Red velvet cakes were always a mystery to me, I naively thought they were just a chocolate cake with red food colouring, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. A red velvet cake is a traditionally red, brownish red, or crimson coloured cake. The original recipe created a natural red hue due to a reaction between cacao and vinegar, however most red velvet cake recipes today include red food colouring. A red velvet cake is a soft, moist, crumbly cake with a combination of vanilla and cacao. It usually includes vinegar, buttermilk, and baking soda to create a light, fluffy texture and a slight tangy flavour.
I never had a desire to learn how to make a red velvet cake, let alone a gluten free one, however my mom (who is allergic to gluten) had been wanting to try a red velvet cake for a while, so I decided to attempt it. I baked a two tier red velvet cake, layered with buttercream frosting and fresh strawberries, so here’s what you need to know.
Which flour should I use?
For this type of red velvet cake, I’d recommend using a gluten free self-raising flower (I like freee’s self-raising) or you can use an all purpose gluten free flour blend. Simply be aware that most gluten free flours are quite dense so you might want to balance out your blend with another flour such as almond flour.
Is this recipe dairy free?
No, this recipe is not dairy free since it includes butter, however it is without buttermilk. The reason I can add butter to my baking is that it is relatively low in lactose, but if you are completely dairy free then a vegan butter should work as well. To replace buttermilk, I used a plant-based milk with a tablespoon of vinegar. You can use almond milk or coconut milk (avoid canned coconut milk).
What food colouring should I use?
For this recipe, I used liquid food colouring because it was the only one I could find (I also couldn’t find a red one so I opted for pink). If you’re using gel food colouring replace the tablespoon measurements with one teaspoon.
For the Cake (this makes one 10″ layer cake)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup plant-based milk
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 3 cups gf flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tbsp cacao powder
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp red food colouring
For the Buttercream
- 50g cup softened butter
- 100-150g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp milk
- a bunch of strawberries
- Preheat your oven at 180ºC and ensure all your ingredients are at room temperature.
- In a bowl, cream butter and sugar until well combined.
- Add in your eggs one at a time and mix until you get a smooth mixture. Add in the vanilla extract.
- In another bowl, sift in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cacao (Keep in mind I used salted butter in this recipe so if you’re using unsalted butter, add 1/2 tsp of salt to your dry ingredients).
- In a measuring cup, add your plant-based milk and vinegar, stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- To your egg mixture, add your milk and flour in increments. I like to use a hand mixture to get a smooth batter, but you can also use a standing mixer.
- Add the food colouring to your batter and mix until well incorporated.
- Grease the sides of your baking tin and line the bottom with baking paper. Pour in your batter and bake for 35-40 mins.
- Allow your cake to cool for 5 mins in the pan before removing and allowing to cool on a rack.
- For the icing, cream softened room temp butter, icing sugar, plant-based milk and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Make sure your cake has completely cooled down before icing.
- Optional: slice up some strawberries to decorate your cake. I find the strawberries complement all the flavours really well.
If you want an extra moist cake, I’d recommend soaking the cake layers in simple syrup before decorating. To make the syrup simply boil equal parts water and sugar, allow it to cool before drizzling over the levelled cakes.
More Recipes like this one
Gluten & Dairy Free Sponge Cake – find here
Victoria sponge Cake – find here
Gluten & Dairy Free Milk Cake – find here
Healthy Chocolate Cake – find here