If you’re looking for the prettiest pink and red cake, look no further than this Strawberry Red Velvet Cake! The cake itself is an eggless red velvet cake surrounded by soft strawberry buttercream frosting. Topped with a chocolate drip and fresh strawberries, it’s a show stopper for sure! Best yet, it’s gluten free, nut free, egg free and can easily be vegan!
Guys, I love this cake so so much.
The flavors blend beautifully. The red velvet has that soft chocolate taste with a little tang combined with the sweet, yet mild, strawberry buttercream.
You’ll think you’ve been struck by Cupid’s arrow and fallen madly in love! With a cake. Yes.
Reasons To Love This Cake
- Allergy Friendly- This cake is gluten free, nut free, egg free and can easily be dairy free (vegan).
- Soft & Fluffy- The red velvet cake is super soft and delicious.
- Strawberry Buttercream- This is a homemade buttercream frosting made from fresh strawberries!
- Gluten Free Flour- If you also have nut allergies, make sure to use a brand that’s made in a nut free facility. I really love to use this one because it’s nut safe but it does contain dairy.
- Cocoa Powders- I like to use half dutch or natural unsweetened and half dark. If you only have one, use dutch or natural unsweetened.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda- We need both to get that height and softness.
- Kosher Salt- Brings all the flavors out.
- Unsalted butter or vegan baking sticks- Use ½ cup (1 stick) softened. Don’t use melted; the cakes will be too liquidy.
- Granulated sugar- We need 1 ½ cups.
- Cornstarch and Water- This is an eggless cake so this mixture helps bind everything together.
- Pure Vanilla Extract- Make sure the vanilla you use is pure and gf.
- Milk of choice- If there are no dairy allergies or if you’re not vegan, you can use regular whole milk. For non dairy, use a non dairy milk of your choosing.
- White Vinegar- It helps everything rise and gives us that tang that’s specific to red velvet.
- Red Food Coloring- I use McCormick’s Red Food Coloring.
Expert Baking Tips
Make The Homemade Buttermilk
Measure out 1 cup of milk of choice.
Add in one 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and stir to combine.
Let it sit for 5-10 minutes and then stir again.
It will appear chunky and that’s normal.
Using Two Types of Cocoa Powder
People ask how I get my red velvet baked goods to have such a deep red. The secret is in that bit of dark cocoa powder.
Using two types of cocoa powder creates a richer color and flavor, which I adore.
Keep in mind, cocoa powder is quite dry. And dark is even drier than dutch or natural unsweetened is.
If you only used dark, your baked goods would be way too dry and bitter and not very red at all.
If you don’t have both types of cocoa powders on hand, just use dutch or natural unsweetened but keep in mind, the red will be a bit brighter and not as deep.
Smoothing the Batter
Many gluten free flour batters have a way of staying exactly as they are placed, when baked.
If you leave it misshapen, that’s how it will remain when baked.
When the batter is in the cake pans, gently smooth the tops with a butter knife.
Step by Step Instructions with Pictures
Here are the steps to make this cake!
Step 1: Beat the butter/vegan baking stick and sugar
In a large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter or vegan baking stick and the sugar until it is soft and creamy. About 2-3 minutes.
Step 2: Make the homemade buttermilk
In a large measuring cup, measure out 1 cup of milk. Add in 1 tablespoon of the white vinegar and stir. This is your homemade buttermilk.
Step 3: Make the cornstarch water
In a small bowl, using a spoon, mix together the cornstarch and water until thin and watery. It will be thick and tacky at first.
Step 4: Mix in the cornstarch water mixture
Slowly beat the cornstarch water mixture, half at a time, into the creamed butter and sugar. The final mixture will look chunky and that is perfectly normal.
Step 5: Stir together the wet ingredients
Add the other ⅓ cup of milk, the remaining teaspoon of white vinegar, the red food coloring and vanilla into the measuring cup with the homemade buttermilk. Whisk to combine.
Step 6: Whisk together the dry ingredients
In a large bowl, whisk together all the remaining dry ingredients.
Step 7: Beat in dry ingredients and wet ingredients
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the dry and wet ingredients in 3 sections, starting and ending with the dry ingredients until combined.
