Cheat’s Red Velvet Cake

I don’t know about you, but I’ve tried so many red velvet cakes in the past and they just don’t turn out how they look in the pictures OR they use a seriously large amount of food colouring that can’t be good for you! I’ve called this a cheat’s recipe as it doesn’t contain beetroot, which is where the traditional red velvet cake gets its colour from! I have used milk in the sponge to make it slightly moist as red velvet cakes are. I have also listed 1-2 tbsp of cocoa powder as all cocoa powder is different (some lighter in colour than others) and it depends on what you have as to how much to add. If you add too much, you’ll lose that vibrant red colour, but we need just enough to make it taste chocolatey!


For the sponge:

  • 150g Butter, softened
  • 300g Sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 400g Self-raising Flour
  • 1-2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Red Food Colouring Gel
  • 180ml Milk

For the cream cheese icing:

  • 50g Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 100g Cream Cheese
  • 300g Icing Sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ᵒC. Line two 9inch round cake tins with baking paper and grease with butter.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the butter and sugar using a hand whisk. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until smooth.
  3. Sift the flour into a bowl and pour the milk into a jug.
  4. Add half of the flour to the cake mixture and stir and then add half of the milk and stir. Repeat with remaining flour and milk.
  5. Stir in the food colouring and one tablespoon of cocoa powder. You should have a vibrant but not neon red colour. If the red is exceptionally bright, add up to another one tablespoon of cocoa powder.
  6. Seperate the mixture evenyl between both cake tins.
  7. Bake in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
  8. For the icing; mix together the butter and cream cheese using a wooden spoon. Sift and add the icing sugar in little bit at a time until all incorporated.
  9. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool in their tins for ten minutes before transfering to a wire rack.
  10. Once the cakes have completly cooled, spread half of the icing over one sponge, top with the other sponge and then spread the remaing icing neatly over the top of the cake. Fill a piping bag with a little icing for decoration if you have one!

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