Abi’s red velvet heart cake with the perfect cream cheese icing

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Abi's red velvet heart cake with the perfect cream cheese icing

Nothing can be more romantic and indulgent than a sweet, red velvet cake. Follow TASTE food editor Abigail Donnelly’s easy instructions.

A red velvet cake is a soft, light and airy, crimson red cake and has been around for many years. It all started out when beetroot was added to the cake batter to give it a flash of colour and an extra dose of moisture. Today you’ll come across a myriad cakes made with beetroot and chocolate and those who object to all that food colouring needn’t be concerned – you only need 2 tablespoons to achieve the vivid colour. If you add vinegar and/or yoghurt to the mix it also helps to activate the colour.


Go for a simple cream cheese icing and give it a grown-up touch by adding a tot of good coconut liqueur such as Coco Rico. Find the icing recipe along with the cake recipe here.

Cream cheese icing does however sometimes flop spectacularly, as a colleague of ours discovered (no name or shame!). She brought in a beautiful batch of birthday cupcakes, covered in runny icing, puzzled as to what she had done wrong. It’s all down to the texture and richness of the cream cheese, and you have to buy the real deal – full cream (such as Philadelphia cream cheese), so that when you beat it, it keeps its form and won’t collapse into a runny mess.


My recipe for red velvet cake makes 2 cakes to be sandwiched together but if you like you can make just one, but it will need more cooking time unless you make it in a bigger cake pan. You can also make cupcakes from the batter, which will take about 15 minutes to bake.

Tip: When it comes to the colouring you can use the gel but you will need less as it is quite concentrated, otherwise the liquid one works fine for me.


Abigail Donnelly Article by: Abigail Donnelly

Nothing excites Woolworths TASTE's Food Director quite as much as the challenge of dreaming up recipes with innovative new foods – or the thrill of creating deliciousness on a plate with the humblest of ingredients. With Abi by your side, you’ll be a cooking expert in no time at all.

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