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Jan 29, 2007 01:15 PM

Red Velvet Cake from Cake Mix?

I KNOW, I KNOW, I'm a bad person, but I already have a box of yellow cake mix and one of chocolate at home and I'm trying to not be wasteful. Is there some way I can doctor up one of these mixes to create red velvet cupcakes?


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  1. Red Velvet is usually chocolate w/ red food coloring. I don't know how much to add, though. You need a white icing, possibly cream cheese.

    1. It's actually usually a white or yellow genoise with some cocoa powder (not enough to make it a chocolate cake...too dark to turn red) and some red food coloring and a little vinegar. Try adding two tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder to the yellow cake mix, once you've mixed in all your liquids add a tablespoon of red food coloring, a teaspoon of distilled white vinegar and a teaspoon of vanilla.

      OH! And an extra secret to doctor any cake mix. Substitute buttermilk for any water or milk the recipe may call for...add a little more if the batter doesn't get to that loose liquid-y phase. The buttermilk always gives cake mixes that homemade moistness.

      And definitely make a cream cheese icing. It's not red velvet cake without cream cheese icing. Try throwing in some fresh berries in the layer of icing between layers.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ballulah

        That's true, a full-on chocolate cake would probably not turn red.

      2. Ditto on the buttermilk!

        My from scatch RV Cake recipes calls for 2 oz of red food coloring
        and the frosting:

        Cream Cheese Frosting

        1 cup confectioners sugar
        1/2 cup butter
        16 oz pkg cream cheese
        1 teaspoon vanilla
        1/3 cup light cream

        With an electric mixer; beat until light and fluffy. Spread on cake.

        1. Just go to Sprinkles Cupcakes -- they sell the mix for three different flaovrs of cupcakes -- Red Velvet, Chocolate and Vanilla. Frosting recipes on the back!

          1. Just made the scratch version this weekend for my daughter's 33rd birthday - same as I have every year since she was small. Don't see any reason why you can't doctor a yellow cake mix. The recipe uses 1 T white vinegar, 1 cup buttermilk and 1/4 cup water so I'd use the vinegar and as much buttermilk and water as you need. Also 2 T cocoa and 2 oz. red food coloring. You shouldn't need the baking soda, vanilla, etc. since you're using the mix.
            The icing we use is the very old version before cream cheese was used in the South. It is made with a white sauce base plus butter and granulated sugar. I've never seen any other frosting anything like it. A little odd but traditional from 40 or so years ago when my mother used to make it for us at Christmas.
            My daughter always loves the top decorated with silver dragées.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MakingSense

              Hey, makingsense, how 'bout printing the whole recipe for that cake, or actually what I'm interested in is the icing!