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Purple Velvet Cake Recipe

The allure of Purple Velvet Cake lies not just in its vibrant hue but also in its rich history and unique flavor profile. This cake is a colorful twist on the traditional red velvet cake, known for its soft, velvety texture and distinctive taste. The origin of velvet cakes dates back to the early 20th century, where “velvet” referred to the cake’s smooth and soft texture. While red velvet cake has been a staple in American bakeries for decades, the purple velvet cake is a more recent innovation, offering a visually striking alternative that brings a touch of whimsy and elegance to any table.

The Purple Velvet Cake stands out for its eye-catching color, achieved through food coloring, and its subtle cocoa flavor, reminiscent of its red counterpart but with a unique personality of its own. This cake has quickly become a favorite for celebrations and special occasions, appealing to those looking for something a little different yet equally delicious.


Cake Ingredients Breakdown:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) purple food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Decorations and Additional Elements:

  • Edible gold leaf (optional)
  • Purple sprinkles or edible glitter
  • Fresh berries for garnish

Step-by-Step Instructions

Preparing the Cake Batter

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla until well combined.
  4. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing on low speed until smooth and well blended.

Baking the Cake

  1. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
  2. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  3. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Making the Frosting

  1. Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth and creamy.
  2. Gradually add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating on low until combined, then on high until fluffy.
  3. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Assembling and Decorating the Cake

  1. Once the cakes are completely cool, place one layer on your serving plate and spread a layer of frosting on top.
  2. Place the second layer on top of the first, then frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.
  3. Decorate with purple sprinkles, edible glitter, and fresh berries as desired. For an extra touch of elegance, apply edible gold leaf to the sides or top of the cake.

This Purple Velvet Cake recipe combines the classic velvet cake’s soft, moist texture with a modern, visually stunning purple hue. Perfect for any celebration, it’s sure to impress with its unique color, rich flavor, and elegant presentation.

Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Cake

Achieving the Perfect Purple Hue

The key to a vibrant purple velvet cake is the quality and quantity of food coloring used. Gel food coloring tends to provide a more intense color with less product compared to liquid food coloring. Start with a small amount and gradually increase until you achieve your desired shade. Remember, the color will slightly change during baking, so aim for a shade or two darker than your target.

Frosting Techniques for a Smooth Finish

For a flawlessly smooth frosting, ensure your buttercream is at room temperature before starting. Use an offset spatula for the top and a bench scraper for the sides. Apply a thin crumb coat first, chill the cake to set, then apply a final thick layer. Rotate the cake while holding the scraper steady for an even finish. For a whipped look, use the spatula to create swirls and peaks.

Decoration Ideas for Different Occasions

  • Birthdays: Use colorful sprinkles or create a drip effect with a contrasting color of ganache.
  • Weddings: Edible flowers or a dusting of pearl powder can add an elegant touch.
  • Holidays: Theme your decorations, like using orange accents for Halloween or pastel flowers for Easter.


What Makes Purple Velvet Cake Different from Red Velvet?

  • The primary difference is the color, achieved by using purple food coloring instead of red. The purple velvet cake may also have a slightly different flavor profile, with some recipes adding ingredients like blueberry for a unique twist.

Can I Use Natural Coloring?

  • Yes, natural colorings like beetroot powder or concentrated blueberry juice can be used. However, achieving a vibrant purple might require more product, which could affect the cake’s flavor and texture.

How Do I Make the Cake Moist and Fluffy?

  • Ensure all your ingredients are at room temperature before mixing. Use buttermilk for added moisture, and don’t overmix the batter once the dry and wet ingredients are combined. Overmixing can develop the gluten too much and lead to a denser cake.

Storage and Serving Suggestions

  • Purple velvet cake keeps well at room temperature for a day when covered. For longer storage, refrigerate for up to 5 days. Always let the cake come to room temperature before serving to ensure the best flavor and texture.

Advanced Techniques and Variations

Variations of the Purple Velvet Cake Recipe

Experiment with flavor variations by incorporating ingredients like blueberry puree or lavender extract into the batter for a subtle twist. You can also try different frosting flavors, such as white chocolate cream cheese or lemon buttercream, to complement the purple hue with a contrasting taste.

Gluten-Free and Vegan Adaptations

For a gluten-free version, substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend. Ensure it includes xanthan gum, or add it separately to mimic the texture of traditional cake. For a vegan adaptation, replace the eggs with flaxseed or chia seed meal mixed with water and use dairy-free milk and vegan butter or shortening in both the cake and frosting.

How to Make a Layered Purple Velvet Cake

To create a stunning layered cake, double the recipe and bake in separate pans. Once cooled, trim the tops to level the layers. Apply a generous amount of frosting between each layer, then stack them. Use dowels for support if the cake is taller than 3 layers. Finish with a smooth or textured outer layer of frosting.

Pairing and Serving Suggestions

Ideal Drinks and Desserts to Pair with Purple Velvet Cake

Pair this vibrant cake with light, refreshing beverages like lemonade or iced tea for a balance of flavors. For a more decadent experience, serve alongside a glass of dessert wine or a latte. Complementary desserts include lemon bars or vanilla bean ice cream, offering a palate-cleansing contrast to the cake’s richness.

Creative Serving Ideas

Serve slices of purple velvet cake on plates dusted with powdered sugar or edible glitter for an extra touch of elegance. For individual servings, consider making cupcakes or mini cakes decorated with thematic toppers or fresh berries.


The Purple Velvet Cake is a delightful twist on a classic, offering endless possibilities for customization through variations and adaptations. Whether you’re seeking a gluten-free or vegan option, or simply looking to impress with a multi-layered masterpiece, this cake is sure to be a showstopper. With its unique color, rich flavor, and versatile pairing options, we encourage you to embrace your creativity and give this recipe a try. Happy baking!

Purple Velvet Cake Recipe

This Purple Velvet Cake recipe offers a stunning twist on the classic velvet cake, featuring a vibrant purple hue and a rich, moist texture. Perfect for special occasions or whenever you want to impress, this cake pairs beautifully with a variety of frostings and decorations.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 Serves
Calories 540 kcal


  • Two 9-inch round cake pans
  • Mixing bowls
  • Electric mixer
  • Offset spatula
  • Wire cooling rack


For the Cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons purple food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frosting:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
  • Mix Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.
  • Combine Wet Ingredients: In a separate bowl, mix oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla until well combined.
  • Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients: Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing on low speed until smooth.
  • Bake: Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
  • Frosting: Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating until fluffy.
  • Assemble: Once cooled, frost and stack the cakes. Decorate as desired.


  • Color Variation: Adjust the amount of purple food coloring to achieve your desired hue. Start with less, as you can always add more.
  • Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerate for up to 5 days. Let come to room temperature before serving.
  • Vegan/Gluten-Free Adaptations: See the advanced techniques section for substitutions to meet dietary needs.
Keyword Birthday Cake, Celebration Cake, Dessert, Purple Cake, Purple Velvet Cake, Velvet Cake Recipe