Red Velvet Brownies

With Valentines day fast approaching I decided to make these Red Velvet Brownies as I had never made them before, or anything Red Velvet for that matter. The red velvet is traditionally a cake with a blood red colour layered with cream cheese icing (frosting if you are American!). The red colouring is comes from the mixture of cocoa and red food colouring. Wiki gives the following history on Red Velvet: James Beard's 1972 reference American Cookery describes three red velvet cakes varying in the amounts of shortening and butter, also Vegetable Oil. All use red food coloring, but the reaction of acidic vinegar and buttermilk tends to better reveal the red anthocyanin in the cocoa and keeping the cake moist, light and fluffy. Before more alkaline "Dutch Processed" cocoa was widely available, the red color would have been more pronounced. This natural tinting may have been the source for the name "red velvet" as well as "Devil's Food" and similar names for chocolate cakes.

When foods were rationed during World War II, bakers used boiled beets to enhance the color of their cakes. Boiled grated beets or beet baby food are found in some red velvet cake recipes, where they also serve to retain moisture. Adams Extract, a Texas-based company, is credited for bringing the red velvet cake to kitchens across America during the time of the Great Depression by being one of the first to sell red food color and other flavor extracts with the use of point-of-sale posters and tear-off recipe cards. The cake and its original recipe, however, are well-known in the United States from New York City's famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. However, it is widely considered a Southern recipe. Traditionally, the cake is iced with a French-style butter roux icing (also called ermine icing), which is very light and fluffy but time-consuming to prepare. Cream cheese frosting and buttercream frosting are variations which have increased in popularity. Beetroot or beets are not used in the Southern version of the red velvet recipe.

I decided to slightly mix things up and go for a brownie recipe which down extremely well with my family and Joanne last weekend. I adapted and doubled my recipe from What Megan's, using a larger baking tray, however I will provide the original recipe from Megan's site.


114g unsalted butter
85g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
337g sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt

25ml liquid red food coloring
150g self raising flour

Cream Cheese Frosting:
225g cream cheese, at room temperature
4 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
300g sifted powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 160c°. Line a 9x9 baking pan with baking parchement leaving an overhang so you can lift out the brownies when they're done.
  2. In a large saucepan over low heat, stir together butter and chocolate until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the sugar and eggs. Stir in the vanilla, salt, and food coloring. Sift flour and baking powder over mixture and stir to blend well. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
  3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top springs back when touched and a tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool completely in pan on rack.
  4. For the frosting: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and powdered sugar. Remove the brownies from the pan using the foil and cover with the frosting. Cut into bite size squares to serve.

Thanks to Megan for her excellent recipe and thank you all for reading,