World’s First Low FODMAP Red Velvet Cake!
A lightly flavored chocolate cake tinted red with food coloring has long been a favorite in the Southeastern United States – but it seems like the entire world is now red velvet crazy!
While the red color might have originally developed from the reaction between the acidic buttermilk and vinegar with the cocoa, red food coloring gives it a boost. You may halve the coloring, if you like, but know that many traditional recipes use twice as much.
We made this suitable for low FODMAP diets by using gluten-free flour and lactose-free milk in the frosting and to make a buttermilk equivalent.
Cooked Vanilla Frosting?
Many folks pair Red Velvet Cake with cream cheese frosting, but that pairing is actually a newcomer. If you want to try a Cream Cheese Frosting, be our guest. You will need access to lactose-free cream cheese, while the ingredients for our suggestion are easy to find. By the way, the cooked vanilla frosting is typical for this cake. It is smooth, buttery and not too sweet – and very easy to make.
It also works well with other cakes that need a vanilla frosting, so give it a try.
For another, fancier take on this cake, check out our version with sugared cranberries.
Low FODMAP Red Velvet Cake with Cooked Vanilla Frosting
This is a classic Red Velvet Cake that is LOW FODMAP so even FODMAPers can enjoy this during the Elimination phase.
Low FODMAP Serving Size Info: Makes 1, 8-inch (20 cm) cake; 12 slices; serving size 1 slice
- 1 cup (240 ml) whole lactose-free milk, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon apple cider or distilled white vinegar
- 2 cups (290 g) low FODMAP gluten-free all-purpose flour, such as Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour
- 1 tablespoon natural cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- 1 1/2 cups (297 g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (vanilla essence)
- 2 tablespoons red liquid food coloring
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) whole lactose-free milk
- 4 1/2 tablespoons (40 g) low FODMAP gluten-free all-purpose flour, such as Bob's Red Mill's 1 to 1 Gluten Free Baking Flour
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks; 345 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- 1 1/2 cups (297 g) sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (vanilla essence)
For the Cake: Position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F/180° Coat the insides of two 8-inch by 2-inch (20 cm x 5 cm) round cake pans with nonstick spray, line bottoms with parchment rounds, then spray parchment.
Combine milk and vinegar and let sit for at least 5 minutes to thicken.
Meanwhile, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl to combine and aerate; set aside.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar gradually and beat until very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Beat in vanilla and red food coloring.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down after each addition, allowing each egg to be absorbed before continuing. Add the flour mixture in four additions, alternately with the soured, thickened milk. Begin and end with the flour mixture and beat briefly until smooth. Divide batter evenly in pans.
Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick shows a few moist crumbs clinging. The cake will have begun to come away from the sides of the pan. Cool pans on racks for 5 minutes. Unmold, peel off parchment, and place directly on racks to cool completely. Layers are ready to fill and frost. Alternatively, place layers on cardboard rounds and double wrap in plastic wrap; store at room temperature if assembling within 24 hours.
For the Icing: Whisk together milk and flour in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly. Once it simmers, continue whisking and cook 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened, smooth and glossy. It should be thick enough for you to be able to see whisk marks. Remove from heat and set aside.
Stir occasionally until cool. In a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl once or twice.
Beat in vanilla, then add cooled, cooked flour mixture and beat until smooth. Frosting is ready to use. If the frosting is not silky smooth, it is because it is too cool. Either keep beating or remove about 1 cup (240 ml), zap in microwave for 10 seconds to soften, then add it back to the main batch and beat vigorously. Repeat as needed. Trust me. This can make the difference between the frosting being just okay and truly ultra silky.
Fill and frost the cake layers with prepared frosting and decorate as desired. This frosting is stiff enough to pipe, even though I chose to just use an icing spatula in the image. Cake may be served immediately or stored at room temperature for up to 3 days in a covered container.
- The idea of a cooked flour-based frosting might seem odd but I beg you to try it! It is no too sweet and it is silky smooth and it is actually very versatile!
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more. For a more detailed explanation, please read our article Understanding The Nutrition Panel Within Our Recipes.
Tell Us What You Think
16 comments for “Low FODMAP Red Velvet Cake with Cooked Vanilla Icing”
I love red velvate cake. Can’t wait to give this recipe a try!
Let us know how you like it!
I can’t wait to try this !!! Any chance of getting the biscotti recipe soon?
Oh Rhonda! Where do you live? Come be my baking buddy:) So much to do! We are working on our fall schedule and I am still trying to get up s’more cookies before summer ends (next week)! I can promise that biscotti and/or mandelbrot will be up in time for winter holiday baking…I am so sorry for the delay. I am baking and typing as fast as I can!
How much butter in the icing?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! DO NOT MAKE THIS CAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!
You don’t want to see the picture
Always adhere to serving suggestions. At 12 servings, the butter in the icing comes to a scant 1 ounce or 2 tablespoons, and butter is low FODMAP. Of course, as with all sweets, we suggest this as a special indulgence. We love it for birthdays!
Yes, 3 sticks is a lot of butter. The ORIGINAL Red Velvet Cake recipe (years ago) called for a similar frosting recipe using only 2 sticks; still a lot, though. I don’t make it often, but it is FABULOUS! It’s also known as “mock whipped cream frosting.” When a cake calls for whipped cream frosting but you want something more stable, this is a great substitute! Just sayin’. 🙂
is the frosting supposed to be regular white sugar or powdered?
In our recipes sugar is granulated white cane sugar; confectioners’ sugar will be specified when required. Powdered sugar, FYI, is a bit if a misnomer. Powdered sugar is simply finely ground sugar with nothing added and is rarely available to the home baker. Confectioners’ sugar, which is what one commonly buys, has a non-caking agent added, such as cornstarch. You can read all about Sugar in relation to FODMAPs and our recipes in our Explore An Ingredient: Sugar article.
In case anyone is interested, although many Red Velvet Cake recipes call for cream cheese frosting, the AUTHENTIC, ORIGINAL Red Velvet Cake recipe used a cooked frosting similar to this one. This is known as “mock whipped cream” and YES, it is FABULOUS!
My mother made Red Velvet Cake when I was a child and it was one of my favorites! It’s one of my husband’s favorites, too!
So glad you enjoyed our cake. The ingredients are based upon a version from one of my cookbooks, The Birthday Cake Book. I am always looking for ways to bring pre-FODMAP recipes into our community!
I made this for my birthday today and the cake turned out really well. It did have a slight bitter aftertaste though. Any idea why?
My frosting was a little runny but that was probably because the flour mixture was too hot when I added it to the butter. It was delicious though and tasted much better than regular buttercream frosting.
The cake part? I have had, on occasion, metallic bitter flavors imparted by metal pans…or, could be a reaction between cocoa and your leavener. What kind of cocoa did you use?
Thank you for helping me problem solve. I would love to bake this cake again. I used Red Tractor organic Cacao powder. I also used raw caster sugar instead of white sugar. Besides this I followed the reciepe exactly and weighed each ingredient.
I looked up the cocoa. I have a lot for you to read about cocoa. I cannot tell if the cocoa you used is natural or Dutched and that would make a difference. As far as the sugar is concerned, many (most) of the raw caster sugar we see here in the states is much more coarse than our granulated white sugar, which is what is called for in the recipe. That can be an issue with results in general. We have an article on Sugar, as well.
Thank you so much Dédé. I will try the reciepe again with natural cocoa and white sugar 🙂