Christmas dessert: Red velvet cake is served!

I have perfected the recipe that takes me back to my grandmother's kitchen, where I spent every holiday as a child.

Laila Dharamsey December 25, 2012
It’s the season to be jolly! What’s better than a beautiful, moist red velvet cake? It fits perfectly with the theme of Christmas and it’s sure to be a hit no matter when you serve it.

This cake goes back to my grandmother’s kitchen; I spent every holiday as a child with my American family in Washington, DC. Come Christmas and the tree, decorations and stockings would be pulled out. The one thing that fixated in my memory was Thetah’s (Thetah is grandmother in Arabic) red velvet cake.

Here’s how to prepare this cake. Please remember to be patient with this cake; it does take time but it’s totally worth it in the end!

Ingredients:For the red velvet cake:

2 ½ cups white flour

2 tablespoons regular cocoa powder

½  cup butter at room temperature1

½  cups granulated white sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 cup buttermilk (which is just half a cup of milk and half a cup of vinegar)

2 tablespoons liquid red food colouring

1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

1 teaspoon baking soda

For the cream cheese frosting:

3 packets of Philadelphia cream cheese or for a cheaper alternative use Happy Cow. It should not be cold.

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 cup caster sugar

1 ½  cups whipped cream


Start by turning your oven on to 170 degrees Celsius. If you want to make a double layered cake, butter two cake pans and dust them with flour (if not, then just butter one.) The double layer is fancier, but harder to make.

Now beat your butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy and then gently add the eggs one at a time. Next, add the vanilla essence and beat until it’s well amalgamated. Make sure to keep scraping down the sides of your bowl while mixing.

Carefully, with an apron on, in a separate bowl whisk the red food colouring with buttermilk.

Put the sifted flour and sifted cocoa powder in a bowl and add the flour mixture. Then add the red buttermilk in three additions. Do make sure your beater’s speed is low, otherwise you’ll have red food colouring flying all over your kitchen.

Tip to make cake moist:

Combine the baking soda with a teaspoon of vinegar in a small bowl. Once it fizzes up, fold it into your prepared cake mix.

After folding the baking soda, you need to divide your cake mix into two pans very quickly or just put it into one large pan and slice the cake in half to create a double layer. That’s what I usually do.

Bake in the oven for 35 minutes. Let your cake cool completely; put it in the fridge for an hour before icing it.

The yummy bit— cream cheese frosting! Mmmm!

Beat cream cheese until it's smooth. Add sugar and vanilla to it and continue beating.

When it’s all well blended then beat it in the cream.

Keep beating. Beat until its thick enough to spread over your cake.

Spread the frosting all over your cooled cake. To make it fancier, garnish with cake crumbs and edible cake decorations.

Enjoy! Happy holidays, everybody!

Read more by Laila here.
Laila Dharamsey Associate creative manager at Red Communication Arts. She tweets @LailaDharamsey1 (
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Iftekhar Khokhar | 11 years ago | Reply Merry Christmas to all celebrating Christmas. May you have a nice day.
Ayesha PErvez | 11 years ago | Reply Mmm looks good!
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