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Yield to Temptation : Red Velvet Cake

Minakshi Gohain Das | July 9, 2020
Yield to Temptation : Red Velvet Cake

The red velvet cake is one of the most popular cakes for all occasions – be it a wedding or Christmas or even a themed party. The Waldorf Astoria, New York, has claimed credit for inventing this cake in the 1930s and ever since, the red velvet occupies pride of place among all confectionery items in even the smallest of bakeries worldwide.

Do you know where the red velvet gets its distinctive red colour from, although it is primarily a chocolate cake?  If you glance through the ingredients listed below, you will find two uncommon items- buttermilk and vinegar. It is the chemical reaction between the cocoa powder (which contains anthocyanin, a pH-sensitive antioxidant that reacts to acids) and the vinegar and buttermilk that gives this chocolate cake its characteristic red hue.


For the cake

  1. Flour – 300 gm
  2. Cocoa powder – 1/4 cup
  3. Unsalted butter – 115 gm
  4. Granulated sugar – 350 gm
  5. Baking soda – 1 tsp
  6. Salt – ½ tsp
  7. Eggs – 2
  8. Vegetable oil – ½ cup
  9. Red food colour gel – a few drops
  10. Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  11. Vinegar – 1 tsp
  12. Butter milk – 320 ml

For the cream cheese frosting

  1. Cream cheese – 350 gm (softened)
  2. Butter – 175 gm
  3. Icing sugar – as per taste
  4. Vanilla extract – 1tsp

For the decoration – fondant icing

  1. Icing sugar – 450 gm
  2. Egg white – 1 egg
  3. Liquid glucose – 80 gm (available in confectionery stores and at chemists)
  4. Red food colour gel – a few drops
  5. Green food colour gel – a few drops
  6. Brown food colour gel – a few drops
  7. Apricot jam – ½ cup (to make the apricot glaze)
  8. Silver balls – 1 packet


For the cake

  1. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and keep aside.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time.
  4. Mix in the oil, red food colour, vanilla and vinegar.
  5. Fold in the flour mix, one tablespoon at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Ensure that every addition is well combined with the batter. Do not over mix.
  6. Distribute the cake batter equally into two greased cake pans.
  7. Bake at 180 degrees till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Keep aside to cool.

For the frosting

  1. Beat the cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Add the butter and beat until well combined and smooth.
  3. Mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
  4. Layer the frosting on the cakes, smoothly. Cut off the remainders to impart a neat finished look.

For the decoration

  1. Heat the apricot jam with one tablespoon water on medium flame till molten.
  2. Remove from heat and strain. Keep aside to cool.
  3. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add in the egg white and liquid glucose.
  4. Beat with a wooden spoon, while making sure to collect all the icing sugar from the edges of the bowl.
  5. Knead the icing with your hands as you would knead bread dough. The fondant icing should be soft and pliable.
  6. Divide the fondant into three portions. – 1/2, 1/4th and 1/4th.
  7. Add a few drops of red food colour to the 1/2 portion to get a nice shade of pink. Knead in well.
  8. Add a few drops of green food colour to one of 1/4th portion to get a leaf green shade. Knead in well.
  9. Add a few drops of brown food colour to the other 1/4th portion for the stem. Knead in well.
  10. Dust two boards by sprinkling some icing sugar on it.
  11. Roll the pink fondant on one board and the green and brown fondants on the other, on two opposite sides.
  12. Cut out small oval shapes from the pink fondant to make roses.
  13. Using your thumb and index finger, shape a cone out of one such piece. Shape five more pieces to make petals and curve around the cone one after another.
  14. Make as many roses (big and small) as you want to decorate your cake.
  15. Cut out leaves from the green fondant. Mark out the veins using a blunt knife.
  16. Using a knife, draw out thin small stems from the brown fondant.
  17. Stick the roses, leaves and stems on the cake using the apricot glaze.
  18. Sprinkle silver balls to impart a finished look.



This one’s a sure party hit; the reactions of your guests will be worth the effort put in when making this elaborate cake. The light and fluffy red cake with sparkling white cream cheese frosting will leave everyone wondering about the subtle, yet distinctive and delicious flavour that is not quite chocolate and not quite plain vanilla. Do share with us your experience when baking and decorating this cake.


Minakshi Gohain Das

Mamu, as she is fondly called, has spent over 30 years living in the beautiful tea estates of Assam and Dooars. She loves cooking and baking and has a huge repertoire of recipes that she has picked up from her travels across India and abroad.  She is always found busy in her kitchen preparing exotic meals not just for her family but also the numerous friends and visitors who make a beeline for her home regularly.

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3 years ago

Yummy 😋 u r the best when it comes to cakes👌🏻

Latika Ojha
Latika Ojha
3 years ago

A recipe to be tried out…Thanks💜

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