Step 8: Scoop the batter
Using a spatula, divide the batter equally between two greased and parchment lined 8 inch cake pans; smooth the tops with a butter knife.
Step 9: Bake the cakes
Bake the cakes in the center rack at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes until slightly springy when carefully touched.
Step 10: cut the cakes
Once the cakes have completely cooled, slice the cakes in half horizontally to create 4 thinner layers of cake.
If the tops of your cakes have domes, you can very carefully cut them off to make them flat.
Step 11: Make the frosting
For this cake I use my amazing strawberry buttercream. You will need to double the recipe.
Assembling the Cake Tips
Divide the frosting
Separate the frosting into 5 equal sections.
Frost one layer
Place one layer of cake on the bottom of a cake plate/stand. Scoop ⅕ of the buttercream on top and use an icing spatula to spread it around.
Repeat the process
Place another layer of cake on top; repeat this same process. Do this with 3 layers of cake.
Keep the top and sides thin
Once you get to the top, place the last layer bottom (or flat) side up so the top is nice and flat. Use an icing spatula to frost the top and a thin layer on the sides.
You should only use ⅕th of your frosting on the top and sides combined. It’s a semi naked cake.
Use a cake scraper
Work with a cake scraper or a large icing spatula. The frosting should be super thin on the sides. Pop the entire cake in the fridge uncovered for 15 minutes. This will make it more stable to work with.
Decorating The Cake
Make the ganache
When the cake has only 5 minutes left to chill in the fridge, start making the ganache.
Place the chocolate chips and butter or vegan baking sticks in a heat safe bowl.
Heat them in the microwave in 10 second increments, stirring after each time until the chocolate chips and butter/vegan baking stick are fully melted and incorporated.
Do the ganache drip
Spoon almost all the liquid ganache on top of the cake.
Push the ganache around to the edges of the cake using an icing spatula. You want it to drip down the sides.
Work quickly; the cold cake will stop the ganache from dripping too much.
Pipe the swirls
Put the remaining ⅕th of strawberry buttercream into a piping bag.
Create swirls going all the way around the top rim of the cake.
If you desire, place extra washed strawberries in the top center. I used 5.
How to Make this vegan
Follow these simple steps to make sure the cake is vegan:
- Use a gluten free flour that’s free from dairy.
- Make sure to use vegan baking sticks instead of butter.
- Only use a non dairy milk of choice.
- Make my vegan buttercream for the frosting.
- Use allergy friendly chocolate chips. I love these.
- Make sure the red food coloring you use is gluten free and vegan.
What makes red velvet unique? Is it just chocolate cake with red food coloring?
No. It’s more than just that.
Yes, there is cocoa powder in the cake but if you were to eliminate the red food coloring, there wouldn’t be enough cocoa powder to make this a true chocolate cake.
In addition to the soft chocolate flavor, red velvet contains buttermilk and white vinegar. That helps create the tang we know so well.
Most gluten free baked goods are best made the same day, but you can make this cake the night before and then do the ganache and pipe the extra buttercream in the morning.
If making the night before, keep the cake in the fridge under a dome or wrapped in foil until ready to decorate.
However, the frosting can be made a day ahead of time and stored in the fridge in an airtight container or in a bowl covered with plastic wrap.
Can this cake be made into cupcakes?
Yes! This recipe makes 18 cupcakes. See my red velvet cupcake recipe.
Many food colorings are NOT safe for those with celiac and nut allergies.
It appears to me that McCormick is.
I checked their website and it said that any product that contains a gluten free label is produced on a dedicated gluten free line and has been validated as gluten free.
McCormick says if gluten appears in a product, they will always list it on a label.
They will never hide allergens under the term “natural flavors.”
I even called the company. The statement said, if a product ever contained an allergen it would be declared on the label. If it is not declared, this means the product does not contain it.
I feel very confident in using McCormick products due to these procedures they have in place.
I can buy it at my local grocery store, but you can also buy it on Amazon.
Storing and freezing
Since gluten free and eggless baked goods are best the first day, we want to keep this strawberry red velvet cake as fresh as possible.
