Rachel Allen's red velvet cake recipe

(533 ratings)

Learn how to make red velvet cake with our classic red velvet cake recipe from Rachel Allen.

Preparation Time30 mins
Cooking Time30 mins (plus cooling and setting time)
Total Time1 hours
Cost RangeCheap

Red velvet cake is an all time favourite when it comes to delicious bakes that you can make easily make to impress your family and friends. Learn how to make red velvet cake with our classic red velvet cake recipe from Rachel Allen, which makes a lovely bake every time. A rich red sponge topped with a cool white frosting, this yummy red velvet cake is an impressive choice for any occasion. This easy red velvet cake recipe will take around 1hr to make and bake and serves between 10-12 people - perfect for special occasions or parties. This rich, soft sponge is infused with cocoa powder and has a sweet, fluffy white cream frosting. This delicious red velvet cake would make the perfect showstopper for birthdays, Valentine's Day or simply served with a cuppa as a weekend treat. This cake can be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Store somewhere cool.


  • 150g butter, softened
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 250g plain flour
  • 25g cornflour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 level tbsp good quality cocoa powder
  • 250ml buttermilk
  • Red food colouring (use 2 tbsp liquid colour or 1/2 tsp thick red food paste)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the white frosting


  • 2 large egg whites
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 50g golden syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

You will also need


  • Two 23cm (9in) diameter sandwich tins, each about 5cm (2in) deep




  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Butter and flour the sides of the cake tins and line the bases with parchment paper.
  2. Cream the butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until soft. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and the egg yolks, one by one, beating well after each addition.
  3. Place the flour, cornflour, baking powder and cocoa powder in a sieve resting on a plate. Measure the buttermilk with the food colouring and mix together. It should be very red, so add more if you need to.
  4. Sift one-third of the dry ingredients into the butter and eggs mixture until just combined, then pour in one-third of the buttermilk mixture and mix until just combined. Continue, combining a third at a time, until both are incorporated.
  5. Whisk the egg whites and salt in a large, spotlessly clean bowl until stiffish peaks form. Add one-quarter to the batter and mix. Add the remaining egg whites in three stages, folding them in gently with a large metal spoon until just incorporated, leaving as much air in the egg whites as possible.
  6. In a small bowl, mix the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda until it bubbles up, then gently fold this into the batter. Quickly pour the batter into the two prepared tins and smooth the tops. Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean and the cakes feel slightly springy on top.
  7. Leave in the tins for 15 minutes, then carefully remove the cakes from the tins, running a table knife or a palette knife slowly around them to loosen them, and invert them onto a wire rack to cool.
  8. To make the white frosting, place the egg whites, sugar, golden syrup, salt, cream of tartar and water in a stainless steel or heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. (The base of the bowl should not touch the water.) Bring the water to a steady simmer. With a hand-held electric beater or a balloon whisk (to build up your muscles!), whisk the mixture until you have shiny, satiny soft peaks. Remove the bowl from the simmering water and continue to whisk for a further 2 minutes – it will get a bit stiffer. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
  9. Immediately ice the middle, top and sides of the cake with a palette knife, fluffing the frosting up to form little peaks all over the cake. You need to work fast to ice the cake, as the icing sets very quickly. Leave for at least 30 minutes to allow a thin crust to form outside a creamy interior.
Top Tip for making Rachel Allen's red velvet cake

After the cakes have cooled completely and before frosting, cover them loosely with cling film and place them in the freezer for 30 minutes–1 hour. This really helps when it comes to icing delicate crumbly cakes.

Rachel Allen left home at just 18 to pursue a career in cooking. Originally from Dublin, Ireland she moved to County Cork to study at the famous Ballymaloe Cookery School. Soon after graduating from the prestigious culinary school, she worked at the Ballymaloe House Hotel testing recipes and then onto teaching at the school. Her first television series, called Rachel’s Favourite Food, was broadcast in 2004 throughout Ireland, Canada, Australia and elsewhere in Europe. A book of the same name accompanied the series, giving viewers a true insight into Rachel’s special brand of family-orientated cooking and recipes. Since then she has authored more than eight different cookery books (opens in new tab), based around baking and home cooking. She’s particularly famous for her baking recipes, such as the delicious walnut and American frosting cake (opens in new tab), as well as simpler recipes like basic fairy cakes (opens in new tab). Rachel’s books have sold more than 1 million copies worldwide. As well as being a TV chef and author, Rachel writes regular columns for Irish magazine, The Sunday Tribune. In the past, she has also contributed to BBC Good Food magazine and AWT at Home magazine. Alongside writing, Rachel also teaches at the same school she trained. She regularly appears on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen and has her own popular cooking show on Irelands RTE network. In March 2017, Rachel Allen opened her first restaurant. Dwyers of Cork on Washington Street in Cork is a joint business venture with her husand, Isaac, and publican Paul Montgomery. Appearing on the show over a number of years, in September 2019 Rachel returned as a judge and co-host with Marco Pierre White on the popular Irish television series, The Restaurant. Rachel lives in County Cork with her husband, Issac. The couple have three children together - Luka, Joshua and Scarlett. From simple one-pot meals and roast dinners to your favourite sweet treats, we’ve got all of the best Rachel Allen recipes (opens in new tab) to choose from.