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Maria's Red Velvet Cake Recipe

Maria is a master of public health, and a master gardener. She & husband Bo, known online as The Gardener & The Cook are in coastal Alabama.

When you want the beautiful red layers to show, or when you didn't make enough icing, here's what to do.

When you want the beautiful red layers to show, or when you didn't make enough icing, here's what to do.

A Wonderful Cake for Holidays or Any Day

At holiday time, nothing is more in the spirit of Christmas or Valentine’s Day than a red velvet cake. I can almost taste it now.

For many years I reserved this recipe for Valentine's Day and Christmas. It is moist, tender, and delicious, and has become such a hit among friends and family, I now make it for many special occasions, as well as for non-occasions. I even made it as a sheet cake for a July 4th dinner and decorated it to look like the American flag.

This recipe makes lovely cupcakes, too

This recipe makes lovely cupcakes, too

Changes I Have Made to Create a Less Unhealthy Cake

  • First, I replaced part of the sugar with stevia. It took some trial and error to get it right.
  • I changed from cake flour to gluten-free flour, and no one could tell the difference.
  • Last, I reduced the amount of shortening, because I really don’t like using shortening.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup stevia or Splenda
  • 1 stick Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening Sticks
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 ounces red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fat-free buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
marias-red-velvet-cake

Instructions

  1. Using an electric mixer, cream together the sugar, stevia, or Splenda with shortening and eggs.
  2. In a measuring cup or small bowl, mix together the cocoa and food coloring.
  3. Add the cocoa mixture to cream mixture, and mix well.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the salt and vanilla flavoring with the buttermilk.
  5. Sift the flour.
  6. Add the buttermilk mixture alternately with flour to the cream mixture.
  7. Mix the vinegar and soda together. (This will fizz. See notes below.)
  8. Fold the vinegar-soda mixture into the batter. (Do not beat.)
  9. Pour the mixture into 2 prepared 9-inch cake pans, lined muffin pans, or a 1/4 sheet cake pan.
  10. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes.
This recipe makes a thick batter, but it will spread out in the pans with a little help from you.

This recipe makes a thick batter, but it will spread out in the pans with a little help from you.

Read More From Delishably

I don't like using shortening, in fact, the only time I use it is for this recipe. Because the amount called for in the original recipe made for cupcakes that felt greasy, I changed the recipe from one-and-one-half stick to only one stick.

— Maria

Baking Wraps for Cake Pans Help to Produce a Flatter, Smoother Cake Top

When cake pans are not wrapped, the batter at the sides of the pan cooks sooner than the batter in the middle of the pan. This causes the batter in the center to be pushed up, producing a puffed up and rounded top on each cake layer.

Using these wraps will help to prevent that. Just be sure to soak them in cold water for about 20 minutes before putting them on the pans. Also, put them on the pans before greasing or flouring the pans, so you can put your hand in the pan to hold it in place while attaching the wraps.

Cake pan wrap in place for baking

Cake pan wrap in place for baking

What Icing Is Best for This Cake?

We prefer cream cheese icing on this cake. That does mean it has to be refrigerated, so if you use cream cheese icing, be sure you have plenty of room in your fridge. Here’s my cream cheese icing recipe.

The cake with smooth frosting. In the cream cheese icing recipe, I show several ways of frosting the cake.

The cake with smooth frosting. In the cream cheese icing recipe, I show several ways of frosting the cake.

Pro Tips

  • Wait to combine the baking soda and vinegar until you are ready to incorporate it into the batter. If combined too soon, it will lose its fizziness before you fold it into the batter.
  • Originally, I used 1 cup Splenda and 1/2 cup sugar. This produced very thin cake layers. Sugar increases moisture, which helps to plump up the layers in a cake, and Splenda will not do that. I prefer thicker layers, so I have changed from Splenda to stevia, and reversed the amounts to 1/2 cup stevia and 1 cup sugar. UPDATE: as I've read more and more about Splenda, I have dropped it from my pantry, and use stevia instead of sugar whenever possible.
  • This cake is expensive to make, so once, when we had only one bottle of red food coloring in the pantry, and I did not have time to go to the store, I decided to try making it with only that one bottle. As far as the dark red color was concerned, there was no difference at all. Just be sure to replace that missing bottle with an equal amount of liquid. If that liquid is not replaced, you will get a drier cake. I replaced it with one extra ounce of fat-free buttermilk.

Cupcakes for Many Occasions

Cupcakes for Christmas

Cupcakes for Christmas

Cupcakes for Independence Day,  Veterans' Day, or Memorial Day

Cupcakes for Independence Day, Veterans' Day, or Memorial Day

© 2021 MariaMontgomery

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