Red velvet cake

Peggy Porschen shares her delicious recipe for a Valentine's themed red velvet cake.

Red velvet heart cake Image credit: Peggy Porschen

Recipe taken from Peggy Porschen's book 'Love Layer Cakes', published by Quadrille £20.

Makes one 15cm cake. For Peggy's recipe for cream cheese frosting, click here.

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  • 105g butter
  • 275g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • about 1⁄2 teaspoon extra-red food colour
  • 250g buttermilk
  • 2 medium-sized eggs
  • 235g plain flour
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 11⁄4 teaspoons white wine vinegar


  • red velvet cake crumbs


  • electric mixer
  • three 15cm shallow round sandwich tins
  • baking parchment
  • heart cake stencil (you can easily make your own using a sheet of card or paper and a pair of scissors)


Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3.
Line three 15cm sandwich tins with oil spray and greaseproof paper.
Place the butter, caster sugar and vanilla in an electric mixer and, using the paddle, beat at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy.
Mix the red food colour with the buttermilk, making sure there are no lumps.
Lightly beat the eggs in a separate bowl or jug and, with the mixer set at medium speed, slowly pour into the butter mixture. If the mixture starts to curdle, add a tablespoon of flour to bring it back together.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt together and, once the butter, sugar and eggs are combined, add to the mixer with the coloured buttermilk and beat at low speed until just incorporated.
Whisk together the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar and quickly add to the cake batter.
Using the rubber spatula, fold through the batter to make sure everything is well combined.
Transfer the batter to the lined tins and gently spread it towards the edges with a step palette knife.
Bake for 20–25 minutes. The sponge is cooked when it springs back to the touch and the sides are coming away from the edges of the tin. You could also insert a clean knife into the middle of the sponge – if it's cooked, the knife will come out clean.
Once the sponges are baked, remove from the oven and leave to rest for about 10 minutes.
When the sponges are just warm, run a knife all the way round the sides of the tins, transfer to a wire cooling rack and leave to cool completely.
Once cool, wrap the sponges in cling film and leave them to rest overnight at room temperature.
Make a vanilla cream cheese frosting (link to recipe above) and chill for at least two hours, or until set.

To assemble the cake

Trim the sponges (reserving the trimmings for decoration) and sandwich the layers together using the vanilla frosting.
Mask the top and sides of the cake using the remaining vanilla frosting.

To decorate

Preheat the oven to 100°C/gas mark 1⁄4.
Take all the trimmings from the sponges and place them on a lined baking tray.
Put them in the oven to dry out, until hard.
Put the cake trimmings in a food processor and whizz until you have a fine crumb.
Centre the heart cake stencil on the top of the cake, and dust the surface liberally with the red velvet cake crumbs.
Carefully lift the stencil off the cake to reveal the heart pattern.
Store the cake in the fridge if not serving immediately. The cake has a shelf life of up to 5 days but tastes best if consumed within 3 days. Serve at room temperature.
Last updated one year ago

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