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What Flavor is Red Velvet?

Today we’re talking about one of the most popular and beloved cake flavors out there: red velvet! Here’s everything you need to know about red velvet. From what flavor is red velvet, to where its color comes from, and more.

A woman's hand is lifting a slice of cake on a serving utensil.
Red Velvet Cake from Easy Weeknight Recipes

If you’ve seen one of those gorgeously hued red velvet cakes at your local bakery you may be wondering: what does it taste like? A good question! Today we are going to talk about everything red velvet. From where the recipe originated, to what red velvet tastes like and even some easy red velvet recipes to try. Let’s get to it.

What is Red Velvet?

So, what exactly is red velvet cake? It’s a classic American cake that’s characterized by its rich, chocolatey flavor and deep red color. The exact origins of red velvet cake are a bit of a mystery, but it’s thought to have originated in the 1920s or 1930s in the United States. Around the same time home bakers began making Devils’ Food cake, which is similar to red velvet but uses chocolate instead of cocoa powder.

Red velvet cake was originally made with a small amount of cocoa powder and a lot of food coloring, which gave the cake its distinctive deep red color. During World War II when food was rationed, some home bakers also colored their cakes using boiled beets. Nowadays, most recipes call for a bit more cocoa powder and a lot less food coloring than the original recipe, but the cake still retains its red hue.

Slice of vegan red velvet cake on plate with fork
Vegan Red Velvet Cake from Jessica in the Kitchen

What Does Red Velvet Taste Like?

Now, let’s talk about what red velvet cake tastes like. The cake itself has a tender, soft crumb that’s just the right balance between moist and fluffy. The flavor is a perfect combination of cocoa powder and vanilla, with a slight tang from buttermilk. This gives the cake a rich, chocolatey flavor that’s not overwhelmingly sweet, but just sweet enough to satisfy your sweet tooth. The buttermilk also helps to balance the sweetness and gives the cake a unique taste.

The texture of red velvet cake is also noteworthy. Its tender, soft crumb is a result of using oil instead of butter in the recipe, which makes the cake more moist and less dense. The use of buttermilk also helps to create a lighter crumb, making it a perfect choice for those who prefer a cake that’s not too heavy.

Where Does the Color Come From?

One of the things that makes red velvet cake so special is the addition of food coloring, which gives the cake its deep red color. This color, along with the unique flavor, makes red velvet cake a standout choice for special occasions like birthdays, holidays, and weddings.

Red Velvet Recipes to Try

Red velvet cake is a delicious and classic cake flavor that’s loved by many. With its tender crumb, perfect balance of chocolate and vanilla, and deep red color, it’s no wonder that it’s become a staple at celebrations and special events.

If you haven’t tried red velvet cake before, give it a go and taste for yourself what all the fuss is about! Here are some recipes to start with:

The BEST Red Velvet Cake recipe that slices up perfectly!

The Best Red Velvet Cake Recipe

Fluffy and flavorful, this easy red velvet cake recipe makes a two layer cake topped with vanilla buttercream frosting.

Four Crinkle Cookies Stacked on a Smooth White Surface

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

These gorgeous red velvet crinkle cookies have all the flavor of red velvet in bite size form. Snowy white on the outside and beautifully red on the inside, these easy cookes look like a million bucks.

A spatula serving a slice of red velvet sheet cake

Red Velvet Sheet Cake

Perfect for birthday parties or transporting to potlucks, this easy red velvet sheet cake is baked in a 9×13 pan then topped with frosting and fruit. Delicious!

Mini Red Velvet Cheesecakes

Mini Red Velvet Cheesecakes

Just look at the gorgeous color! This mini red velvet cheesecakes use Oreo cookies for a simple crust that’s topped with a creamy red velvet filling. The dessert is finished off with a chocolate ganache topping that makes these bite-sized treats extra indulgent.


Healthy Red Velvet Quinoa Brownies

Want to have a decadent dessert and still feel like you’re eating healthy? These cakey red velvet brownies might be just the thing! Fluffy and tender, they’re made with beet puree and quinoa flour, then topped with chocolate chips. Genius.

Six red velvet truffles decorated for Valentine's Day in small dish

Red Velvet Cake Truffles

Bite sizes cake balls covered in white chocolate and finished with sprinkles? Yes please. These rich red velvet cake truffles are everything you love about red velvet cake in chocolate covered form.

Slice of Red Velvet Cream Cheese Bundt Cake topped with red, pink, and white sprinkles being pulled from whole cake.

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

This simple recipe makes a gorgeous red velvet bundt cake stuffed with cream cheese filling! The whole thing is topped off with whipped cream cheese frosting and sprinkles. Lovely and luscious.

A slice of red velvet layer cake on a plate

Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake

Following a gluten free diet? That doesn’t mean you need to miss out on the red velvet party. This red velvet cake recipe is gluten free and captures everything you love about a classic red velvet cake.

three red velvet cupcakes on a small cake stand

Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes

Another way to enjoy red velvet flavors while eating gluten free! These moist and tender red velvet cupcakes are topped with homemade frosting and red velvet cake crumbles.

Looking for even more ways to experience red velvet? Be sure to check out our recipe finder. It has over 60 ways to make red velvet!

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