Once the cake is cut into, if there is extra, it's best to cut the entire cake into slices, wrap each slice in foil and store in a zip top bag in the fridge.
This is if you will be eating all the slices the next day.
When ready to eat, let the slices sit on the counter, still in the foil, for about an hour or until the cake is room temperature and soft.
If not eating all the extra slices the next day, take the slices wrapped in foil and in the zip top bag and freeze them.
You can keep the slices frozen for up to 30 days.
When ready to eat, put the slices in the fridge the night before or leave them out on the counter for 2 hours prior to eating or until the cake is room temperature and soft.
Other cakes to try
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Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @laneandgreyfare if you make my recipes and follow along on Pinterest! Enjoy!!!
Strawberry Red Velvet Cake
For the cake
- 2.5 cups gluten free flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder 2 tablespoons of dutch or natural unsweetened and 2 tablespoons of dark
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup 1 stick unsalted butter or vegan baking stick
- 1.5 cups granulated sugar
- 4 heaping tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 6 tablespoons water
- 1 cup plus ⅓ cup milk of choice kept separate
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon white vinegar kept separate
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red liquid food coloring I use McCormick
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the strawberry buttercream
For the chocolate drip
- ¾ cup chocolate chips
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter or vegan baking stick
- 5 extra and washed strawberries
- For the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease and line two 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment, beat together the butter or vegan baking stick and the granulated sugar until light and fluffy. About 2-3 minutes
- Measure out 1 cup of milk of choice in a large measuring cup and add in 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Mix with a spoon and let sit for 5-10 minutes. This is your vegan buttermilk.
- In a small bowl, using a spoon, mix together the cornstarch and water until it is thin and watery. It will be thick and tacky at first. Set aside.
- Add the cornstarch water mixture in two parts into the creamed butter and sugar. Pour about half in and beat till combined then pour in the second half and beat until combined.
- Using a spoon, stir your vegan buttermilk. It will appear chunky and this is what we want. In the same measuring cup, add in the other ⅓ cup of milk, the teaspoon of white vinegar, the red food coloring and the vanilla. Use a little whisk to combine everything.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour, cocoa powders, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the dry and wet ingredients in 3 sections, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until fully combined. Use a spatula after to make sure it is completely mixed.
- With a spatula, scoop half the frosting into one pan and the other half into the other pan. Smooth the tops with a butter knife.
- Bake both cakes in the center rack for 45 minutes.
- Let them cool in the pan and then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Once the cakes have cooled completely, cut them in half horizontally. Now you will have 4 thinner layers of cake.
- While the cakes are baking, make the frosting.
For the frosting
- See the strawberry buttercream recipe. You’ll need to double the recipe.
- Divide the frosting into 5 equal servings.
Assembling the cake
- Place one cake layer on the cake stand. Take ⅕ of the frosting and frost the top. Place another layer of cake on top of the frosting. Repeat the frosting layer. Repeat this process 3 times.
- Take the last layer of cake and put it bottom side up (or flat side up) so the top is nice and flat. Use an icing spatula to frost the top and a thin layer on the sides. You should only use ⅕ of your frosting on the top and sides. This is a semi naked cake.
- Use a cake scraper or large icing spatula to scrape the icing off the sides of the cake so it’s a super thin layer. Pop the entire cake uncovered in the fridge for 15 min so it’s more stable to work with.
Decorating the cake
- When the cake has only 5 min left in the fridge, make the ganache.
- Place chocolate chips and butter or vegan baking sticks together in a heat safe bowl. Microwave them together in 10 second increments, stirring after each time, until the chocolate chips and butter are fully melted and incorporated. This will take a few min.
- Immediately take the cake out of the fridge. Spoon almost all the liquid ganache on top of the cake. Take an icing spatula and push the ganache around to the edges of the cake so it drips down the sides. Work quickly because the cold cake will quickly stop the ganache from dripping too much.
- Take the last ⅕th of buttercream and put it into a piping bag. Create swirls going all the way around the top rim of the cake.
- If desired, place extra washed strawberries in the top center of the cake. I used 5.