Deconstructed Red Velvet Cake

deconstructed red velvet cake

You really can’t go wrong with red velvet anything for the fourth of July… or any time really, can you?

I love the look of a deconstructed cake.  It’s a bit old-fashioned looking and oh so charming.  The strips really work for an Independence Day themed desert as well.  Add in some blueberries and viola!

But here’s my thing…finding a red food dye that is natural.  There seem to be a few options available now a days but I could not find anything in any of my local stores.  I did order from one company but it did not arrive in time for this post.  Do any of you out there use a natural food dye that you would suggest?  I’d love to some feed back and dialog about some options in the comments.

Meanwhile, the cake!  I made two layers for this one, splitting them in half to create four layers total.  I use these awesome Wilton Bake Even Strips when I bake cakes.  It somehow keeps my cakes from doming. Love it!

wilton bake even strips

After baking and letting cool,  I wrap my cakes and put in the refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight.  This helps me get a good horizontal slice when splitting them in half and also minimizes the crumbs.  The trick to adding the frosting without getting crumbs?  Scoop a big dollop in the middle and using a spatula, push the frosting back and forth slowly until you reach the edges, never allowing the spatular to touch the cake.  (You can also pipe it on.)

I also love my Wilton Rotating Cake Stand. This thing rocks and makes my life so much easier. (Wilton does not sponsor me, I just really think these are great products and use them all the time.)

wilton rotating cake stand

I used about 3/4 cup frosting between each layer.  You could easily do one full cup but I thought that might be too much frosting with all the layers.  Continue stacking the layers, with frosting in-between and when you get to the top layer, add a bit more frosting.  My top layer has about 1 1/2 cups frosting.  I decided not to pipe this cake as I just wanted a homemade look.  I did swirly patterns and topped with fresh raspberries and blueberries, adding some along the bottom as well.

deconstructed red velvet cake

deconstructed red velvet cake


Deconstructed Red Velvet Cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Deconstructed Red Velvet Cake

Use fresh berries and organic products whenever possible.


  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 8 Tbs butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 Tbs liquid red food dye
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp distilled white vinegar
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 lb cream cheese, softened
  • 16 Tbs butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups shifted powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Grease two 8" round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper and grease.
  3. Sift flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl.
  4. In a mixer, beat butter at low speed until creamy.
  5. Add sugar and beat on medium speed until fluffy.
  6. Add eggs, mix well.
  7. Add food coloring and vanilla.
  8. Beat in flour, alternating with buttermilk, in three batches ending with flour.
  9. In a small bowl, mix the vinegar and baking soda. Add into batter.
  10. Divide batter into the two pans.
  11. Bake 25-30 minutes.
  12. Cool completely then wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for two hours or overnight. (You can also freeze for 30 minutes instead.)
  13. While cake is cooling, in a large bowl beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until creamy.
  14. Add the sugar and beat on low speed until incorporated then beat on high until fluffy.
  15. Once the cakes have cooled, slice each layer in half horizontally.
  16. Add 3/4 cup of frosting to first layer, then top with second cake layer, more frosting, etc... until all layers are done.
  17. Add additional frosting to top layer and swirl around until you get your desired look.
  18. Add fresh berries before serving.

*This post contains affiliate links*

deconstructed red velvet cake

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  • Reply
    Judy at Two Broads Abroad
    July 4, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Stunningly beautiful. I’ve used beet juice from canned beets to enhance color. For this you might want to reduce the juice.

    • Reply
      Farm to Table
      July 4, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      I was thinking about beets juice but wasn’t sure about it taking away from the chocolate taste? I do use more cocoa in my red velvet then most! lol

  • Reply
    Luci {Luci's Morsels}
    July 6, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    I’m making a very special layer cake this week, and reading your tips was great! I haven’t tried any natural red food dyes in the handful of times I’ve baked red velvet cakes. You could also do a blue velvet cake, but I can’t imagine anything really giving you that true blue color. green velvet? That sounds easier – but not as beautiful!!

    Luci’s Morsels – fashion. food. frivolity.

  • Reply
    Fourth of July Treats
    July 4, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    […] says Forth of July desert like a classic red velvet.  Try this Deconstructed Red Velvet Cake with fresh berries to add a patriotic […]

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