I like to answer the tough questions in the world of chocolate. Is white chocolate REALLY chocolate? Is chocolate “candy” or not? And today I tackle a big one… Is red velvet cake just a chocolate cake with red food coloring?

What is Red Velvet Cake?

Red velvet cake is a classic American cake that is traditionally made with buttermilk, cocoa powder and vinegar, which then gives the cake its signature red colour. It is often layered with cream cheese frosting, which gives it a tartness to balance out the sweetness. The cake has a light and airy texture, with a slightly crunchy crust and it’s usually served on special occasions. Red velvet cake is also often topped with chopped nuts or chocolate shavings, adding an extra level of indulgence.

Some Key Differences

The first difference between them is in the flavor. Chocolate cake flavor is dark, earthier, and bittersweet, reminiscent of melted dark chocolate. Red velvet cake is a quite sweet and has a distinctive flavor from its additional ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. The result is a flavorful cake that is sweeter than chocolate cake.

Another difference between chocolate cake and red velvet cake is in their texture. Chocolate cake has a dense, moist texture while red velvet cake has a much lighter texture, with a crumbly, tender crumb that melts in your mouth.

The decorations are typically different between chocolate cake and red velvet cake. Chocolate cakes are often embellished with rich frosting such as ganache or a dense buttercream, while red velvet cakes are almost always decorated with cream cheese frosting or sometimes a meringue. Plus, red velvet cakes are often only topped with nuts, coconut flakes, or sprinkles.

Verdict: Yes and No.

They are both chocolate based cakes, so it could easily be argued that they are therefore both chocolate cake. Period, end of story. However, it’s just as easy to argue that even they though share some similarities that would technically make them both “chocolate cake”, they are ultimately two distinct cakes that are not interchangeable with one another.