Gluten-free Red Velvet Cake

Happy birthday to KT! Sneakily, her man-friend told me one of her favorite cakes is red velvet, so I set out on a mission to make it for her surprise party this past Saturday. The requirement for party attendance was to bring KT a homemade card. So I chose to make cake as my card.

I’ve always wanted to make a red velvet cake, but somehow never got around to it. Now they are all the rage so I feel very in. Here’s my gluten-free version.

I’ve been trying to make everything with Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free flour because most people, myself included, don’t want to hassle with all the spendy flour combinations. Also, this cake is meant to be a bit on the dense side, so Bob’s works well for it.

Like most recipes, I think of this as a master recipe that can be modified for whatever you want to make. So think of this as a template for Dense, Moist Cake. Instead of making red velvet, you could eliminate just the cocoa and red food coloring, and instead mix in a cup of flaked coconut and make a coconut frosting, or mix in a couple tablespoons of lemon zest and use a lemon frosting, etc. You get the idea. For my own birthday, I think I might have to make a Blue Velvet Cake (“What are you doing in my closet, Jeffrey Beaumont?” Ah, such a screenplay.)

Gluten-free Red Velvet Cake

1 c vegetable oil (I used sunflower with good results, canola would also work fine, I’m sure)

1 1/2 c sugar

3 eggs, room temp, lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla

1 3/4 c Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose GF flour

3/4 c tapioca flour/starch

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp xanthan gum

1/4 t salt

1 c buttermilk

1 little bottle of red food coloring, yes, the whole thing

1/4 c cocoa powder


1 cream cheese pack (8 oz)

1 stick of butter, room temp

1 tsp vanilla

3 c sifted powdered sugar (sift to minimize lumping, measured after sifting)

Mix all of those together to make the frosting.

And now, for your basic cake-making instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9×13 sheet pan or two round cake pans. I made one sheet cake, but you might want a traditional layer cake.
  2. Mix your wets in a bowl (oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla).
  3. Mix your dries in a different bowl (flours, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt).
  4. Mix 1/4 c of buttermilk with the cocoa powder and the food coloring so that the cocoa powder is well mixed in, not lumpy. Set this aside.
  5. Now mix into your wets bowl the dries and the remaining 3/4 c of buttermilk, alternating each in three to four rounds of additions and starting with the dries. Does that make sense? Hope so! The point here is to mix things in a bit at a time, not just glomp it all in there and hope for the best.
  6. Now add the blood red buttermilk/cocoa goo-mix. Voila, mon ami. You have red velvet cake batter.
  7. Pour into your prepared pans and bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

I do wish this were MORE RED, but those boxes of food coloring are like six bucks a pop and I used a whole little bottle of red. Ah, well. A beautiful thing is never perfect, as they say.

The Big K


Filed under birthdays, cakes, holiday recipes, Recipes

5 responses to “Gluten-free Red Velvet Cake

  1. Li

    Wow, I haven’t had red velvet cake in, ahem, a long, long time! Does it still taste the same without the red? I’ll have to investigate…

  2. mjennings26

    Well, it was red. It just wasn’t AS red as I’d hoped. The flavor was great, however, so I guess that’s what matters.

  3. Hey!

    Cake recipient chiming in to say it really was a lovely cake, and I’d say that even if a dear friend hadn’t surprised me with it.

    And I liked the level of red–no need to go all bloody-armadillo on me. (I’m not the only one who thinks of that when describing Red Velvet Gone Wrong, am I? I’ll risk strange looks for now and not go looking for a link.) Certainly no need to go overboard money-wise on something like food coloring. I wonder if there’s an alternative–like a berry–that would amp the color but not a secondary taste…

    Also, the man-friend (LOVE that term, by the way–now added to my partner/sweetie acceptable list of terms 😉 ) and I can also attest to the cake’s staying power. Sure, we WANTED to just chow the leftovers in one fell swoop, but we also wanted to savor…Anyway, I won’t tell you how long we made it last, because that might really be embarrassing, but it held a pretty good level of moistness with only a lazy amount of wrapping for quite a while in the fridge…

    Thanks again, M!

  4. mjennings26

    My pleasure. And what a great party with plenty of food for me to eat, too!

    If I can improve the color issue, I will have to change the name of this cake, i.e., The Bloody Armadillo.

  5. Ooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhh.

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