coloring do YOU use and would it happen to be available at the other side of the world? 🙂
    Probably should get a set of cups and tbsps, too. The measurements for gramms are a bit adventurous 🙂
    Again, thanks a lot for your tutorials and your ideas! (Anyone yet asked about a Stark motive cake? ‘Winter is coming!’ .. or well, will be coming again anyhow! 😀 )
    Best regards and all thumbs up! Gabi

    • Already found a post to the food coloring question. Will try to find another distributor 🙂
      But there is another question. We do have Morello Cherrys (Schattenmorellen in German) but I can’t think of a way (I’d like 😉 ) to use the actual cherrys. What do you think: would it be possible to puree them and add them to the mixture? At least a smaller amount of them, I’d suppose. Thx for your time!

      • Hi Gabi, Some people like to add some cherries to the mix but too many and it will make the mix too wet. The other way people like to use them is for a filling between cake layers. I like them spread on one layer then topped with with some cream as a decadent filling.

    • Hi Gabi, Good on you for giving the recipe ago. A great place to start would be to get yourself some good measures or a kitchen scale. Ann doesn’t recommend a particular brand of colouring. If the colour wasn’t strong enough either try a different brand or a little more colouring next time.

  14. Hi Ann, I have a request for a red velvet 2 layer cake with fondant and creamcheese frosting as I have 2 weeks to master it.
    Have just made a sample cake and it sank in the middle while in the oven and not sure why also I’m not sure about creamcheese
    frosting as it can’t go in the fridge after the fondant is on the cake. please any advise. Kim

    • Hi Kim, It is unusual for a cake to sink in the middle while still in the oven. If you opened the oven and the temperature dropped significantly, that could cause this. If the cake falls in the middle after it comes out of the oven, it is often a sign it is not cooked through.
      For decorating, the cream cheese frosting will cause the fondant to weep. You could use cream cheese frosting for the layers, then cover the whole thing with buttercream. Then fondant could be applied over the top.

  15. Hi Ann! Thanks for the recipe. Can you tell me what is the use of gelatin in this recipe please?

    • The gelatin improves the texture and stability of the cake, keeping it light and fluffy but firm (not crumbly).

  16. what place in us we can find that morello cherry

    • Hi Jeymel, The Morello cherry is a popular variety of sour cherry. If you can’t find tinned Morello’s in your supermarket, you could use a different type of sour cherry. Either just the juice from the tinned cherries or purchase the juice alone.

  17. What to do if we cannot find morello cheery in my country plz

    • Hi Farheen, You can use another form of tinned cherry juice, just remember it may be very sweet. Morello cherries tend to be a little tart which creates a nice flavour.

  18. Hi
    I want to ask that auger i graduate

  19. hi Ann,

    I have tried to make these lovely cupcake but they failed both time.
    Can it be due to the fact that I have been using Baking Soda instead of Cream of Tartar.
    Or is it the Cherries, i can find that brand in the Netherlands
    Kind regards,

    • Hi Wies, baking soda is different is not the same as cream of tartar, so it will have made a difference.

  20. Hi Ann, do we have to have the 3/4 tsp gelatine powder or is there a subsitute for it?
    Oh and if you have any tips on how to convince my mom to let me start baking i would love to hear from you but if you don’t then thats fine.

    • Hi Sama, it is best to use gelatine or if you can’t have standard gelatine due you could use halal gelatine which is a made from a vegetable product. Don’t worry if are not able to bake right now. Parents usually have good reasons for the decisions they make. There are many things in life we may not get the chance to do when we are are young. Usually the opportunity will arise at some point in our lives and if it is something we are still passionate about it, then you can take action then.

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